Once upon a time, you may have faced a long-haul flight with excitement for your upcoming trip and resignation about the long hours sitting in a cramped chair while binge-watching movies.
However, you are a parent now. Those days are long gone, because honestly (and you can hear the squeaking voice of your great aunt in your head with increasing hysteria): will they stay in their seats? Will they eat something? Will they sleep? Will they behave?
Fear not! Plane travel with a toddler may sound like a gruesome undertaking, but when you know what to expect and come prepared, you might even enjoy yourself (Maybe. Hopefully).
This is where we come in: we will give you our 27 best tips for flying with a toddler to help make your journey bearable.
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- Our top tips for flying with a toddler
- #1 Choose your airline wisely
- #2 Book a direct flight
- #3 Book a red-eye flight
- #4 Think about the sitting arrangements
- #5 Get your toddler excited for the flight
- #6 Practice wearing a mask
- #7 Get to the airport early
- #8 Tire your toddler out before getting on the plane
- #9 Be the last one to board the plane
- #10 Bring sanitizer
- #11 Pack your hand luggage like a pro
- #12 Bring 3 changes of clothes for your toddler and 1 for yourself
- #13 Bring a sippy cup and keep your kid hydrated
- #14 Bring travel snacks. A lot
- #15 Download movies (in your own language)
- #16 Bring headphones
- #17 Bring a travel blanket
- #18 Bring a couple of new toys but don’t overdo it
- #19 Let your toddler walk around
- #20 Limit screentime before bedtime
- #21 Follow the usual bedtime routine – also for naps
- #22 Make sleeping as comfortable as possible
- #23 Wait before leaving the plane
- #24 Choose your battles
- #25 Prepare to entertain your toddler a lot
- #26 Plan for anything
- #27 Go with the flow
- Wrapping up the tips for flying with a toddler
Our top tips for flying with a toddler
#1 Choose your airline wisely
Not every airline is the same nor provides sufficient care for your children. Furthermore, every family is different and thus has other priorities.
Ask yourself if that cheaper ticket is worth the smaller leg space or the lack of an in-flight entertainment system. Airlines that are generally considered family-friendly offer extra luggage allowance and good child and baby meal options. Some even go as far as providing an in-flight nanny.
Some of the best airlines for family travel are Etihad, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways, and Asiana. This comparison table shows the top family-friendly airlines and their options. [ADD link]
#2 Book a direct flight
Not only the airline is important, but your flight times are as well.
You know your child best, so think about layovers versus direct flights (do you want to offer up time so they can stretch their legs and lose some energy?).
When you’re traveling with a toddler, it’s important to book a direct flight so that you can avoid any potential delays or cancellations. A direct flight will also allow you to get to your destination more quickly. Yes, you’ll be spending more hours effectively on the plane, but your overall travel time will reduce greatly.
If it’s impossible to book a direct flight, think about the possibilities of a long layover. Airlines often have layovers in their home city and will often grand you free layovers of one or more days. This will break up a long travel day. I would especially look into this if you’re traveling to or from Australia with a toddler.
#3 Book a red-eye flight
You may also want to consider day and night flights.
If your child is an easy sleeper, it may be the easiest to get a night flight so they can sleep a big part of the trip. However, if you fear they might not be sleeping at all due to the excitement, a day flight can be a better option.
One of the most important ways to avoid jetlag with children is by getting them accustomed to the new time zone as soon as possible, so this is something to consider as well.
#4 Think about the sitting arrangements
When traveling with a toddler on a plane, it is important to choose your seats carefully. There’s a lot to consider.
Should you book an extra seat for your under 2-year-old?
If you are flying with a child under the age of 2, you are not required to purchase a separate seat. Pay attention though, if your toddler is 2 years old on the return trip, you’ll have to book a seat on both trips.
That means you’re not obliged to book an extra ticket, but you still can.
With an active toddler and if your budget allows it, you might want to do just that. Especially, if you prefer to use a car seat for flying with a toddler.
But in any case, by purchasing them their own place, they will have more room to sit, play and nap. And you’ll have your hands free for the rest of the family. You’ll all have more space and you might be able to relax a bit more during the flight.
