We all know you do not want to be that parent with a screaming baby on the plane. How many times have you found yourself on a plane with a crying baby somewhere in the crowd? It’s true, travelling with a toddler on a plane can be a daunting ordeal. Babies and toddlers tend to cry and get cranky due to the altitude, stuffiness and ear pressure. If you find yourself travelling with a toddler, one thing you will have to remember is that you will need the patience to make it through the journey.
With cramped seats and crowds of people, flying isn’t always as glamourous as they set it out to be. It can soon become very frustrating for you if you are travelling with a toddler. Children simply don’t like being crammed into small spaces or sitting quietly for hours. This is why it is important to be prepared for everything beforehand when you are travelling with a toddler on a plane.
For all those new parents who may find travelling with a toddler an overwhelming task, we have 20 very helpful tips to make your travel experience 20 times better. Keep reading this word to word and by the end of it, we promise you, you will be more prepared than ever to take that flight, with baby in hand.
Helping Tips to Remember When Travelling With a Toddler
When it comes to flying, infants, babies and toddlers have very different reactions. Babies don’t really move, while your toddler simply won’t be happy being strapped to a seat for hours. It is more like that they will be kicking and fussing, trying to play peekaboo with the person behind them, or simply causing a tantrum to get your attention.
This is why travelling with a toddler can be such a nerve-racking task for many new parents. This is why you are probably on the lookout for some helpful ways to keep your child entertained throughout the flight. There are a few things you can do, which we will touch up on in this article. To start you off on some friendly advice on travelling with a toddler, here is a list of helpful tips for you to remember.
1) Keep Calm and Hold Composure
When it comes to toddlers on planes, some people are put off by the crying child, often complaining to the flight attendants to try to resolve the issue. Your baby will cry, and this is a normal thing to expect on the plane; and if the people aren’t as understanding as they should be, then it is them who are being children.
Just remember to stay calm and hold composure. If you are calm, the chances are your baby will be calm too. So long as you are trying everything you can to keep your baby happy, then there really isn’t any reason for anyone to point fingers and play the blame game.
Hence the first thing you need to do is remember to stay calm throughout the journey. Even if your toddler starts crying or is getting cranky or is causing a tantrum, don’t lose composure. Hold it together despite how awkward you may feel. Don’t worry, people know that children cry on planes; it is somewhat expected.
2) Remember Germs
On flights, germs are everywhere, hence it is best to wipe everything that your toddler may touch. Toddlers tend to stick their hands in their mouths, which is why it is important to make sure you try to keep their hands as clean as possible. Now it’s not possible to get your toddler to stop touching surfaces, hence it’s better to simply wipe the surfaces with an anti-bacterial wipe when you board the flight.
When it comes to going to the bathroom, make sure that they are wearing their shoes. Bathrooms on the plane are a hotspot for germs. So make sure that when they do go to the bathroom, that they try not to touch any of the surfaces.
3) Stay Away from the Aisle
Don’t let your toddler sit on the aisle seat. This is because there are always people using the aisle to get to the bathroom, which makes it a likelihood that your child may injure him or herself.
Further to this, the food and beverage cart makes its way through the aisle with hot water and coffee, which can be dangerous. Not to mention that a little arm could get hit by passing carts. Hence for the safety of the child, make sure never to seat your toddler on an aisle seat.
4) Win Over the Flight Attendants
Do what you can to win over the flight attendants, they are your nannies when you consider flying with a toddler. Simply speak to them when you board the flight and tell them that you are travelling with a toddler. Have a conversation with them about the worries of the flight and they will relate to you. Not only that, they will remember you once the flight has taken off.
Maybe give them a bar of chocolate that you has bought at the airport as a kind gesture. Do whatever it takes to win them over. They are going to be the help that you need if your child is throwing a tantrum. Think about it, when your child throws a tantrum and won’t stop crying, what if the flight attendant recommends that you and your toddler go check out the cockpit? Little things you do to win them over will go a long way when flying with a toddler.
5) Use Diapers or Pull-Ups
When it comes to travelling with toddlers who are not potty trained, it is important to remember to use diapers or Pull-Ups. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a bit of a situation with your child having wet the seat.
It saves you the hassle of having to rush to the bathroom. Bathrooms in aeroplanes can be rather crowded and stuffy which makes them horrible for changing a child. Hence use diapers or Pull-Ups, they will make the journey a lot more comfortable for you.
6) Water for Air pressure
Cabin pressure can be annoying for adults, for children it can even cause pain sometimes. This is why we usually hear the crying baby during take-off and landing. It is the build-up of air pressure that places the toddler in an uncomfortable and unaccustomed situation.
