Monday, October 15, 2012

Flying with a Toddler

About a month ago, Addie experienced her first plane ride when we went on a family trip to the Outerbanks.  Leading up to that first plane ride I was terrified.  I hate to fly.  Sweaty palms, intense yoga breathing and serious meditating.  It's how I spend my time during take off and most of the flight but when you have a toddler with you, it's a different type of fear.

We've all been on those flights with young children where you spend your entire flight with a child screaming next to you.  You never want to be on the flight but you know who doesn't want to be on that flight more than you?  The parent of said child.  As the parent you realize it's driving everyone around you nuts, but your main concern is figuring out how to distract your child and get them to stop screaming.

So weeks before our flight, I began making a list of things I thought would be a good distraction for Addie.

Food.  Bring your child's favorite foods.  For Addie, it's cheese, animal crackers, and those fruit pouches.

Plum Organics Second Blends, Raspberry, Spinach and Greek Yogurt, 4-Ounce (Pack of 12)

Drinks.  Addie is really only consuming milk and water.  I'm avoiding juice as they're full of sugar she does not need.  So we came with milk and water which you can bring through TSA, they just do a test on the liquid.  But, it's a good idea to also bring a juice box as a one time immediate use.  Either way, make sure you have something as children don't know how to pop their ears and drinking will assist in this.
Comfort items.  Bring something your child uses as a comfort item.  For Addie, it's Violet and a soft blanket so both were in our carry-on bag.
LeapFrog My Pal Violet
Toys & Books.  Addie loves books, so I brought her favorite book along with a small container of play-doh.  It keeps her occupied for 30 minutes and in a flight, 30 minutes is a long time.
Case of Colors
Music & Videos.  Invest in a portable DVD player & an iPod.  Even if your child only watches 30 minutes of a video, that's another 30 minutes you've distracted them.
Sony DVP-FX970 9-Inch Portable DVD Player
Special Toy.  Something new, something they've never seen before.  New toys are guaranteed to consume 30 minutes of your child's time.  I found the Crayola Color Wonder.  Best. Toy. Ever.  Kids love to color, however crayons and markers get on everything.  This is fabulous because they can color but the markers are invisible unless you're on this special paper.

Crayola Color Wonder Travel Tote (colors & styles may vary)

Special Snacks.  Again, something new.  A snack you wouldn't typically give your child but would if it meant they wouldn't disrupt the entire plane with a fit.  Chocolate is a big one and if they won't eat then you can.  Suckers are an amazing option as well.  Kids love suckers.
Saf-T-Pops Assorted 60 ct. box

Medicine.  Addie was teething and with air pressure I figured her teeth may be worse while flying.  Make sure you have some type of tylenol or any medicines you may need while in flight.
Hylands Teething Tablets
Patience.  This is for the parents of course.  There may be a moment when your child starts getting antsy or in Addie's case, has a complete meltdown for no apparent reason.  You'll start getting stares, even a crazy passenger who thinks you may actually pass your child off to them to walk up and down the aisles.  Just keep your patience, your doing everything you can and eventually they'll either pass out or settle down.

Flight Attendants.  Don't be afraid to ask them for help.  They've been on thousands of flights.  They've seen many children fly so they know what works and usually have snacks or coloring books for your kid.  All of the flight attendants on our Southwest flights were amazingly nice.

Don't be afraid to fly.  For us, it was 2 hours of flying and potentially having a meltdown or 10 plus hours of driving and guaranteeing at least 3 meltdowns along the way.  It was worth it.  If you have a layover make sure you let your kid run around during the layover.  They'll need to burn off that energy when they've been cooped up in a plane for hours.  It was much easier than we thought it would be.



  1. Flying with Aubrey is one of my biggest fears! We went on a vacation last month and even though it was only an eight hour drive I really would rather have flown. I let the Fear stop me. Thank you for this post. We plan on flying to Wisconsin in the next year or so to visit family, I'll keep all of these things in mind.
    Thank you!

    1. Moe - It's scary because you're trapped and there's only so much you can do to keep them entertained, but I really think it's always worse in your mind. Your flight to WI will be an easy one I'm sure! Just plan ahead. :)

  2. Ok I just have to say that she is probably one of the cutest little girls I have ever seen!!!!!! :) So adorable!

    1. Jen - thank you so much. I think she is too but I'm probably biased. :)

  3. Way to go, mama! I recently flew to Phoenix and back, and saw the sweetest 13 month old girl on the flight. She had one mini-meltdown because she was clearly exhausted, but once she fell asleep, she was fine. I don't think Colin would handle flying very well right now (he's almost 21 months) but we have to travel to Michigan next June for my brother's wedding. By then we'll have a 2 year old and a 6 month old... I'm nervous already. haha!

    1. Congrats on the new baby! The only thing scarier than flying with one toddler is flying with a toddler and a baby. I'm sure it'll all go fine though. Maybe Colin will keep the new baby entertained!

  4. I have had a few meltdowns on flights with my daughter, but it happens. I try to buy a new book for each trip so then we have something new to read. That seems to be a big bonus for my daughter. Plus she loves looking out the window.



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