Toddlers and airplanes: ready, set, go!

Toddler airplane tips

First off, I’d like to personally thank the FAA, TSA, CIA and any other government agency for recently allowing electronic devices during Tarmac sitting, taxiing and take off. You have improved my life and the lives of my fellow travelers tenfold.

We’ve flown with E starting when he was 4 months old. For the most part, it’s gone well, but the challenge always came during that beginning part on the plane when he was excited and antsy and required to sit still.

I know letting little ones zone in front of a screen isn’t ideal, but when you’ve got hours ahead of you, even a champion Pinterest parent will get burnt out. A carefully timed episode of Curious George can stave off melt downs and get you over the hump until the snack cart rolls by.

Here’s what worked for us on the seven hour plane ride to Europe.

1. A combination of favorite and new snacks. Fruit chews were introduced on this trip and they were a huge hit! A friend recommended them for take-off and landing and she was right–no apparent ear trouble.

2. A personal water bottle with sipper top. I just didn’t want to deal with spills in that small a space.

3. Noise canceling headphones. So worth it. Planes are loud and earbuds are not a good choice for tiny people. Over-the-ear headphones let E enjoy Sesame Street without forcing the rest of us to endure Baby Bear. (God I hate the sound of Baby Bear.)

4. iBooks with the Read to Me feature. Again, the headphones let him enjoy lots of his favorite stories without forcing the business travelers next to us to listen to Go Dog Go.

5. The blanket he uses for nap time at school. I think encouraging “a rest” worked far better than saying time for bed. The nap blanket helped him believe he wasn’t going to miss much.

When we landed after our 7+ hour flight, all my preparation was worth it. In rows both in front of us and behind us, people expressed their surprise that there was a toddler on board. They hadn’t even known he was there–until we landed and he started talking to everyone that would make eye contact. I guess hours of just talking to mom and dad got a little boring….


Toddler airplane travel tips

A movie and a sandwich. What else does a traveler need?

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