Ok so our little Kinley Rae isn’t exactly in the “toddler” phase anymore, but we’ve flown with her a few times a year since she was 2 1/2 months old, so we’ve been through it. And I’m here to tell you it’s not that bad! Start them off young and it will get even easier. They will get used to flying and be a pro in no time.
I have heard so many people say they would love to fly somewhere with their child, but are just too scared of dealing with them on the plane to do it. Don’t miss out on traveling for that reason! DO IT! You just have to know what to bring and be prepared. Finances, work, vacation time, school, and illness are all legitmate excuses not to be able to take a flight somewhere or visit family. Being afraid your little one will be too difficult to deal with is NOT!
People imagine the absolute worst scenario in their minds… stuck on a plane…screaming child driving everyone crazy and you are about to lose your freakin’ mind. But it’s seriously not like that if you plan ahead!
Every time we’ve flown with Kinley Rae has been pretty darn easy. In all of our flights I don’t think she has cried for more than 1 minute. (At the time that minute seems like an eternity though!) We even get comments from other passengers as we are getting off the plane that they didn’t even realize there was a child seated near them. Are we just lucky? Do we just have a perfect, angelic little princess that always behaves and never has tantrums? Oh helllll no! The first few months of her life she had colic… then we went through a horrible poor-sleeping phase… and she’s just like every other kid that acts out and has her nasty moments. (Other than that we totally love her and swear she’s a good kid!) Despite these things we’ve had a lot of practice flying with her and have learned some tricks and what to pack each time.
Here’s what to bring to survive the trip:
1. Window Gel Clings
You can find them at the dollar bin at Target, as well as CVS, Party City, etc. They are cheap and will buy you at least 30 mins or so while your child easily peels and sticks them to the window. It’s also great for their fine motor skills. Just make sure you grab a window seat!
2. Dollar Store Toys
Grab a bunch of cheap, small toys that you can let your child open at separate times throughout the flight to keep them occupied. You can even wrap them up in tissue paper or wrapping paper to make it more of an event every time they get a new little toy. *Don’t get anything round like a ball. Your kid WILL drop it and it will roll down the aisle.
3. Tablet/Video Player
Anyone with a kid knows how valuable these things can be! They can occupy your kid for awhile… but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There are plenty of educational and fun apps out there so they’re learning too. If you don’t have a tablet, or don’t want to hand over yours, then here’s another option. At your local library you can rent little handheld video players. We did this once and Kinley Rae was able to watch Elmo and other kid’s movies right in her hands, for free.
If you’re going to have #3, then you have to make sure you have headphones so you don’t drive everyone else on the plane crazy with Wiggle’s songs. Make sure you get child headphones. They serve 2 purposes: 1. The smaller size will fit your child’s head. 2. They have a volume limit to make sure their little ears don’t get blasted if they turn it up too loud.
I know this sounds like an obvious one… you’re a parent and you know to always pack snacks wherever you go. But here’s the thing… I try to always give my daughter healthy snacks. But when we fly… who the hell cares. If they’re starting to get restless… hand over the junk food. It’ll feel like a special treat if they’re not used to normally getting crappy food like that at home. Also… (and we learned this on our 6 hr flight across country to California)… Southwest does NOT serve meals… only snacks like pretzels and peanuts. So make sure you pack lots of extra stuff for your kid AND yourself!
This kind of goes with #5, to help keep your child
quiet happy, but it also serves a greater purpose. Give them a lollipop when the plane is taking off and landing and it will help with the painful ear popping. We also like to play a game of funny faces to get Kinley Rae to dramatically open and close her mouth which helps her ears as well.
7. Triangle-shaped Crayons
I don’t remember where I learned this but it’s GENIUS. When you break out the coloring book and crayons you don’t think about this… but they will eventually drop a crayon and it will roll down the floor of the plane. The triangle ones stay put on a tray table or floor.
8. Small towel/paper towels
Spills (or God forbid, puke) will happen. It helps to have something to clean it up quickly.
9. Small Pillow and Blanket
My daughter almost always takes a nap on the plane (the movement and sounds are relaxing), and I’d rather have our own little blanket and pillow than the dirty airplane one. Plus, it makes her feel more at home with something familiar.
– Try to grab a window seat around the middle or front of the plane. This area is usually the least bumpy and the window will occupy their attention.
– Pack things by category in big ziploc bags. I pack all of my snacks/lollipops in one bag, my wipes, towel and any other “supplies” in another bag, etc. This will make it SO much easier when you need something so you don’t have to dig around your bag in that cramped seat.
– I like to bring a sippy cup that has “C”-shaped handles on the sides. That way you can easily hang it on the seat pocket in front of you. (Those planes are tiny so every little bit of space-saving helps!)
– You CAN bring a cup/bottle of water or milk through security. All you have to do is let them know you have a cup for your child before you walk through the metal detector. TSA will quickly scan your cup/bottle and give it back to you.
– Try to book a flight earlier in the day. For one, your child will be more well-rested for the trip and therefore better behaved. Secondly, flights in the evening are more likely to get delayed.
– If you’re bringing a stroller, you can either check it at the front of the airport with the rest of your luggage, or keep it until you’re about to board the plane and gate-check it there. They’ll then have your stroller waiting for your when you get off the plane.
– If you need to bring your car seat, buy a travel bag to keep it in. I was going to get the cheapest one, then decided to get this one instead, and I’m SO glad I did! My husband could carry it on his back like a book bag, or we could roll it on the wheels. Sooo much easier than if we would’ve had to drag that thing through the airport!
– Dress your kid in comfy, easily removable layers. Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cold, and sometimes they puke or have an accident.
– Bring more stuff than you think you’ll need. Diapers, clothes, snacks, etc. If you get delayed, you’ll be glad you did.
So I would LOVE to hear some more tips! What is your absolute must-have or best advice when flying with your child? Comment below!