That being said, we’re way too budget-minded to think about buying an extra plane ticket if we don’t have to. This means we were always flying with a lap toddler when Little Elf was younger and we’ll be doing so with Little Dragon soon too.
Is your toddler still allowed in the airplane bassinet?
If your budget doesn’t allow for booking extra tickets, you can request that the flight attendants bring you a bassinet to place your toddler in.
If you have a toddler that is light and/or young enough (check the airplane requirements!), make sure to pre-order the airplane bassinet. Unless there are many babies on your flight, you’ll be allowed to use it (the distribution is based on age: the younger the baby, the more likely you are to receive the bassinet).
That bassinet gets mounted on the wall, so you’ll be seated in the bulkhead chairs that come with it. Yay!
This means more legroom, more space to drop your stuff (and we all know there’s plenty of it when traveling with a toddler), and also more room for your toddler and older siblings to stand and play.
If you can have it, take it!
If you’re lucky, you’ll receive this place even if your toddler doesn’t fit the bassinet anymore. When we were flying long-haul to Malaysia with our 20-month-old Little Elf, we were seated in a bulkhead chair row of 2. This was pretty awesome! While we still had to hold our daughter on our lap for naps, we were able to let her play in the extra space. On top of that, we felt in our own bubble as there were only 2 seats. Also, no seats in front of us, which was great to prevent chair kicking!
Should you bring a car seat when you’re flying with a toddler?
All children should be restricted during takeoff and landing and whenever there’s turbulence.
If your toddler has their own seat, you can choose to bring a car seat.
A car seat for air travel with toddlers offers a number of advantages.
- It can provide a safe and comfortable place for them to sit during the flight.
- They can be easily installed in an airplane seat and provide a secure place for a child to sit during takeoff and landing.
- It will keep them restrained in case of turbulence.
- Car seats can also be used in conjunction with a stroller to create a travel system, which can be convenient for families who are traveling with young children.
- Car seats are familiar for toddlers. They are probably used to sitting and sleeping in it.
However, there’s also one big disadvantage of dragging along a car seat and that’s its size. Car seats are big and heavy, so you should definitely consider if it’s worth all the hassle.
We find that there are 2 cases in which it’s a great idea to bring one along:
- If you have a travel system. The car seat then fits into the stroller. This is especially handy when you’re traveling with an infant under 6 months old because they can’t sit in a regular travel stroller yet. However, with toddlers, this will very likely not be the case.
- If you’re going on a road trip. Traveling by car requires a car seat and while you might be able to rent one with your car, it’s often better and safer to bring along the one you already have.
In any case, if you’re flying with your toddler car seat, make sure to also bring a car seat cart!
Such a cart is made of lightweight plastic and folds into a square that easily fits in carry-on luggage. When unfolded it has a buckle similar to an airplane seat belt to secure the car seat to the cart. Once the car seat is attached, the child can be strapped in and pulled like roller board luggage.
You don’t have to carry your car seat or your toddler, that’s a win-win!
Alternatives for a car seat for airplane travel
If you have a toddler on your lap, that means they will need to be wearing the special belt that connects to your own belt.
When they have their own seat and you don’t want to drag along a car seat, then a Kids Fly Safe CARES harness might be a good alternative.
As the only harness approved by the FAA for use on the airplane, it is a good option for children 1 year or older who weigh between 22-44 pounds.
It has a simple belt and buckle design system and can easily be adjusted on any airplane seat. It is lightweight and can be brought on board without any hassle. It provides safety and security when traveling on a plane, and is a wonderful alternative to a car seat.
Or you can just have them sit in their chair without any restrictions (other than the airline seatbelt), which, admittedly, is what we always do.
Try to get a free seat
If you’re flying with a toddler on your lap, you’ll still have a last resort when it comes to getting more comfortable.
Try to get a free seat.
Now, this is one of the most important tips on flying with a toddler we have. A free seat means that your little one can sit, play and sleep more comfortably. And if your toddler is more comfortable, you’ll be as well!
