Holiday flying is not an enjoyable experience in the best of circumstances — crowded waiting areas, cramped seating, rowdy crowds — and throwing an anxious or energetic toddler into the mix only increases the potential for frustration. Children are not built for the pressure of air travel, often becoming restless in security lines and uncomfortable with altitude changes.
Instead of leaving your travel experience up to chance, it is best to prepare in advance, allowing plenty of time to prepare your child and yourself for the trip. There are five tips flight attendants swear by for taking a flight with your little ones.
1. Book Early Flights
Booking an early flight does not refer to booking your trip months in advance; it relates to the flight time. Early morning flights are less crowded, and they increase the odds of your toddler being tired and wanting to sleep. Early morning departures are also less likely to experience delays, meaning less time sitting in a terminal lobby.
In addition to booking early-morning flights, you should avoid long layovers and late-night connections. The less you need to disrupt your child, the better.
2. Dress Them Comfortably
Comfort is a significant concern with air travel, especially when dealing with a fussy toddler. The best way to dress your child is in comfortable layers that are easy to remove, like t-shirts, sweaters, etc.
You want to avoid anything with buttons or zippers because they can make going potty difficult. The easier it is to put something on and take it off, the better.
Most flight attendants recommend the same idea for shoes. Instead of bringing laced-up sneakers, consider buying your kid a pair of slip-on shoes for easy security screenings.
3. Bring Cherished Toys
Does your child have a favorite action figure or doll? If so, bring it with you. However, make sure you keep track of it throughout your trip. The last thing you want is to lose your child's most cherished toy.
Another excellent idea is to purchase a toy specifically for the flight. Children love opening new toys; the toy will likely keep your child's attention longer since it is new. The best part about buying a new toy is that you can probably find a replacement if it gets misplaced.
4. Pack the Essentials
While packing a carry-on with your child in mind is necessary, you do not want to go overboard. It is vital to pack the essentials to not be overwhelmed when exiting the plane. When figuring out what to pack, consider the following:
- Art supplies (paper, crayons, etc.)
- Smartphones and tablets
- Kid-sized headphones
- Sanitizer, diapers, wipes (one diaper per hour)
- Plastic bags for trash
- Snacks (Low sugar)
- Comfort item
This is not an exhaustive list. There may be items that your child needs with them, like medication. Plan your packing so you are not rushed. Rushing can lead to mistakes.
5. Use Smaller Strollers
While a stroller is often essential for making your way through an airport, using a standard-size one is often overkill and a bit clumsy. Consider using an umbrella stroller instead. They are small, lightweight, and inexpensive.
Flying is stressful for adults and children. While the excitement of the activity can cause fussiness and trouble, your child might also experience discomfort for other reasons, like an upset stomach. Wellements can help with their organic supplements, such as liquid probiotics. Using all the tools you have at your disposal is crucial to experience the best and safest flight with your toddler.