Air travel with toddlers can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Most people have experienced waiting to board an airplane while a toddler is running by screaming. The parents are chasing him and they look like they have much less energy compared to the loads of energy the toddler has. Maybe the toddler is usurping all of the energy from the parents? Meanwhile, the people waiting to board the plane are secretly hoping the family with the toddler isn’t sitting anywhere near them on the plane.
Air Travel With Toddlers
If you are the parent of a toddler, you know how difficult and embarrassing a toddler’s tantrum can be. Here are some tips to help make air travel with a toddler much easier so the people around you aren’t dreading sitting next to you on the plane.
What do Toddler’s Need
As children begin to take those first few steps, they instantly enter the world of “toddler”. The toddler term encompasses children from the age of one up until the age of three. It is a very critical stage of development where the toddler begins to solve problems, relate to others, use and understand language, walk, climb, run, and many other skills. The toddler is also learning to become independent while still depending on Mom and Dad.
This is why toddlers often have difficulties while they are growing and changing in this stage. They may experience a number of tantrums because they are beginning to assert themselves, challenge authority, define themselves as separate people, and are beginning to express their own ideas and desires. This time can be filled with many difficulties for parents and for children. This is definitely the time where a toddler may stand up in his seat on the airplane, much to the chagrin of his parents and scream, “I want out now!”
Educate Yourself About Toddler Development
It is critically important for parents to understand the need for toddlers to experience this stage. Parents must do research and learn as much as they can about toddler development in order to better equip themselves with the ability to handle their child through this stage- whether on an airplane or not.
Learning specific techniques like offering options to a toddler can help alleviate a number of tantrums. Also welcoming the toddler’s need to do things his or her way as often as possible can lesson the number of tantrums, even in small spaces like an airplane.
Activities For Airplane Fun
Once educated about toddler development and armed and ready with a few tricks of the trade, prepare yourself for the trip. Plan on pulling together a large bag of activities and items, such as those listed below, before boarding the plane.
- The sick bag has many different uses that you may not have thought of.
- Pack crayons and use them to decorate the sick bags with your child- then instantly turn them into puppets.
- Next you are ready for a puppet show that will entertain not only you and your child, but also other children who are sitting nearby.
- Pipe cleaners can really be a lot of fun, so include them in your bag. They come in a number of different colors and can bend into numerous shapes, such as flowers, lions, cats, dogs, etc. Transform your pipe cleaners into all kinds of different items and then play with your newly created toys.
- Finger puppets are great source of entertainment and are also an excellent toy for language development. Purchase a large number of finger puppets to play with both on the plane and at home. It is amazing how many different types of finger puppets are available which can lead to creative play.
- Toddlers love to play with stickers for long periods of time. Purchase your child’s favorite characters or animals and a sticker board to place the stickers on.
- There are many different types and colors of play dough available in small containers, which are easy for traveling. Toddlers love to squish the play dough in their hands and form small balls. This can take up a lot of time and it is great for sensory development.
- Bring along a number of Lift-the-Flap books, as toddlers are often interested in taking the time to see what is inside the flap.
- Wrap some small toys for your child. He will have fun opening the “present” while on the plane and then he has new toys to play with that will keep him busy for a long period of time.
- Take your child’s favorite snacks along with you, as a hungry toddler can be an unhappy toddler. Consider bringing snacks with less sugar and instead, provide more healthy options to keep him on an even keel.
- If you can, have your child sit in the window seat. Toddlers like looking out the window, putting the shade up and down, putting the seat belt on and off, and putting the tray table up and down. It is amazing how much time toddlers will spend doing these simple activities.
Though it is never easy traveling with a toddler on an airplane, these activities will make the trip a lot less problematic. Plan on being busy offering these options to your child throughout the entire plane ride. Though exhausting, it is well worth it and it will make traveling a lot more fun for the whole family and for those sitting next to you. Remember all of these activities and items are also great for entertaining your child when you arrive at your destination. Air travel with toddlers doesn’t have to be a challenge, you just need to prepare for it.