Now, this is not only a tip for flying with a toddler on your lap, you can also use it to get an extra seat for your family even if you’ve purchased a ticket for your older toddler. More room means stretching out. Stretching out means comfortable sleep. You get my point.
There are two ways to get free seats when flying with toddlers.
The first way is to ask the airline if they have any open seats that they can give to you.
You can either do this when checking in at the airport or you can wait until you’re on the plane (usually, the crew will ask you to wait until you’re up in the air).
If you plan to ask at check-in, this means that you won’t be able to purchase your seats in advance. Nowadays, all airlines charge extra for seat selection in advance – which is not abnormal – BUT by not doing so, you risk not being seated together with the rest of your family. While many airlines have the policy to seat kids under 6 with a parent, not all do!! And even if you can sit together with your toddler, your partner and other kids might be sitting on the other side of the plane.
We always get really stressed out by the thought alone, so we’ve been purchasing seats in advance for a couple of years now.
Whether you should book your preferred seats in advance or not is something that is up to you. If you don’t mind being separated (at least the adults, because obviously, nobody wants their little kids to sit on their own), you can take the risk and get your assigned seats at the airport.
The other way to get an extra seat on a plane for your family is by making a deliberate guess when picking the chair numbers.
If you’re booking 2 paying seats, it might be worth it to take a risk and choose the aisle and the window seat of a row. If the plane is not fully booked, there are few people who would voluntarily pick the middle seat in a row. And if the plane does happen to be full, just ask the other passenger to switch. They will be more than happy with either the aisle or the window seat instead of that middle one – especially if your toddler is likely to be switching between your laps.
If you do this, try to pick a row at the back of the plane. Those are always the last ones to fill up, so if there are any seats going to be left over, they will be in this section of the plane.
#5 Get your toddler excited for the flight
If it’s your toddler’s first plane ride, it can be difficult to get your toddler used to the idea of flying. But there are a few things you can do to help.
First, try to explain to them what flying is and how it works. You can also show them pictures or videos of airplanes and let them see exactly what the fuzz is all about.
If you have a friend or family member who is a pilot, ask if they would be willing to talk to your child about flying.
Finally, try to take your child to the airport to watch planes take off and land. This can help them understand that flying is safe and exciting. And it’s a fun trip in any case.
Another great idea is to get them used to the idea of flying by reading books.
You can find books on airplane travel at most bookstores, as well as online. For younger toddlers, you can talk about which colors on the plane match which colors at home and which colors are different. Older toddlers like to imagine that they are flying the plane or that they are the pilot.
Lift-the-flap books are a great way to involve your toddler. Bonus points because you can use the books at home and bring them along! Double bonus points because they can be included in your bedtime ritual.
#6 Practice wearing a mask
Some airlines demand that even young children wear a mouth mask in these post-Covid times and it’s not to say when this will no longer be necessary – or even if the rule will ever be lifted.
Kids from the age of 6 might’ve had to use a mask before, but your toddler probably not and for some airlines it’s obliged for everyone over 2 years old. Check your airline to see the most recent requirements. There have been stories of families getting lifted from the plane because their toddler wouldn’t keep their mask on.
Let’s hope, most flight attendants are a little more lenient and understand that kids sometimes just don’t listen – but better to be safe than sorry.
Expecting your toddler to keep a mask on for several hours out of the blue, is a daunting task. Instead, practice at home. Make a game out of it and increase the wearing time little by little.
Instead of buying disposable kid masks, let your toddler choose a few with a fun pattern. Making it fun will make it easier for them to wear their mask and keep in on for a long time.
#7 Get to the airport early
Plan to arrive at the airport early so you have plenty of time to walk around and explore before boarding the plane.
If you’re flying with a toddler, it’s a good idea to get to the airport early. This gives you time to check-in, get through security, and find your gate. It also gives you time to relax and let your toddler explore before the flight. It will also help with the anxiety you might be feeling before boarding your flight.
Your toddler is sure to feel lots of excitement about the upcoming trip and that’s totally normal. If you go to the airport early, the trip has officially started. And toddlers love watching the planes and running around.
