Travel Tips: Flying with a Toddler
Flying can be stressful for anyone but for kids, it is something else. For a toddler, it can be exciting and scary. The same thing can be said for parents. We know that the first time travelling with a toddler is a new experience and being prepared can really help avoid tantrums. One person’s experience flying does not compare to being responsible for an unpredictable force of nature known as a toddler. We’ve gathered some tips and tricks along with a few products that will help to ease the stress of travelling for everyone involved, including fellow passengers.
These tips can be divided into two main categories: fun and functional. Fun is going cover the aspects concerning entertaining and mitigating boredom as well as keeping a toddler occupied throughout the journey. There will also be explanations as to what works and why. Every parent knows that keeping their kids busy can avoid meltdowns and acting out, so keeping a little one engaged in something is crucial. Functional will cover the more necessary aspects of travelling like how many diapers will be needed and how all of them will be carried around.
It is also important to note that this article is framed for children at least one-year-old and younger than four years old. Since every kid is different it is up to a parent’s discretion as to customizing what is going to work or not. Changes in age, behaviour and other circumstances have a big impact on how a child will react to a situation so it is important to tweak the advice to find a good balance.
Trunki is the kind of thing that adults wish they had when growing up. Simply put, Trunki is a rolling suitcase to pack clothes and other supplies in. However, it is also really fun. Various Trunkies can be spotted rolling through airports with their owners riding atop. That is right, Trunki can be ridden!
The sturdy, hard-shelled suitcase that resembles an exotic animal is also great for toddlers to ride around on. Holding onto Trunki’s horns helps avoid fatigue in those little legs. After all, flying often means a lot of walking. It also gives them a special travelling companion to play with. The straps can be used to carry Trunki or can be used to pull it along.
For those wanting a special Trunki, it can be custom designed. Trunki is fun and practical, which makes it great for flying.
Gift wrap might seem like an unusual addition to a list dedicated to flying with a toddler, but there is a reason for it. Everyone likes to open presents. The mystery adds a little positive excitement to what can be a scary experience.
Additionally, having something to look forward to, like opening a gift, can help tame a kid that might be overwhelmed with all the other stimuli. This also helps to associate a positive experience with travelling so future journeys won’t seem so scary. Simply take some of the fun things mentioned in this article and even some familiar toys and books from home and wrap them up. At various intervals give out one of the gifts.
This can be useful especially when getting settled in the aeroplane. When bags are being placed in overhead bins by parents, the kid will be occupied for a little bit while opening and discovering something new or familiar.
Glow sticks are fun. Taking just a few on a flight can make it a much more magical experience for children that are not used to seeing them. After they unwrap the stick and are shown how to snap it, a toddler will certainly find it fun to play with. This is also useful for when the plane is dark. Glow sticks don’t cast enough light to disturb other passengers like a flashlight but are bright enough to see close surroundings.
Another bonus when using the glow sticks is putting them on a toddler that likes to go exploring. In the dark, kids can still be identified easily by the glowing bracelet. A little light can also be comforting for those children that may be afraid of the dark.
Colouring is a pastime for kids everywhere; so is making a mess. With Crayola Wonder markers children can’t make a mess. The special markers and paper work together so there is a clean colouring experience, no matter how outside the lines someone scribbles. There are also additional Crayola Wonder Color colouring kits with scenes that can be coloured like Disney’s Frozen or Paw Patrol. These mini markers are perfect for transporting to and fro.
Some people might not realize that there are headphones for kids. It is true that most toddlers are not jamming out to the hip, new, crossover thrash bands on Soundcloud, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use headphones.
Although daily screen time should be restricted for young children, an eight-hour flight might necessitate breaking the rules a little. Most airlines with long-haul flights have in-flight entertainment units on the back of each headrest which are often pre-loaded with cartoons or other toddler-friendly entertainment. It might also be handy to have some episodes saved on a tablet or even a smartphone (just in case).
Using videos as a last resort to calm and captivate a thrashing, screaming child is understandable; fellow passengers won’t judge harshly if it means they'll get some peace and quiet. These CozyPhones fleece headphones are ideal because they are soft, comfortable and stay on snug. Since kids squirm and wiggle around, it's important that parents don’t have to constantly re-adjust these headphones.
A bonus: they can be used as a sleep mask by pulling them down over the eyes. CozyPhones are also durable and washable. It doesn’t hurt that they come in various cute forms such as a unicorn or a frog. Parents might be tempted to get a pair for themselves!