When it comes to air pressure, the best thing to keep at hand is water. If you are travelling with a toddler, remember to ask for water as soon as you board the flight. You can do this while you work to win over the flight attendants.
Upon taking off, have your child drink some water. The swallowing mechanism helps resolve air pressure build-up in the ears. When the child realises that the problem goes away when they drink water, they will begin to make a game out of it and ask to sip more water.
Do this when you are descending too, to resolve the air pressure caused by the drop in altitude.
7) Be Prepare for the Security Check
The security check before you board the flight is where you may find yourself held up. This may make things uncomfortable for your toddler. Hence plan beforehand to declare everything you have to.
Keep your liquids ready to be placed in zip-top bags and avoid carrying water and snacks. Though when travelling with a child, you may be allowed to carry a bottle of water and snacks, some airport security officials may make a fuss and ask you to dispose of everything before clearing security.
Hence be prepared for everything the security officers may throw at you and do whatever you can to make the screening process easier on yourself.
8) Pack and Carry Everything You Need
When it comes to flying with a toddler, you have to make sure that you are carrying everything with you. This may include comfort items such as pacifiers. When it comes to pacifiers, it is best to strap the pacifier to the child or carry more than one. If you end up losing the pacifier, the journey may soon turn into a nightmare with your toddler in a horrible mood.
Make sure to carry plenty of wipes and diapers. Though changing on the plane is not ideal, it may have to be something that you may have to accommodate. Hence make sure you are carrying extra wipes and diapers.
Carry either a tablet or a smartphone to keep the child entertained throughout the flight. If your child isn’t old enough to watch movies, then take their favourite toys or books or even some art supplies to colour on the plane.
Though security may cause a fuss, it is best to carry some water and a few snacks like nuts and crackers; and remember to carry a plastic bag to throw your trash into.
9) But Don’t Overpack
When you try to carry everything you will need for the flight, you may end up bringing too many things with you. Remember that you will have to carry all that stuff with you on the plane, and you don’t want to carry anything that you may not need.
Try making a list of essentials that would be required for a comfortable flight and stick to the list. If you see your list getting too long, revise it and only pack the stuff that you cannot do without. Don’t carry all of the child’s toys, simply carry one or two toys that can keep them happy throughout the flight.
10) Use a Light Stroller
Your regular stroller may be too bulky for travel through airports, which is why you should always consider getting yourself a light stroller. This will be much easier to carry with you as you get through airport security.
Remember to check the stroller at the gate before you board the flight. You will be able to collect it from the crew when you arrive at your destination.
11) Entertain Your Child
When travelling with a toddler, it is important to keep them entertained through the flight. This may include playing with them, talking to them, or simply giving them toys they can play with. You could even bring with you a new wrapped up toy, which the child can unwrap on the plane. Since the toy is new, it is more likely that it will keep the child engaged and entertained for longer.
Do whatever you can to keep your toddler entertained. The better of a mood they are in, the more comfortable of a flight you will have.
12) Dress them Comfortably
When you are dressing your child for the journey, make sure you dress appropriately. Layers are your friend, for they will allow your child to simply take off the jacket if they get too warm. Dress them in comfortable clothes to make it easier for them to go to the bathroom. The more comfortable your child is, the happier you will be on the flight.
When considering shoes, go for something without laces. If you dress them in laced shoes, you will see yourself spending so much time tieing their shoelaces together. Not to mention the fact that if they go to the bathroom with untied shoes, they will drag the laces on the floor.
Hence dress them appropriately in comfortable wear and you will be more comfortable in the process.
13) Prepare Your Toddler
When it comes to children this age, they are receptive to conversations. So have a conversation with your toddler before the flight. That way, they will know what to expect. Speak in a way so as to build up their expectations.
Talk to them about what they will experience on the flight and get them excited about the whole thing. This way, when they are on the flight, they will remember what you talked about and will resultantly enjoy the trip better.
14) Don’t Opt for Cheap Travel
When it comes to travelling with a toddler, it is best to steer clear of the cheapest travel routes. This is because these routes usually have long transits and stop at various airports. Look to travel directly to the destination, even if it costs you more money.
If you are able to travel first class, then we recommend doing so. It will make the experience more enjoyable for your child and you. You will get more support with the child on first-class, hence don’t always look to travel cheap. The extra money you spend will be money well spent on making the journey as comfortable as possible.
15) Fly Early Morning
When you are booking your flights, look to fly during the early morning. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, during the early morning, chances are your toddler would still be sleepy and would nap on the flight. This makes it much easier on yourself; a sleeping child on a plane is the most comfortable.