Also, by going early, you’ll avoid any stress you’ll feel should you get stuck in traffic or any other unforeseen circumstances. We always make sure to be there 3 hours in advance which gives us plenty of time to go through security and find our gate.
#8 Tire your toddler out before getting on the plane
If you’re flying with a toddler, it’s a good idea to try to tire them out before getting on the plane. A tired toddler is usually a happier, more relaxed toddler, and that can make for a more pleasant flight for everyone involved. There are a few things you can do to try to tire out your toddler before your flight:
Check in advance if there’s a playground at the airport. If you come early enough, you’ll have time for 30 minutes or more of fun. This is also a great tip if you’re having a stop-over! Get them to stretch those little legs!
If there’s no playground or if it’s located in a different section of the airport, there are plenty of other ways to make your kid tired. Airports have long and big hallways.
- Go exploring! Let your toddler decide which way to go and follow along. Not alone will they tire themselves out by running around, but you’ll also be doing something that’s called. And because they just got to decide a whole bunch of things, they’re more likely to comply when you’re asking them to (not) do something later. (Ok, not too much later, by that time they’ll have forgotten)
- Play hide and seek.
- Walk around and let your toddler interact with other travelers.
In general, do anything that involves walking or running and everything your toddler won’t be allowed to do during the flight.
#9 Be the last one to board the plane
One of the top toddler flying tips that you’ll find online is that you should board the plane first. Airlines usually call for families during the preboarding time and will allow you to get on it first.
I understand the logic behind this: you won’t be pressured into moving along and your toddler won’t stand in someone’s way. You can prepare your toddler and the rest of the family calmly for the flight to come.
However, why would you put your little one an extra 30 minutes into a cramped space where they have to sit down?
Obviously, you’re waiting at the gate so there’s no more playtime at the airport’s playground, but let them run as much as they can. Airports come with big, open spaces that are perfect for curious toddlers.
We always wait until the last people are boarding and I would say that this is one of my absolute favorite tips for flying with a toddler.
The only reason not to do this (in our opinion, obviously) is when you’re flying with a toddler car seat. In that case, we can imagine it is pretty handy to have the time to install your car seat without the pressure of other passengers waiting or your toddler running off to who knows where.
#10 Bring sanitizer
A sanitizer is a good idea to bring when traveling by plane with a toddler because planes are dirty and toddlers like to lick anything they see. Wipe down your and their seat and tables before take-off.
Your toddler will be snacking a lot too during the trip and you won’t make them go to the bathroom every time they want to eat something. With sanitizer, you can easily clean their hands.
Bringing wipes is also a good idea for later on in the flight because you never know what might happen.
#11 Pack your hand luggage like a pro
It can be difficult to keep track of everything when you’re traveling with a toddler. Having a good organization for your hand luggage can help make things go more smoothly.
Make sure to pack snacks and drinks that your toddler will want access to throughout the flight. It can be helpful to have them in a separate bag so they’re easy to grab.
Also, pack any essential items like diapers and wipes near the top of your bag so you can get to them quickly. Anything else can go towards the bottom. Go over each item, if it’s not essential when traveling with toddlers, put it in your main luggage.
Store the items that you will use the most under the seat in front of you, so you won’t have to get into the overhead compartiment every 5 minutes. This will also make it easier to keep an eye on your things and your toddler and you won’t disturb the other passengers (especially if you’re on a red-eye flight).
We also like to prepare our seat for the flight before takeoff. Put in all the essentials (tablet, headphones, sippy cup, some toys, etc.) you’ll need very often in the flap on the chair in front of you.
#12 Bring 3 changes of clothes for your toddler and 1 for yourself
While it might be obvious to bring a set of spare clothes for airplane travel with a toddler, a lot of parents don’t think to pack 3-4 changes of clothes for their toddler.
A toddler can be quite messy and accidents can happen. If your toddler spills or throws up on their clothes, you’ll be glad you have a clean set to change into. But it doesn’t necessarily happens just once.
