Monday, October 28, 2013

Flying with a Toddler

Today, Brian, Noah and I are flying to Texas for my sister's wedding.  WOOT, WOOT!

The last time we flew with Noah, he was just 12 months old.  Now, nine months later, he's walking and running and touching everything--which is totally developmentally appropriate, but could prove to be a challenge in an airplane.

For the past few weeks, in preparation for this trip, I've been giving some thought to traveling with a toddler.  In addition, I scoured the internet and asked a few friends for travel advice.

Here are some tips I gleaned from my research: 
  • Find three seats together.  For our flight today, we've reserved an aisle seat and a window seat, and we're crossing our fingers that no one sits in the middle seat. 
  • Bring a car seat to the gate.  Although technically Noah is a lap child, we're hoping to bring his car seat on the flight with us.  That way, we can strap him into it--just as if we were going on a car ride.      
  • Request cans of soda instead of cups.  On previous flights, we've found it difficult to juggle cups of soda and ice, and keep it from spilling on Noah, us or the seats. Requesting cans of soda or buying bottled water in the airport before the flight works better for us.   
  • Buy a new book for the plane.  I purchased this book for Noah.   
  • Bring balloons.  Blow up a balloon at the gate and play with it as you wait for your flight.  Then, throw it away when you board the plane or pass it on to another family with little ones.
  • Pack a doodler or Etch-a-Sketch.  We're planning to bring this one along. 
  • Carry stickers and paper.  Noah loves to put stickers on paper at home; I pull off a sticker, hand it to him, and he sticks it to the paper. 
  • Bring a small pack of crayons and a coloring book.   
  • Buy steamed milk at the airport.  Then, transfer the milk to a bottle or cup and give it your child on the plane.  (Thanks to my sister-in-law, Lori, for this great tip!) 
    • Carry a roll of painter's tape or a pad of post-it notes.  Make a game of it as you decorate the tray table, the seat, your toddler's clothing--even his nose, ears, and chin. 
    • Pack a variety of snacks.  Especially ones that take a long time to eat such as raisins or nuts. 
    • Pull out your iPhone or iPad.  In general, I'm not a fan of screen time for Noah, but when we're flying, I'm perfectly fine with him watching videos (he loves viewing movies of himself), reading digital books, or playing games.  That being said, we're going to start with the more traditional entertainment methods first (see above), and make the iPhone or iPad our back-up plan.
    • Fly at nap time.  We're flying out in the afternoon, so it's quite possible that Noah will sleep for part of the flight.  More finger crossing happening!
    Fellow family fliers: What would you add to the list?

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