Secondly, morning flights usually have fewer crowds, and you will find yourself more comfortable not being in a huge crowd of people.
When it comes to travelling with a toddler, it is best to skip on late-night connections, which will make things much harder for yourself.
16) Use the Chance to Pre-board
When it comes to flying with children, parents with toddlers are instructed to board the flight first. This gives you enough room to actually get on the flight comfortably and strap yourself in and prepare for the flight. Hence use the option to pre-board.
However, if you see yourself preferring to spend more time at the airport terminal and less time in the crammed seats of economy, if you are flying with a partner, have your partner board the flight first with all the bags. This way, you use the pre-boarding option and walk into the flight with the toddler at the very end when everyone else has boarded the flight.
17) Get your Child a Separate Seat
Don’t be stingy when you are travelling with a toddler and buy them a seat on the plane. This is because it will be much easier to keep your toddler happy on a plane when they have their own space.
The use of a car seat (based on age) and a child safety restraint system (CRS) is considered a lot safer for your child than your lap. Not only will your child be safer, but they will also enjoy the flight more when they have a place to sit other than your lap. There is more room to play with their toys and simply is a better way to enjoy the flight.
18) Pack a Change of Clothes
It is always best to carry a spare change of clothes for your toddler, just in case something goes wrong. It is simply better to be prepared for any situation. There could be a leaky diaper, or your child could spill something on themselves.
Whatever be the case, it is better to have a change of clothes at hand. You may not have to use it but it is better to be prepared than to be sorry. Imagine going through an entire flight with a leaky diaper; it would get so uncomfortable for your toddler.
19) Carry Necessary Medication
If your child has a prescription or even if the child is using over-the-counter medicine, it is best to carry this medicine with you on the flight. Much like a change of clothes, it is good to be prepared. Simply keep them in your carry on in a zip-top bag, just in case you need them.
When it comes to sore ears due to cabin pressure, infant ibuprofen can be useful. Hence remember this when you pack your carry-on.
20) Use the Airport Restroom
It is always best to enter the flight with a fresh diaper. Hence take the opportunity at the airport terminal to change your toddler’s diapers. You may want to use some extra diaper cream and maybe even use two diapers instead of one; in case of leakage.
If your child is potty trained, then it is a good idea to visit the restroom before the flight. The airport restroom is often cleaner and better than flight bathrooms. Using the bathroom at the airport will ensure that the chances of having to leave your seat to go to the bathroom are decreased. The less you have to move around on the flight with your toddler, the better.
How to Keep Toddlers Entertained on a Flight
When you are travelling with a toddler, it is important to ensure that you keep them entertained through the fight. This could be as simple as looking at the clouds or naming shapes for clouds, to reading their favourite book to them.
Most of the time, the best way to keep a toddler entertained on a flight is to have a conversation with them. Simply talk to them and ask them how they are feeling and ask them if they are enjoying the flight. Look at the inflight magazines with them and talk to them about your destination. Point at a map or globe and show them where they are right now. Toddlers love learning new things and flying can be a very rewarding experience for them. So involve them in some conversation instead of having them sit there on their own.
Do carry some snacks with you or ask the flight attendant for some nuts or chocolate. This will keep your child in a better mood. You can also give your child your camera and ask them to take pictures. This obviously depends on the age of your child and whether they can operate a camera.
You can play games with them on board the flight. This can range from card games to puzzles or even playing games on your phone. Keep your child engaged throughout the flight, give them something to do.
Downloading an audiobook for your child could help too. If they are at the age of watching movies, make sure to have your smartphone or tablet with you. Load the devices up with a few movies they can enjoy on the journey. If you prefer more conventional methods, use art supplies, get them to draw or colour. Bring an activity book; anything that will keep them engaged throughout the flight.
Don’t forget the toys. Carry their favourite toys with you so that they can play with them on the plane. This will make it easier on you for they will be occupied with their own thing. You may even find it more helpful to surprise them with a new toy. This way, they will be more likely to be occupied with the new toy longer.
Just be silly and play with the child. Make silly faces with each other, take silly pictures, do voices, whatever it takes to keep your toddler entertained throughout the flight.
Remember to Stay Calm
Despite anything that may go wrong during your flight, it is integral to ensure that you stay calm during the whole process and tell yourself that you can get through this. You must believe that you are truly prepared for travelling with a toddler on a plane. We hope these helpful tips will come in handy for you when you are travelling with a toddler on a plane. We hope that you find the confidence to tell yourself that you can do this, and not have to worry about what to expect on the flight.