Tips for Flying with a Toddler
l got a lot of questions on my Insta Stories last week when I flew with Everly so I thought I would share another post about flying. I shared a post last year for Tips for Flying Alone with a Baby, but now that Everly is a toddler so much has changed. We have now been on 17 flights together, the majority of those being solo. I am a planner and always need to be prepared, so I think of every scenario and plan and pack for it. It worked like a charm and our two flights were a breeze! I usually try and book our flights during her nap, so that some of the time is killed with her sleeping. That didn't work this time as she decided to stay up through both flights, but I still had enough distractions to keep her happy through it all! Our first flight was 2.5 hours, then we had a 1.5 hour layover and then our second flight was 1.5 hours. I was also a little apprehensive this time because I was 33 weeks pregnant, so having Everly on my lap wasn't going to be the most comfortable endeavor. Luckily on our first flight we had no one beside us! What a blessing that was, she could sit there and have her snacks and play with her toys in her own space (and I didn't have to be uncomfortable).
Do you know what confirmed that I needed to write a blog post about this? This little boy that Everly befriended in the Winnipeg airport. His mom and him ended up sitting across the aisle from us on the plane, which I thought would be fun, but boy was I wrong. Right off the hop he asked our names, which turned out to be a big mistake sharing them. His name was Nicholas and he was four years old. Before takeoff his mom handed him his gaming console and he started playing and insisted we watch him play. That's basically the last interaction his mom had with him. She pulled out a book and ignored him the entire flight. She had no toys or snacks packed for him. The rest of the flight consisted of him saying, "Stacey, watch this", and whenever I pulled out a snack or a toy for Everly he said "Stacey, Stacey, can I have some, can I play with that?", "Stacey, can you play with me", "Stacey, can Everly sit with me". In the beginning I felt so bad for him, he just wanted attention, so I tried to include him and let him play with Everly's toys, but then it got to be too much taking care of both of them and he was getting relentless. Thankfully the flight attendant noticed and came to try and entertain him herself. Maybe his mom had a tough week, or needed a break, which I TOTALLY get, but all you have to do is come slightly prepared and your life will be SO much easier!
I'm hoping this post can offer some insight for mamas who haven't flown with their kids before, or maybe you have and it didn't go well. What I have realized is toddlers need constant entertainment (at least Everly does). She also gets bored of things quickly, so I always make sure I have a variety of little toys and knick-knacks. I also can't leave the house with Everly for 5 minutes without a snack, so I make sure to pack an assortment of healthy treats for her as well. Check out what I did and packed for this flight below!
Toys I always get a new assortment of toys from the dollar store before our flights. This way they're new and exciting and they're cheap so I don't have to worry about her losing them in our travels.They're also small so I can easily pack them in a carry-on. For this trip I bought the following toys:
Little safari animal figurines (I have since used these at restaurants and the hairdresser to keep her occupied)
Animal finger puppets
Magnetic book with an assortment of magnets (these now live on our fridge!)
Water "painting" book
5 mini cars
Silly putty (she did not care for this)
Pretzels (I didn't pack these, but the flight attendant was handing them out and she had a great time putting them on her table and filling the cup with them)
We don't usually give Everly any screen time, but in situations like this I'm willing to make an exception and bend our rules to make sure our travels go smoothly. Everly doesn't really get cartoons or shows yet, so I downloaded Kidloland, an educational app for kids that has it all. It has stories, songs, animal sounds, ABC's and SO much more. I'll be doing a review on it soon! None of the songs or stories kept her attention for very long anyways - her favorite part about the Ipad though was hitting the home button
When we are in the airport I usually order oatmeal from Starbucks for her, or find veggies and hummus, plain yogurt, a smoothie or hard-boiled eggs. For the plane I packed these snacks:
Organic squeeze pouches (I try to get ones with quinoa, brown rice or oatmeal in them so they feel more like a meal and fill her up)
Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies
Organic Blueberry Carrot Cereal Bars
Organic Mixed Berry Carrot Fruit Bars
Homemade Trail Mix (nuts, goji berries, raisins and pumpkin seeds)
Pura water bottle (I always travel with this because it doesn't spill. I use it for water, or buy white milk to put in it)
I always want Everly to be comfortable when we're traveling. I put her in a onesie, simple moccasin shoes (that I took off on the plane because she always gets so hot) and pigtails to keep her hair out of her face. I always want to pack a few things she loves, just so she feels secure and if she wants to nap it's easier. For Everly that's her soother and a blanket. It could be a doll, favorite, toy or stuffed animal for your child! I also let Everly sit on the floor for a bit, and run up and down the aisle to kill some energy. She wasn't loud or disruptive so no one seemed to mind. Good thing she's cute!
I packed it under the plane again. I know a lot of moms like to gate-check it to use during layovers, but I know Everly and after being cooped up in a plane she would just want to run around, and I was right. She loved running around the airport, stretching her legs and looking at all of the people. This one is up to you as a mom, if you have a long layover or more than one kid and lots of stuff, gate-checking your stroller would be your best bet.
Logistics You can have a carry-on and your purse with you, so my carry-on is always my Jujube backpack diaper bag. I fill it with her essentials - diapers, wipes, soothers, face wipes, an outfit, silicone bib, fork & spoon and some of her snacks. I always just tuck her blanket into the handle of the diaper bag and let it hang off. Then I took the biggest purse I own for my wallet, passports, portable charger (for my phone and the Ipad), toys and the rest of her snacks. I didn't wear a jacket because I always get so hot traveling, especially with an infant on my lap while pregnant, so I opted for a cardigan that I could easily tie around my waste if I got too hot.
I hope this helps you mamas (and dad's) when you're traveling with your toddlers! I'm sure I'll be sharing a post next year on how to travel with 2 kids!!