Traveling to another country with a toddler in tow can be an adventure in itself. There can be a combination of excitement and anxiety especially for us moms as we prepare for the long haul flight. How can we make the experience less stressful and more enjoyable for us and for our child? Well, I have listed down some tips that have helped me manage my toddler during our 13-hour flight to Rome.
It is important to book a flight that is somehow consistent with your LO’s sleeping pattern. It is best to book a red-eye flight (night flight that arrives in the morning/following day of the desired location), that way the adjustment towards time differences as well as the horrors of crying and uneasiness during the long flight is somehow addressed. Remember, as you prepare your LO for the day of the flight, it is best to slowly adjust their sleeping pattern. Distribute their nap time and play time in order to achieve your desired sleeping time in accordance with your upcoming flight.
Also, it is best to read on rules and regulations of your airline when traveling with a toddler. Some airline may require you to bring a car seat or a travel harness that is FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) approved while some allows you to book that priority seat as they provide a bassinet and a seatbelt.
As you prepare to board your flight, make sure LO is extra tired that day. YEP, extra tired. Consider your nap time and play time in order to achieve that “relaxed” 13-hour flight. It is best to be extra prepared on the day of the flight and have some physical activities that he/she can do at the airport before boarding that flight. Have them explore the airport – play the “I spy” game and have your LO walk or run around. Prepare some action cards or songs that they can do and follow, let your child do it fast or slow! Think of different ways how to release that extra energy before boarding your flight!
Also, put in mind that before boarding your flight, make all the necessary diaper and outfit changes. This also helps you to be extra relaxed instead of cramping inside that small lavatory inside the plane (you know what I mean).
Always consider wearing comfortable clothes for you and your LO, Momma! It is important to consider the fact that both of you will be going inside that small lavatory for a diaper change. Be mindful on how to make both of your diaper changing moments extra easy. Moms, best to wear comfortable joggers or leggings & a comfortable top/sweater that will allow you to move around freely. For your little ones, consider the temperature inside the airplane and the destination that you will be going to. I find it helpful that my child wore loose joggers as it made diaper changing easier!
Prepare your LO’s snacks in small quantities placed in small zip-locks. It saves you the space & saves you from wasting that good ol’ snack! It’s best to bring a variety of snacks, too, in case he/she doesn’t like the airplane food. Have in mind that finger snacks should be easy to clean and wipe away as you wouldn’t want those sticky hands messing around.
On the side note, it is important that you let your child eat a proper meal before boarding your flight (most especially if you are to board on a red-eye flight). That way, if he/she sleeps through the flight, you wouldn’t have to worry about your LO getting irritated and hungry. Better to prepare your child’s milk bottles too before take-off and landing. You can request for warm water from your stewardess/steward or if you have prepared your milk bottle beforehand, some airlines allow you to have your bottles warmed up.
Sometimes, you really can’t control your LO being extra fussy during a long flight. There may be times when you both need to walk around. Feel free to do so if the seatbelt sign is turned off. But, it is important to be prepared with new toys to play with, new books to read and even new videos to watch. Finger puppets; fidget toys; small alphabet, number, animal flashcards; tear-proof or board books are at the top of my list. This also helped entertain my LO for quite some time as these were all new to her eyes. She enjoyed playing with her new toys that allowed us to be extra relaxed for a while.
Need I say more? As a mom, we wouldn’t want our LO’s getting sick most especially when you’re on a vacation. It is okay to be extra safe when traveling! Best to pack some anti-bacterial wipes (Lysol) where you can use on almost anything! (airport chairs & handles, tables and changing station). Mini Lysol spray which I used on the airport and airplane’s changing station. Small baby wipes to wipe off those sticky hands before and after eating and hand sanitizer for babies as they would like to touch almost anything – one tip is to read the ingredients of the hand sanitizer that is best suited for your child’s needs. Small baby soap to use for washing your baby’s bumbum and hands during the flight. Facemask for babies – better to ask your Pediatrician’s advice regarding this, as some doesn’t allow small kids to wear facemasks just yet. You can also purchase a wearable UV/Plasma Sterilizer and Happy Noz patches for that extra safety against Covid-19, these two are considered to help prevent the virus from spreading.
All these may or may not work with your child, but it is important to let them experience the flight and the trip. Allow your child to understand the situation by letting them watch videos of airports, airplanes and even your destination. You can explain to your LO how everything works in the airport and even inside the airplane in order to gain more understanding, and you’d be surprised as to how they act and react excitedly when they’re actually there!
Another important tip: ENJOY! Let this be a fulfilling experience for you, your little one and your family. It may not be the best 13-hour flight but let the experience be your guide for your next travel! Happy trip, mommies and daddies!