After flying with newborns and toddlers, I can say without a doubt that the age range of 12 to 18 months is the most challenging. Flying with a toddler necessitates patience and proper expectations. This article will provide you with the skills necessary to not only survive a flight with a toddler but to exclaim, “That was so much better than I thought.”traveling with a 2 year old on a plane
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Here Are Some Traveling With A 2 Year Old On A Plane You Should Know
This is a common question I get about how to occupy a toddler on a plane, and it comes in many different forms:
“How can I occupy my one-year-old on a flight?”
“Does anyone have any suggestions for keeping an active 14-month-old occupied on a flight?”
“Help! A long flight with a rambunctious youngster… Please provide me all of your recommendations.”
Sounds familiar, right? Who hasn’t looked for tips on travelling with a toddler when planning a trip with them?
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I usually respond by sharing our favorite baby and toddler airplane activities. But it has finally dawned on me that this is insufficient. Why?
image of the finest aviation toys for toddlers
Because a few activity recommendations aren’t going to give a nervous parent the confidence they need to survive that long journey with a toddler…
That they can come out [just half] unhurt on the other side.
Let’s get one thing straight: this isn’t a post about toddler airplane activities.
If you’re seeking for specific activities to keep your child occupied on a flight, you can find them all in the above-mentioned aircraft travel toys for toddlers post or in these toddler travel toys lists:
Toddler Travel Toys Without Screens
Travel Toys for 1 Year Olds
Travel Toys for 2 Year Olds
This article focuses on toddler behavior, specifically what to expect on a flight with a toddler and how to survive air travel with toddlers.
Tips for flying with toddlers
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So why am I addressing toddler flying techniques specifically? When it comes to flying, babies and toddlers have very different requirements.
Babies do not move around. They aren’t throwing tantrums or climbing over the seats. Warm milk might help lull babies to sleep more easily (see more of our tips for flying with a baby).
Toddlers, on the other hand, are quite unique. They wish to relocate. They want to go on adventures. They know exactly what they want and aren’t hesitant to say so (or scream it at the top of their lungs).
It might be terrifying as a parent to have to keep your toddler in one seat for the entirety of a journey.
Taking a flight with a toddler
Our Knowledge Traveling with a Child
My kids had a short attention span for movies or games on the iPad until they were about 2.5 years old, and I can attest to that. Even though I limited TV viewing at home, it wasn’t enough to keep our kid entertained for the whole of the flight.
When it comes to long-haul flights with toddlers, I never thought I’d wish for them to be addicted to screens, but that’s precisely what I’m hoping for.
Every child is now unique in this regard. My daughter’s eyes were sealed shut at 2.5 years old, while my son is still missing. Some shows, such as Little Baby Bum, work better than others, but he has a 20-minute attention span on average (and it was much less at 12-18 months).
What does this signify for our toddler’s flight? It means I’ll have to spend a lot more time on the plane attempting to keep our child occupied while yet being content in his seat.
Traveling via flying with a child
Getting Ready for a Long-Distance Flight with Toddlers
So, how can you survive a flight with a toddler when screen time is simply an intermittent distraction?
The following is the key to flying with toddlers:
The trick to getting through this is to manage your expectations and to cycle through all of your toddler’s airplane activities frequently.
Toy planes for toddlers
Let’s begin with your objectives. You should go into this knowing that you will be entertaining your toddler the entire time you are on a plane with a child.
You will be disappointed if you plan on getting on that plane, setting up an iPad for your child, and then starting your own movie. Anything better than this is a bonus if you get on that flight with the appropriate expectations. It’s possible that your toddler will surprise you.
This next portion will be exhausting, and I hope you have someone to share it with or that you can get your child to sleep on the flight, but if not, remember that the flight is such a SMALL part of your trip.
We even took our 14-month-old on a 12-hour flight to prove that I know what I’m talking about. He detested being held and was in the midst of a scream-fest. We only managed to sleep for 1 hour and 45 minutes during the entire flight.
Does this sound like a nightmare? It wasn’t as horrible as it seemed. We spent a lot of time trying to get him to sleep, and in the back of the plane, I got to know the flight attendants and some other parents very well, and we arrived in Japan tired but ready to explore.
So here’s how the next section works…
Some individuals swear by bringing their child packaged gifts. This is something I’ve never done before. I’m not sure I’ll ever accomplish it. It’s not that I don’t believe it’s a good concept; I’m simply not that organized. After all, it’s only a matter of having a lot of small distractions to flip between.
aircraft activities for toddlers
Bring a variety of activities (don’t overdo it; just plan to have a number of small ones, such as iPad apps, movies, toddler airplane foods, stickers, coloring, and so on), then repeat with whatever extra amusement you can think of along the way.
Play with a plastic bottle/lid (a favorite of mine), give your child the remote (on extremely old airplanes), find a willing partner to play peek-a-boo with, or let them play with the menu/safety card. The goal is to be inventive while maintaining a high level of enthusiasm. You’ll make it through.
how to keep a toddler occupied on a plane
A Normal Flight with a Child
A typical flight with our child looks like this:
We board the plane, and he’s ecstatic! He wants to play with and touch everything. I let him (at least within the confines of our seat). When the seat belt light comes on, I amuse him with the iPad or a snack in a spill-proof snack cup while we take off.
Then, until the lunch arrives, we simply rotate through the activities (which provides another distraction). We try to get him to sleep after the meal has been cleared.
