Flying With a Toddler: 7 Simple Tips to Stay Sane on the Plane

Flying with a toddler can be a handful, not just for you and your child, but for the childless passengers surrounding you. However, being in an airplane does not have to be a struggle. In fact, it can actually be an adventure for you and your kid, without inconveniencing the people around you. Consider the following seven strategies to make your flight a smooth transition for you and your little one.
Don't worry, the flight doesn't have to be the nightmare you're envisioning. Just use these 7 simple tips.

Photo: Dmitry Travnikov
Photo: Dmitry Travnikov

1. Establish expectations about behavior

Before you get on the flight, make it clear what kind of behavior you expect. Let your toddler know that it is challenging to sit still for so many hours, but if they can for the whole trip, it makes them a big boy or girl. When they get antsy, remind them about all the fun things you’ll do when you land.

2. Get organized as soon as you board the plane

The moment you get in your seat, put everything you need in accessible places. By knowing where to grab things quickly, you won’t have to frantically look for whatever your child wants or needs. An airplane tray organizer can be helpful for this.

3. Use surprise gifts to reward good behavior

Pick up some toys from the local dollar store and wrap them up. Reward your toddler with one of these mystery gifts for every hour or so where they behave. He or she will make every attempt at following your rules if there is an added incentive.

4. Let them stretch their legs

After remaining in your seat for so long, both you and your toddler will need to stretch. When the seatbelt sign is off, carry your little one down the aisles. He or she will feel like a superstar from all the attention the passengers will give them.

5. Maintain familiar routines

Let your toddler snuggle up with you when they need a nap. Stick to your toddler’s normal bedtime as much as you can. Bring their favorite stuffed animal and even their pajamas if you think it will make them more comfortable on the flight. Reading them a bedtime story or singing a familiar lullaby as they fall to sleep may even win over the hearts of those sitting around you.

6. Minimize airplane ear

Before the flight takes off, and even when it lands, toddlers need help clearing their ears to minimize pressure. A bottle or a pacifier will work. Milk has also been said to ease ear pressure.

7. Keep drinks and snacks at hand

Staying hydrated by getting plenty of fluids and having a snack or fruits to eat is always important. There is nothing worse for a toddler than feeling hungry and having to wait to fill their belly.

Don’t worry – flying with a toddler doesn’t have to be a nightmare

For those unprepared, flying with a toddler can be a frustrating experience, if not an uncomfortable one. Using the suggestions above will ease your child into making the trip a pleasant journey, instead of the flight from hell.

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Don't worry, the flight doesn't have to be the nightmare you're envisioning. Just use these 7 simple tips.

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