I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – traveling with a child isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it!
We’ve confidently been taking Roselyn on flights and road trips since she was three months old and she has been a great travel companion thus far. We recently had the opportunity to take her with us on one of my work trips to Seattle and although we were excited to visit our home, we were also nervous about traveling with a toddler on an extended flight.
We thankfully had more positive than negative experiences during our travel days, but there were moments when we were “that family” on the airplane desperately trying to soothe their toddler to sleep.
We relied on suggestions from fellow family travelers to ensure a positive and successful flight with our toddler and we’ve put a list of their tips together today:
How to Fly With a Toddler
1. Bring a preferred baby carrier.
Baby carriers make travel days easier and more efficient in so many ways. For us, it’s the quickest way to get through security at the airport (TSA allows parents to wear their children through security) and it’s also the quickest way for us to get Rosie to sleep on me on the plane (parents can wear their children throughout the flight, with the exception of takeoff and landing).
2. Choose the right flight and time.
If you’re like us and know that your toddler needs a full night of sleep and a morning nap in order to make it through the day without a meltdown; then choose an afternoon or early evening flight. It’s so important to schedule the right flight and time according to your toddler’s routine, or else you’ll be setting yourself up for failure before you even take off.
3. Have multiple forms of entertainment.
Whether it’s electronics, post-it notes, soft toys or all of the above –having multiple forms of entertainment is a must for traveling toddlers. We quickly realized that Rosie had a 15 minute attention span for each form of entertainment, so we broke our flight down into increments and prepared for new forms of entertainment for her for the duration of the flight time. We know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time until age two, but if all else fails, we found that an episode of our favorite “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” can really change the outlook of the flight around.
4. Have snacks.
The great thing about toddlers is that they often see food as entertainment too! We brought along Rosie’s favorite finger/snack foods that were both easy to eat and healthy, which included organic food pouches, teething wafers and yogis.
5. Walk the aisle (but don’t disturb the flight attendants).
It’s healthy and necessary for toddlers to explore and move around, but it’s unfortunately just not possible on an airplane. You can walk the aisle of the plane with your toddler to get out some wiggles if needed, but be sure to do it around flight service so you do not disturb your flight attendants – they have jobs to do too!
We understand that every toddler and his or her needs are unique, but hopefully these tips will make for an easier flight for you and your family during your upcoming travel day!