Keeping travel exciting to a toddler, especially on a plane, can be tiring. The last few months I have had the opportunity to travel a fair amount with my two and a half year old daughter, and these are a few tips & tricks that have really helped me out along the way.
I have broken everything down into a few different categories because there is a LOT of details when you are talking about flying with a toddler!
You can fill up a backpack and make sure they wear it through security. It is much harder for them to run away when they are weighted down with a backpack. You can also posture it that they are helping by caring their own bag, getting them involved in the process
A lot of airports have a play place available for kids to play, so before you head to the airport check to see if they play areas is anywhere near your gate. If it is, that is the PERFECT place to get out some last minute wiggles. The always offer hand sanitizer at the entrance/exit of the play place, and I would highly suggest using it.
Once on the plane, you need to think in terms of time segments. The length of that segment really is different for each child & each activity. The point here is to know that you will need to keep switching up what they are doing/playing with in order to keep them occupied.
It is very helpful to have new toys to be able to share as well as any small favorites from home. The Dollar Store/Big Lots & the dollar bin at Target are all great places to get smaller toys. I bought magnetic blocks on amazon (link below) and they have been a HUGE hit!!
My friend Jen from Mamma.Pappa.Bubba just posted this AMAZING gift she made for a friend, and I HAD to share it for all of my DIY friends- a Portable Activity Kit for Little travellers!! I will most defiantly be putting something like this together for Zane in the future! (Please check it out – her blog is absolutely amazing and FULL of amazing toddler ideas!)
Something to think about when choosing small toys for airplane entertainment – think of toys that can do double duty as a bath toy as well! Little People are GREAT for this, as well as any type of small fish or Dinos.
I also like to keep a small pack of Boogie wipes available for quick clean ups, and they are AMAZING for runny noses!! Also, I love the fresh scent, which is a plus ALWAYS when traveling.
* Cereal – There are great for building motor skills too depending on the age. We usually use Rice Chex.
* carrots or peppers in slices Crunchy is fun! My daughter likes to pretend that the carrots are her nose, like a snowman. She is OBSESSED with snowmen. Sliced Apples are a great, easy way to bring something sweet.
* Packs of gummies – we use the Annie’s Organic, but anything that is a little sweet and has a shape of any sort will do. I once found a bag of Alphabet gummies and that did the trick for a long while on the plane.
* Suckers (dum dums) for take off and landing – and for bribing Sorry I am not above bribing when you are traveling. Use the sucker trick sparingly so that it is a treat and not something that becomes usual, but I use them for long security lines, take off or landing or if we get delayed. Maybe it is just because Zane doesn’t usually get much sugar, but MAN she will do just about anything for a DumDum! LOL
I always change Zane’s diaper right before we get on the plane. If it is a short flight, there are times you won’t even HAVE TO change a diaper. But, in the unlucky and very highly likely event that you need to change something smelly, here are my best tips for you.
* WIPES - Make sure for your sake that you have packed wipes. I did forget this once (which is my I am mentioning it here) I like to pack the smaller packs of wipes in my carry on so that it isn’t so bulky. Obviously you know your child and the length of trip, so plan accordingly. In a pinch, you can also use the Boogie wipes (expensive, but they are a wipe in an emergency)
* CHANGING A DIAPER – If you haven’t started potty training yet, but your child is too long for the changing table, you will more than likely have to change your son/daughter while they awkwardly stand up on the toilet giving you hardly any room and frantically trying to get them to NOT TOUCH ANYTHING. I suggest using pull-ups, even if you haven’t before. They will be standing up to change them anyways, and they are so easy to just slip on instead of having to attach the side of the diaper while the squirm around.
* DIAPER DISPOSAL – don’t forget to take the “sick bag” from your seat and wrap your diaper in the bag before throwing it away. This will save you money if you use your own bags, and it will save the others on the flight from smelling your child’s diaper, thus putting you BACK in the good graces of all of those passengers that are on edge about a child on the flight to begin with.
I usually attempt to limit the amount of time my daughter is entertained by technology (ipad/tv) but when we travel, it is almost a necessity. Car rides/security lines/airplane rides – it can all be easier to handle when you can split it up with a little movie or game on the iPad – LETS BE HONEST. I do try to bring out the iPad LAST in the rotation of entertainment, but she is not at the age where she can just ask for a certain game or movie so it usually only works for so long
I try to make sure that Zane is playing with educational games catered to her age and learning development stage.
You will also need a pair of child headphones – they limit the volume so that your child can’t turn it up all the way and damage their hearing. Sometimes a flight attendant will require your child to use headphones, while sometimes turning the volume very low will suffice. I have been on flights recently where both were true, and you never really know if they will require them or not (technically they are supposed to require them for the comfort of the other passengers).
I have added a few of my affiliate links for you for the items I mentioned for easy online shopping!
Please comment below with anything you feel like I missed!! I am always wanting to expand my knowledge of traveling with a child!!!