People told me I was crazy when I started travelling with Leo so young. Honestly, it was so easy to travel with him as an infant. The older he gets, the more energy he has and the harder it is for him to understand how his big noises and kicking feet could ruin someone else’s experience.
If you are a parent of a buddy 2+-year-old you know the trials and tribulations of dealing with these stubborn little toddlers on a day to day, imagine putting them on a long haul flight. YIKES. I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be so bad. Take a deep breath and let’s dive into some tips on how to manage your little one while travelling.
1. BURN BABY BURN
Save the tablets/phones/colouring/ any sit-down activity for the plane. Let your kid run up and down the airport aisles, let them explore their new surroundings, this stimulation will tire them out and prepare them to chill out on the plane with a calmer activity.
Note: This may seem unorthodox, but would you rather people starring at you in the airport while your kid let loose or get frustrated with you on the plane because your kid refuses to sit?
2. Bring that yummy goodness.
Nothing calms the nerves of a travelling child, then the food/snacks that make them happy. My advice pre-pack all their favourites. I grab a cooler bag and fill it with sandwiches, hummus + crackers, cheese, yoghurt tubes, chips, precut fruit, you name it I pack it. I also pack an empty spill-proof cup to avoid any accidents. To keep everything fresh and crisp, I toss in an ice pack.
Note: I would advise you to avoid any peanuts/ peanut butter to respect allergies of those around you.
3. Netflix and Chill
The most beautiful thing about Netflix, you can download all your kids’ favourite movies and shows before your trip. My paw patrol fanatic indulges in hours of Marshall and Chase so I can chill. I also download new, and fun games onto his table that does not require internet access to grasp his curious mind.
Note: I ALWAYS download a few shows and games on my phone as well just in case something were to happen to my son’s tablet. One time my husband accidentally placed our tablet in a carry on and then checked that carry on. Talk about pressure.
3. Bring the goods that don’t move
While racecars are super fun, you know what isn’t super fun? When they roll 6 aisles down, and you have to tell your kid you can’t find it. I encourage my kid to pick to a few toys that can fit into his backpack. This could be books, larger lego blocks, small puzzles, crayons + paper, stuff animals, etc. I don’t encourage him to pick his favourite toys because I can’t guarantee I can replace it at our final destination if he loses it. I encourage him to choose items that stimulate his little brain and do not make noise. When I check through his picks, I make sure what he decided is appropriate, and he won’t miss if it gets lost or left behind.
4. Take an adventure
Similar to BURN BABY BURN, I do my best to research our layover airports to find out what’s fun and exciting at that airport. While on a 3-hour layover in Chicago, we played at a play park, checked out dinosaur bones, and ran around the public art displays.
These 4 little tips have kept me sane over the past year during some insanely long travel days. It is a lot of prep work and can definitely take a lot out of you as a parent. BUT my friend, your reward is a calm, breezy flight where hopefully your little enjoys a bit of screen time, some quite activities and the biggest prize of all, A NAP.
Until next time