No one wants to deal with it, but it is part of toddler life. Nappies. Unless a child has been potty trained (congratulations to those who have accomplished this), then carrying diapers and the accompanying supplies are a must.
It can be estimated that a 12-month old will need about eight nappies a day, so bring a few more than expected. Running out of nappies mid-flight would be a catastrophe. Bambo Nature makes diapers that are eco-friendly, safe for kids and super-absorbent. The wetness indicator makes it easy to see if a toddler needs a change so parents won’t have to squeeze the nappy and guess how wet it is. Since they are eco-friendly, there will also be some clean earth left for future generations.
An additional tip is that the changing a nappy in the small aeroplane bathroom can be scary and difficult. One of those wrapped gifts or some glow sticks should be brought with to distract during the changing process, which can take longer than usual due to the cramped, unconventional washroom.
Parents typically already have a nappy bag which they will use over and over. A durable and functional nappy bag isn’t just necessary for a flight with a toddler but is essential for everyday life. It isn’t just some sack that nappies and wipes are thrown in. A good nappy bag can be like having a third or fourth hand, helping to juggle a child, nappies, wipes and cream.
That is why the Lekebaby Backpack has been chosen for this article. There are compartments and pockets for everything, including insulated storage for milk and food and a waterproof zip pocket. It can be worn like a backpack so walking through airplane aisles is easy because it won’t hit every row like a shoulder bag might. It can also be held in the hand using the sturdy straps. Additionally, it has a nice set of pushchair clips. This Lekebaby Nappy Bag is both comfortable, convenient and stylish.
As is generally the rule with Toddlers, an extra outfit is almost always necessary. Due to spills or any other messy accident, a change of clothes can be expected. But parents should also consider which clothing is appropriate for a flight. Aeroplanes often have temperatures that fluctuate between warm and cold throughout the flight, so an outfit with layers is ideal.
Comfort is also an important factor. A pair of denim jeans on little legs can be restricting and the seams are often large and uncomfortable to sit on. Adults don’t have to deal with this as much but for a toddler, it can feel like sitting on a bunch of pebbles.
A dress might be cute, but there is often a lot of extra fabric that can be caught on armrests and the like. With this in mind, we believe the most appropriate thing for a toddler to wear would be pyjamas. Exercise clothing like a tracksuit would work as well, but pyjamas are often less expensive and can be used over and over again.
Avoid one-piece pyjamas that zip up. The zipper can get in the way and be uncomfortable. Additionally, getting in and out of a zip-up pyjama becomes quite the process during nappy changes. This is why we chose these long-sleeved organic cotton pyjamas from Hatley. The robot dino design is super cool and great for all genders, plus there are plenty of other designs to choose from. Another great choice is this toddler tracksuit from Puseky. Comfy, cosy and cute.
A pair of slippers is also recommended. Soft sole slippers allow a toddler to relax and even if their feet swell, they can walk through an airport wearing them. Konfetti has a large range of Swedish-made moccasin style slippers.
Staying well-fed can stave off a toddler meltdown. Well-regulated blood sugar prevents mood swings, which in turn prevents tantrums being thrown. Getting hangry is a problem for anyone; for toddlers, this combination of hunger and anger is amplified, which is why keeping the right snacks and drinks nearby is important. Healthy food options are always a must, but become even more essential during a long flight.
Choose snacks that are low in sugar; refined sugars should especially be avoided because the sugar rush can be followed by a sugar crash. Foods with whole grains are also a great choice. Snacks that be grabbed by the handful are also ideal. This is why we chose the Munchkin Snack Catcher. It has a lid which allows a toddler to reach in and pull just a handful out all while keeping the other bits in. With the Snack Catcher, parents can choose familiar foods to bring with.
Additionally, packets of premade fruit purees like those made by Ella's Kitchen are also handy. The stress from a flight can cause dehydration, so the extra fluid kids get from these fruit purees are perfect. A word of caution: avoid dark-coloured fruit purees, as they can easily stain clothes.
Although toddlers might prefer juice, a flight can be extremely dehydrating. Water is the optimal choice but watered-down juice can also be used as a substitute. Spills need to be avoided, but sippy cups are for babies. Check out the Contigo Kids Autospout Gizmo Water Bottle. It has a very cool spill-proof valve that won’t spill even if it is open. There are all sorts of colours to choose from and it looks more like a bottle you'd see at a gym than a bottle full of breast milk. Staying hydrated might mean more diaper changes, but that's better than a cranky toddler with a headache.