A few weeks ago we embarked on our first flights with our daughter. We had a family wedding in Colorado, and I had limited time off so it ended up being an essential but quick trip. Driving was out of the question and flying quickly became our only viable option. Our daughter is a relatively go-with-the-flow kid, but I was still nervous about two long travel days. We also took advantage of the infant in arms ticket so we didn’t pay for her own seat.
Two full days. Four flights. Two long layovers. What could go wrong?
I, obviously, was very nervous, so I scoured the internet for any recommendations I could find about traveling with a near two-year-old. This blog is going to be tips and tricks for flying with a toddler that worked for us. I’m going to focus on distraction techniques rather than the obvious “make sure you have enough diapers/wipes/costume changes” advice I’m sure you don’t need. I hope this is useful for any parents about to fly with their little one.
Snacks are Essential
This one is probably pretty obvious. We packed her favorite snacks (Cheerios and Goldfish) in our carry-ons. I saw this amazing trick from Jennifer at Kids Eat in Color about using a pill box for snacks. I made sure to decorate the box with stickers so there was no confusion. Not only is it a great way to give snacks, but it will keep kids busy opening all the little compartments. Absolutely genius. Since my daughter is still young I filled one side of the box with Cheerios and one side with Goldfish. I didn’t want to mess around with any other foods when the point was to keep her entertained. Worked like a charm for both the flights and the long car ride.
One piece of advice I saw fairly consistently during my research was to offer new toys in increments during long travel. This keeps their brain (and hands) occupied by something new they haven’t seen before. I definitely went a bit overboard on this since we didn’t end up using everything listed below. All this means for me is I’m prepared for our next travel adventure.
Toys We Used:*
- Fat Brain Toys Dimpl
- Buckle Belt
- Sensory Spaceship (that’s not the official name, but I like mine better)
- Crayons and a coloring book
Additional Toys We Had on Hand:*
- Wood Lacing Toys
- Doodle Board
- Lovevery Sensory Book
And, of course, Netflix
Of course, the one thing that never failed to quiet our girl when she was absolutely freaking out was her favorite Netflix show, Ask the Storybots. While this isn’t necessarily a recommendation for this particular show – though I do love it – having her favorite show downloaded and on-demand saved us so much stress. We don’t let her watch too much TV on a regular basis, so the fact that she was allowed to watch multiple episodes at once blew her mind.
I hope these simple tips and tricks for flying with a toddler were useful. I will say, the flights are finite and will end. Of course, our daughter wasn’t a perfect angel the whole time and had her fair share of meltdowns. You can do this!
*FYI: none of the product links are affiliate. I don’t have time to figure that out.