Getting a toddler to sleep on an airplane isn’t always easy or successful, but we keep trying. Even if we duplicate our typical bedtime routine, this can take up to an hour, but he will ultimately fall asleep. We even bring a white noise machine with us to help block out noise and keep him sleeping!
Then it’s back to rotating through things till we land once he’s awake.
On the plane, a toddler sleeps
There’s a lot of sobbing and tantrums in there. Getting the seat belt on and keeping him from unbuckling it is sometimes a challenge, especially if the flight is turbulent.
Remember to check out our articles on the Best Toddler Travel Bed and Toddler Travel Essentials!
Flying with Toddlers: Some Tips
If I were to give some advice on flying with toddlers, these are the things that have worked (or not) for us:
1. Save your most effective diversions for when you actually need them!
Is it only me that refuses to tell my kid that we can walk up and down the aisle? I never let on that we can walk up and down the aisle, aside from taking my freshly potty trained toddler to the airplane toilet.
What motivates me to accomplish this? One, so I don’t have to do it for the entire flight. Two, so I have a truly unique distraction in case I require it.
2. Prepare for outbursts from your kid.
I attempt to anticipate what can trigger a tantrum and make plans for dealing with toddler tantrums on the fly. For example, I know that takeoff and landing are the most difficult parts, so I prepare a fun snack and an activity for when the seat belt light comes on.
3. Cycle through some entertaining toddler airplane activities.
We share sample activities that our kids have enjoyed at each stage in our toddler travel toys post (linked above). This is our beginning point, and we alter based on what our children are most interested in at the time.
We’ll acquire a Paw Patrol Color Wonder book if kids like Paw Patrol. At home, we play games and watch movies. Because our kids enjoy reading, the Epic! digital library app is a perfect alternative to cartoons – simply download some Read To Me books to your iPad before taking off.
Our two-year-old loves trucks, so we downloaded the Trucks & Diggers app, which he enjoys. Before you leave, make sure everything works. Allow them to try out the apps.
Do you lack the time to plan toddler plane activities? KeepEmQuiet offers activity bundles for toddlers that include both entertainment and snacks.
On an airplane, illustration of toddler travel toys
4. Allow your child to play initially.
I’ve attempted to get him to sleep too early to keep to our routine and failed terribly. I’ve learnt that waiting at least an hour is preferable (unless he’s exhausted and falls asleep on his own). I believe this happened before?).
Allow the food and beverage service to complete so that everyone is settled and there are less distractions. This was our best shot at lulling him to sleep.
These inflatable airplane beds for toddlers will provide plenty of space for your child to play, eat, and sleep.
5. Experiment with several methods for getting your toddler to sleep on the plane.
Make sure your child gets some exercise in the airport and has time to explore his new surroundings on the plane. You want him to be tired, but not too exhausted, and sleepy.
kid running around an airport
We’ve attempted to encourage him to lay down when it’s time to sleep (on an overnight flight) by telling him constantly, “head down, time to sleep,” and not engaging with him otherwise. This has always worked, but it takes a long time and typically involves tears.
On our most recent flight, I placed the iPad in such a way that he had to lay down, which allowed him to relax on his own and eventually fall asleep. I don’t worry about naps on flights that aren’t overnight.
These airports are great for families! Perfect for getting your toddler’s energy out before the flight!
6. Bring an inflatable airline toddler bed or a travel car seat.
Whether you carry a car seat or an inflatable aircraft bed for toddlers, be prepared with the best option to keep your toddler entertained and let him sleep on the journey.
One of our all-time favorite toddler travel tricks is getting our kids to sleep on an inflated airplane toddler bed. We’ve used the Flyaway Kids Bed and the Fly Tot and were pleased with both. If those are out of your price range, consider these low-cost airplane travel beds.
Flyaway Kids Bed allows toddlers to sleep aboard planes (airplane bed for kids)
The Flyaway Kids Bed can be purchased directly from their website. If it’s out of stock, we recommend signing up for an alert to be told when it restocks so you don’t miss out.
7. Discuss the flight with your youngster.
We spent a lot of time talking to our toddler about being on an airplane before a flight. We discussed what would happen, what to expect, and what he needed to do with him. On the plane, we resumed these discussions with our child.
We discussed the seat belt lights, for example, numerous times. Every time it turned on or off, I would point it out. I inquired if it was on. I inquired as to what it meant. This made fastening the seat belt a lot easier.
I’d ask if the light was on or off as he attempted to remove his seatbelt, then explain what it meant again. We did this when he was almost two years old, and it worked. He sat down on our most recent flight and instantly requested his seatbelt (he even did this on a bus!).
8. Know when to seek assistance.
My hubby steps in when I’ve had enough. We switch kids because we have an older daughter. This allows us to maintain our good energy levels.
calming a toddler on a flight
More Advice for Traveling with Toddlers
We also reached out to other experienced parents in our Instagram community for advice on flying with toddlers. Here are their best travel advice for toddlers:
What is one item on your “Flying with Toddlers” checklist that you always remember?
Plenty of airline snacks for kids was the most popular response, followed by iPad, toy cars, toddler headphones, and a favorite stuffy or blanket.
“Not only for the toddler, but also for my husband and me,” she says. We connected our car seat (Diono Radian RXT) to a Magna Cart, strapped the kiddo (16 months) into the travel car seat, and wheeled her throughout the airport. We could take it down the plane’s aisle without her having to walk.
What to read next? I’ve got you!
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