I was always scared to travel on a plane with my son, when he was younger. Then when he turned 1, I felt more comfortable and decided to give it a try. We have now gone on two trips. We first went to Florida and then to San Francisco. I really prepared for each trip, by asking more experienced mothers for their advice and researching as much as I could. I didn’t expect to be stuck in an airport and airplane for 16 hours, when our airline experienced bad weather, circled in the air for hours, took us on and off the plane, and finally at 11pm at night canceled our connecting flight and landed us in a different state without a place to stay. (Thanks American Airlines).
I always try to find the positive in these experiences and what I am thankful for is how well my son did through all of this, with only 1 episode of Daniel Tiger. These are the things that saved the day and I hope they help you too.
- The Buckle Toy This toy consumed a good chunk of time on the plane. He loved working on the buckles. At first I helped him, but now he can do it on his own and it helped him identify colors too. We still use this every car ride and at restaurants too.
- Reusable sticker pads-These sticker pads took an hour of the plane ride. He was so excited about them. You definitely have to help with them, but I would just ask him which one he wanted and peel a little part of it and he peeled off the rest and put it on the page. It was fun for me too and made the time pass quickly.
- The Quiet Book- I pulled this one out when we finally got on our connecting flight. This one was really exciting for him, but definitely be ready to help. There are so many different pages with different challenges for children, from matching colors and shapes, to zippering to tying a shoelace. I think its good to try to have them focus on one thing as long as they can before turning the page, to buy some time.
4. Mini Post-it Notes- He loved peeling these one at a time and putting them on the back of the tray table.
- 8 Piece Tegu Blocks-These are my favorite toy! Even strangers sitting next to us on the plane joined in to play with them. You can get so creative with them and my son loved playing with them on the plane, just be ready for them to fall down a bit. We still take them to every restaurant we go to.
- Magnetic Racer Building Block Set- I feel like this little racecar driver or “little man” as we called him has become family. Once we showed him to our son, we had to check at all times that he was with us. He strolled fast through the airport with us, as we almost missed our flight. He went down the slide at the playground with us and now he still hangs out with us when we go on strolls or new adventures around our town.
- Snacks!!! Definitely bring snacks that your child loves and some they have never seen before. These are my son’s favorites. Also bring your own water bottle with water from home and security will let you go through with it. They just check it.
Cherry Lara Bars
Jackson’s Honest Chips-Especially the purple chips and the tortilla ones. We love that they are cooked in coconut oil.
Almond Flour Crackers
Dried cherries, mango, raisins, and figs from Trader Joes
- A New Exciting Book-Bring a book they have never seen before about a topic they love. My son loves the moon so he was really into this one.
9. Sticker Activity Books- You definitely have to help with these, but they are very educational and I learned a lot from them too. These stickers are not reusable, so with a toddler, you definitely have to keep an eye on this book. We definitely had stickers all over our hotel room by the end of the trip but this book was a life saver.
- Headphones: Just in case you need to put a show on. I didn’t want to disrupt the whole plane, by playing it out loud and sometimes it can be loud being in a plane. My son took a bit to get used to these. He didn’t like them on the first trip to Florida, so I had him try them at home before our trip to San Francisco and he was ready to wear them on the plane. He honestly watched only 1 show, though.
I’d love to hear things that helped you with flying with your kiddos. Happy Travels!!