Also, depending on the airline, toddlers might need a change of outfit when they’re not allowed to get out of their car seat or at the gate because they wet themselves. So, packing a few extra outfits is always a good idea.
Having an extra set of clothes for yourself is also a good idea, in case your toddler spills a glass of orange juice on you.
#13 Bring a sippy cup and keep your kid hydrated
There are a few reasons why you should bring a leakproof sippy cup for your toddler on the plane.
The first reason is that it is easy for them to drink from. They can simply put the straw in their mouth and suck on it, and the drink will come out easily.
The second reason is that it is easy to fill up. You can either fill it up at the airport before you board the plane, or you can ask the flight attendant to fill it up for you once you have boarded or are up in the air.
The third reason is that it is very unlikely for a leakproof sippy cup to spill. Even if it falls on the floor, the drink will not come out. This is especially important if you’re traveling with a toddler who is prone to dropping things.
Your toddler will become dehydrated more quickly when flying due to the lower humidity in the airplane cabin. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. It is important to keep your toddler hydrated by offering them water or juice to drink throughout the flight.
#14 Bring travel snacks. A lot
On a long-haul flight, you should be getting one or more in-flight meals.
However, don’t forget to bring your own snacks! You never know when you’re going to need it, so bring enough of your own. Your kiddo might not like the food on board. Or they might get bored and you need to entertain them for a bit.
Make sure to bring a variety of easy-to-eat (read: not messy!) food like breadsticks, crackers, grapes, or apples. Make sure to pack mostly healthy snacks when traveling on a plane with a toddler, but you can add a few sweets too, for those really tough moments.
Also, the trip isn’t over after the flight. In general, you will need to pick up your suitcases and take a cab or another way of transport to your accommodation. This last leg of the trip may ask for some munching as well.
We usually bring one backpack with stuff and one bag with food. But that might be just us. We all get hangry when we run out of food and some of us even start panicking at the thought alone. Nope. Not talking about our youngest family members.
#15 Download movies (in your own language)
If you’re flying with a 2-year-old or up, it’s a good idea to download some movies or cartoons onto your device before you take off.
In-flight entertainment might not work, and even if it does, it might be in another language. This way, your child can watch their favorite shows no matter what.
Keep in mind though that most toddlers don’t have a long attention span, especially when sitting still. Make sure to keep the entertainment short and sweet and switch enough with other activities.
#16 Bring headphones
One way to help toddlers stay calm and occupied is by bringing headphones for them to watch movies or cartoons. Audiobooks for toddlers are a great option as well.
Bluetooth headphones are a great choice because they wirelessly connect to your device and are less likely to get tangled than wired headphones. However, you can’t use them with the in-flight entertainment system.
The Cozyphones are a good choice of headphones for toddlers because they are very soft and don’t hurt their heads. They are also super easy to keep on. And they look cute too – that helps.
#17 Bring a travel blanket
A travel blanket is a great item to bring for toddler plane travel for a few reasons.
It can be used as a blanket obviously, but they come in pretty handy as a pillow too.
But other than that, they can also provide entertainment. Turn them into a fort or use them to play ghost. Additionally, if your toddler is sensitive to light, the blanket can be used to create a dark space for them to relax in, to nurse or to fall asleep easier.
#18 Bring a couple of new toys but don’t overdo it
Bringing a couple of gifts to unwrap on the flight is one of the most used flying tips for toddlers.
Sure, you have to keep your kiddo entertained on that flight, but you don’t have to bring Santa’s bag with you!
The flying will be exciting enough for your little one, so let them look around and take it all in. There’s a lot to see! They can watch the other passengers and flight attendants, spot other kids and they will probably spend a good portion of their time looking out of the window.
When it comes to games and toys, try to keep it simple. You can play easy games like I-Spy and Would you rather. They are very entertaining and you won’t need any additional gear.
We do recommend bringing at least a couple of airplane toys for your toddler that are new. You can pick a few that you believe will be the most fun for your little one.
We always brought along our daughter’s own little backpack when she was still a toddler. What fits in there are the only toys she could bring on the trip. She was responsible for her own stuff and was always so very proud when she can put it on.
