I’ve been rushing around like a mad woman in preparation for our family holiday.
Holidays can be daunting with young children, toddlers don’t like to sit still for long periods of time and there’s always the worry of an Inevitable toddler tantrum right at the worst moment….
Whilst I was thinking about how I am going to keep Bam Bam amused for a 5 hour flight, I wanted to share some tips for travelling with toddlers should you be preparing for your first toddler holiday too.
Plan your flight in intervals
Things don’t always go to plan, but having a plan in place will help you keep sane and focused. Break your flight down into intervals. The take off/landing, when you may try for their nap, activity time, food time, toilet breaks etc. If you don’t stick to it, it’s not a big deal. But if you’ve got a plan to hand it’ll help you to organise better.
Reschedule nap time
If you can plan your flight to co-inside with nap time then that’s great! Rescheduling a nap so they are sleepy for the flight can be easier to plan.
Pre-book your seat and board as late as possible
Don’t rush to your seat! Being the first on a plane will only prolong the time you have to keep your toddler seated in a small place. Pre-booking your seat where possible will help you avoid a rush onto the plane. Alternatively, if you are travelling with another adult, get them to board first and sort out the seats for you to join a little later.
Bring their PJ’s
Changing your child into their PJ’s after the seatbelt light has turned off is another good way to settle them and helps them to relax.
Don’t forget a pillow and comfortable blanket
Following on from the PJ’s, taking a blanket and pillow will help them settle, and if they are under 2 and sitting on your lap, you will find it easier to lay their head on the pillow instead of trying to cradle them the whole time.
Equalise ear pressure during take off and landing
Try to keep your toddler awake during this period if possible. The change in pressure inside the cabin can hurt your toddler’s ears and be upsetting for them. Make sure you have something for them to drink and encourage them to take a sip regularly until the pressure equalises. Alternatively, if they are reluctant to drink, try getting them to yawn. Pretending to yawn yourself will encourage them to imitate you. Pacifiers work well too if your toddler uses one.
Give your toddler their own responsibilities
Getting their teddy ready for the flight or having their own mini backpack to organise and carry will help your toddler to focus on something and keep their attention. Toddlers love to be in charge of something.
Make a visit to the pound store before your travels and pick up some inexpensive toys. Wrap them up and present your toddler with gifts at regular intervals throughout the flight. Make sure you wrap them up well so it takes a bit of time to open them!
Make a Mini Photo Album
Fill a photo album with pictures of your toddler, your family, pets, your house…. Anything that is familiar to them and go through it with them. Asking them about the pictures and making sure there are plenty of pictures of them is a great way to keep them amused. You can even add brochure pictures of the place you are visiting and talk to them about what they will see on the holiday.
Plenty of Activities And Keep Changing Them
Try to keep your toddlers attention by presenting them with a new activity before the last one is completely boring. Hopefully this will help to eliminate the in between period when your toddler can get upset.
Avoid toys/activites that involve lots of pieces that might go everywhere! Some activities you can try: Travel Etch-a-Sketch, playdough and sticker books are a good place to start.
Don’t worry if it all goes wrong
Of course with toddler’s, as much as you plan and plan, things don’t always go the way you hope. Sometimes you just can’t avoid a meltdown, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t worry about upsetting other passengers, just do the best you can. Most people who have had children have been in your shoes and will be understanding, or if they are yet to have children, they have it all to come! All that matters is that you are doing the best you can.