Being a parent to a toddler is a hilarious and exhausting experience. They stumble about the world, and while demanding at times, can often be easily stimulated. Taking a vacation with a little one via car versus taking a plane are two very different types of trips. If you take your own car, you can load it up with items to make them smile, and get them as comfortable as possible. Boarding a long flight with a toddler is a much more daunting plan, but don’t be afraid as they are not and will not be the first or last little guy to ever fly with their parents. Try staying chipper the day you board, and put these useful tips into play to get avoid any “newbie” mistakes.
- Do not fly during the busy flight time schedule if at all possible. It may be easier to exhaust your toddler in the morning, then board your plane in the late afternoon so they can sleep during the flight. Not to mention, there aren’t typically business executives in a hurry to get to a meeting on your flight later in the day, and less travelers around in general.
- Keep in mind that a toddler is between one and two years old; they have zero compassion or sense of rationalization for traveling. Pack items that they aren’t bored of playing with, and pack things that will keep them busy. Coloring books, puzzles, storybooks, and so forth. If you have an iPad with a toddler app or two on it, tote that along with you for the journey as well. Always take something new even if it’s a toy from a dollar store, as little kids love new stuff to discover!
- Permit them to be “babies” during the flight as far as bathroom duties are concerned. If this is your first airplane trip with your newly potty trained tot, it may be easier for all involved to let them wear a Pull-up or diaper for the flight. It makes for one less thing to be anxious about, and a lot of one year olds don’t seem to enjoy the scary wind sounds inside an aircraft bathroom.
- Understand what it is like to be sat next to your toddler for other passengers. If your son or daughter is crying or terrified, try to be as calming and soothing to your little one as possible. Give them the giggles instead or try getting them to zone out to a good story or movie on a portable device. Flying is daunting for a large number of adults, much less trying to expect a large baby to grasp the concept.
- To board early or not? While boarding early is a gift for families with little ones to get situated prior to take off, it can be just another thirty minutes added to trying to sit still on a plane for your toddler. Board their belongings if need be such as a car seat, or carry-on bag, but try to keep your energetic toddler away from having to stay seated any longer than they already have to be.
Patience is key to peaceful and enjoyable travel whether you have children to tote around or just yourself. Always keep in mind the smaller humans can’t foresee where they are going to land; there is an abundance of unknown going through their tiny minds, and the more chilled out mom and dad are travel day, the happier your tot will be.