As a toddler, her backpack was filled with car toys and other little figures (the type you often get at Mc Donalds), a couple of books, her teddy bear, a memory game or other cards that she can hold, and some paper to draw on.
For Little Dragon’s first long trip, he’ll be too small still to carry his own backpack, but we’ll be bringing spinners with a suction cup that you can put on the window and magnetic building blocks, because those are the things he’ll like the most.
It’s a good idea to spread out the toys. If you’re facing a particularly hard time during the flight, introduce a new toy and hopefully, they will be into play mode for a bit again. Always try with a snack first though, in our experience, food does the trick more than not.
And if you think you’re little one will enjoy unwrapping those new toys, then, by all means, wrap them!
#19 Let your toddler walk around
It’s good for toddlers to walk around on planes. Not only is it healthy to stretch their legs but it also gives you some time off in entertaining them.
If you have a kiddo that loves interacting with other people, let them. Other passengers usually don’t mind an explorative, smiling toddler and even if they’re not a fan of kids, they will just ignore your toddler who will then move on to a more willing participant.
It’s obviously impossible to let your toddler crawl or walk around at all times, but a 10 to 15-minute tour around the plane is possible every hour or so.
#20 Limit screentime before bedtime
I think most people let go of their rules about screentime when they’re flying with a 3-year-old or younger.
While that’s totally understandable, it is important to limit the screentime of your toddler before going to sleep on the plane.
The bright light from the screen can interfere with their natural sleep cycle. Too much screentime before bed can also make it difficult for them to fall asleep when they need to and it’s already hard enough as it is to get a toddler to sleep on a plane.
So, instead of letting them watch a movie or play on their tablet right before bedtime, try a calming activity like reading a book or singing a lullaby. Ideally, you want to do something that you usually do before bedtime.
#21 Follow the usual bedtime routine – also for naps
When going on a long international flight with a toddler, it is important to follow the usual bedtime ritual in order to help them feel comfortable and help them fall asleep.
This may include putting on their pajamas or sleeping bag, reading a story, singing a lullaby, or nursing.
Don’t forget to bring milk if they’re used to a bottle before going to bed.
Putting your toddler to sleep on a plane – whether that be for a nap or for the night – is something that stresses a lot of parents out.
#22 Make sleeping as comfortable as possible
Sleeping on a plane isn’t the easiest thing to do. It’s cramped
Making sleeping as comfortable as possible for your toddler on the plane is important because it will help them to get the rest they need. A tired toddler can be cranky and difficult to deal with, so it is best to avoid this by making sure they are as well-rested as possible.
There are a few things you can do to make sleeping on the plane more comfortable for your toddler.
If they are sitting on your lap, try to stretch them out as much as possible. This works better if there are two adults. Our daughter used to sleep a lot like this when she was little. Not only on planes but also on night buses. She always slept heavenly – we, not so much.
If they have their own chair, you can bring sleeping aids. These can help to make them more comfortable and make it easier for them to fall asleep.
Airplane beds & other sleeping aids
Sleeping upright in a plane will be very hard for toddlers and you’ll most likely end up with a sticky body onto yours. To ensure that you can get some sleep as well, bring a tool that lets your kids sleep with their legs up.
There are different types of airplane beds on the market nowadays. Always check with your airline if you’re allowed to use them!
- The most famous one is the Jetkids Bedbox. It’s a suitcase that your toddler can ride on through the airport (win!). In your airplane’s seat, it converts into a horizontal airplane bed. It will give your kid extra space and it blocks the escape. The Bedbox also has the perfect size to store a wide variety of airplane toddler toys. It’s expensive, but I can see why so many parents love it.
- A great alternative is an inflatable leg rest. Simply blow it up and tuck it into the space between the chairs. Your child now has a bed!
- Another option is the Travel Snug. It’s a padded cushion with sides and a back that slots onto an airline seat. There are loops so the seatbelt can be used normally and securely. While this doesn’t create a larger space for your toddler to stretch out on, it still makes sitting in a plane a lot more comfy for toddlers. The Travel Snug can also be used with the CARES harness.
