We just returned from an exciting family vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with Air Transat. Turns out, this was my toddler’s 42nd flight and my baby’s 14th flight!
We fly a lot… I often get asked how we keep our kids entertained & happy on long flights, and to be honest, my answer varies each time. It largely depends on the time of day, the airline you’ve chosen, the age of your kids, etc. So, while each flight is a little bit different there are some tried and true things that have always worked for me.
Top Three Toddler Tips
Talk about it
A few days before leaving on a flight, we always talk to my son about how the day will go. We do this to get him excited about the big travel day and also to coach him on things like staying buckled up in his seat and napping on the plane. We’ll talk about the teeniest details like wake up time, outfits, meals, security, customs, pilots, literally anything and everything to do with flying. If the flight is over naptime or bedtime, we talk about when and how he will sleep on the plane. He’ll then repeat it back to us like a story, “First eat, then nap, then Paw Patrol!”. Toddlers love to know what’s coming up next, so the more detail you use in talking through a sequence of events, the better.
Snacks are the number one distraction for toddlers because I mean… what toddler doesn’t love snacks? Eating takes time, and the more time you take up with distractions, the faster the time will fly. Literally 😉 BUT (and this is a big but) the snacks have to be low in sugar. Hopping your child up on sugary snacks and drinks and them telling them they have to sit and be quiet while strapped into a chair for 6 hours is 100% the worst. We all know the side effects of sugar, especially on children, and you have to be extra cautious while traveling. Their routine is already out of whack, they’re in a new environment, and they’re already excited. Make it easier on yourself and on them by choosing healthy, low sugar snacks. Here’s what we packed for our toddler:
[wp-svg-icons icon=”heart-2″ wrap=”i”] Carrots & Celery
[wp-svg-icons icon=”heart-2″ wrap=”i”] Homemade energy balls (PB, coconut, chia, hemp & oats)
[wp-svg-icons icon=”heart-2″ wrap=”i”] Probiotic Bars with only 2 grams of sugar
[wp-svg-icons icon=”heart-2″ wrap=”i”] Bean-based “cheerios”
[wp-svg-icons icon=”heart-2″ wrap=”i”] Raw almonds
[wp-svg-icons icon=”heart-2″ wrap=”i”] Apples
I wasn’t sure if I would ever be ‘that’ parent who gives their toddler an iPad, but now I laugh in her face! HA! Especially with a Baby in my arms. I’m like hells-to-the-ya when it comes to traveling with the iPad. Please, please, please though, make sure they have earphones. There’s nothing more annoying than a kid watching their show with the sound on for the whole plane to hear. We bought Henry a pair of headphones that have a low decibel rating so they’re safe for their little ears. I’ll typically download 2-4 shows and a movie through Netflix (yes, you can download shows!) depending on the length of the flight. Keep in mind your child’s current favourite shows as well as their attention span before you go crazy downloading a bunch. I’ll usually save the iPad for a treat for after he naps if it’s a long flight. Or I’ll wait to give it to him after the excitement of being on a plane wears thin.
Top Three Baby Tips
Most babies have that one thing that comforts them more than anything. Traveling can be stressful especially for little ones surrounded by new sights and smells and loud sounds. My number one tip is to have something that comforts them on hand all the time. Whether its a pacifier or a toy or a bottle. For Posie, it’s the boob, and that’s pretty easy for me to have on hand 😉
Since babies 2 and under fly for free, they’re required to be on your lap for the entire duration of the flight. I found this to be easy before my babies became mobile, but as soon as they started to crawl, having a squirmy baby on your lap isn’t so much fun. Having a nursing pillow acts as a barrier of sorts between you and your squirmer, making it a lot more enjoyable for you and your baby. Your baby will not only have a cushy surface to sleep on, but they’ll also have a nice surface to sit on (or bounce on ;))
Go for walks
Sometimes, just a change of scenery is all babies need when they start to get fussy. Babies, for the most part, are social little things. Getting up and walking the aisle of the plane is a fantastic distraction for both you and your baby. Not to mention, strangers often can’t resist a cute baby.
I hope these tips help!
Love, peace & traveling with kids [wp-svg-icons icon=”heart” wrap=”i”]