- A small child-size pillow is a great solution if you don’t want to drag something big or heavy along. Toddler pillows can be stuffed into backpacks easily and their size makes it easy to squeeze the pillow into small spaces. It’s perfect for traveling on a plane when your toddler wants something under their head, or they simply want their own pillow from home.
The biggest downside of airplane beds for toddlers is obviously their size and weight. You’ll be adding something to your luggage that you’ll only use on the flights. Whether that’s worth it for you is something you alone can decide.
#23 Wait before leaving the plane
Ok, so you’ve finally landed and are totally ready to get to your destination as soon as possible.
However, it can be helpful to wait until one of the last people to get off the plane when you’re flying with a toddler.
This is because everyone gets up and wants to leave as soon as possible, which can be overwhelming and chaotic. Not to mention, it will be hard for your little one since you usually have to stand up for 10 minutes or longer before the plane is ready to be unloaded.
If you wait until the end, you’ll have more time to organize your stuff and make sure everything is in its place. And all the people are gone.
#24 Choose your battles
Like everything with a toddler, flying can be challenging. It’s important though to pick your battles. Choose what is most important to you and let the less important things go.
You’ll probably want to focus on the not-screaming part and the sleeping so you’re not disturbing the other passengers. Other things such as playing independently, what and how much they are eating, and how long they’re watching cartoons are ok for once.
#25 Prepare to entertain your toddler a lot
If you are flying with a toddler, be prepared to entertain them a lot. You might be able to watch a movie once they’re asleep, but you won’t be doing much for yourself.
Yeah, sorry. That sucks, I know.
At home, I’m one of those parents that lets their kids play on their own the entire time (I’ll still get them things obviously, but I avoid actively participating in play that involves toys.
But things work differently when you’re taking a toddler on a plane.
I find that if you’re involved with them the entire time, things tend to go pretty smoothly. Toddlers love it when you play along with them so pull out your improvisation or building skills and get to it.
#26 Plan for anything
Toddlers are unpredictable and many things can happen when you’re taking them somewhere.
Be prepared for anything.
Peeing in their pants. Throwing up. Getting sick on the flight.
The thing with being a parent is that you learn to deal with this. Just be as prepared as possible and you’ll know what to do if something goes wrong.
And how hard you might try to prevent a tantrum from happening, chances are that your toddler will be having one at one point during the flight. Try to stay calm. I know it’s difficult because you’re probably stressing out about the other passengers, but your kid will calm down the fastest if you co-regulate your emotions.
If this concept is new to you, take a look at what The AGILE Approach to Co-regulating Responses is here.
#27 Go with the flow
You can be prepared for anything and it can still all go wrong. You can’t control your toddler and even if things go south, you will survive. The other passengers will also survive. It’s not going to be fun, but you will get through it.
However, the chances of everything working out are a lot bigger! We’ve flown many times and it all went smoothly.
That doesn’t mean I’m not still nervous. Especially since Little Dragon is becoming a toddler and we’ll be flying long-haul to Thailand with a 13-month-old. Yes, that terrifies me, especially because he’s much more active and strong-willed than his big sis.
Remember that toddlerhood is just a phase. Soon you’ll be flying with a kid and later a teenager. Besides being little terrorists, they’re also pretty cute at this age – so try to enjoy your trip as well.
Wrapping up the tips for flying with a toddler
Flying long-haul with a toddler can be a challenge. Now that you know what to expect and how to prepare, I’ll hope you’re feeling more confident that it will turn out alright.
Soon you’ll be having fun at your amazing destination – keep that in mind when you’re having a rough time during the flight. But I’m sure your toddler will handle flying like a pro.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Babs Rodrigus is the co-founder and main writer of Mums on FlipFlops . She is absolutely crazy about traveling – especially together with her wife and kids. Babs loves animals, chocolate (what did you expect from a Belgian?), reading, and writing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Babs Rodrigus is the co-founder and main writer of Mums on FlipFlops . She is absolutely crazy about traveling – especially together with her wife and kids. Babs loves animals, chocolate (what did you expect from a Belgian?), reading, and writing.