Is there anything more terrifying than the thought of being caught in a confined space with a crying baby or toddler for a few hours? Now imagine adding in a group of strangers staring at your major parenting fail? There wasn’t another vacation detail that stressed me more than flying with the littles for the first time. Luckily, there are a few tips and ideas that can help you defend yourself (at least a little bit) from those tiny dictators while midair!
- Book a flight either very early in the morning or late in the evening. Think 6 o’clock in the morning or 8 o’clock in the evening. This increases your chances of the Dole Whips falling asleep after the novelty of being on the plane wears off. I have found that these flights tend to be more inexpensive as well.
- Give yourself extra time at the airport. We all know that it’s a gamble getting anywhere important and everything going perfectly. Give yourself time to deal with the little who only wants to jump on the red squares on the carpet, or the little one who has a new fascination with water fountains, or has to take that 5th bathroom break. Also, give yourself time to get it together. Sippy cups…lovies…snacks, give yourself time to think.
- Dress everyone in layers, airports and airplanes can be freezing one moment and stifling the next. Make sure everyone has on shoes that are easy to take off and put on.
- Don’t insist on the kids sitting down while waiting to board. Let them move around and explore a bit. An airport is exciting stuff and it will help with the fact that they will be confined for the next few hours.
- Make everyone use the bathroom before boarding! NO EXCEPTIONS!
- Make sure you have extras of the serious stuff: diapers, wipes, pull ups, snacks and drinks. Any delays, re-routes or extended waits and you will be covered. Also bring extra Ziploc bags, they are perfect for anything stinky, wet or barfy!
- Keep the littles occupied by offering them a busy bag filled with stuff they have never seen before! Inexpensive items like play-doh, stickers, crayons, notepads, small toys or puzzles. Be sure to be keep this busy bag and present a new magical item when you feel the need! Dazzle those little dictators!
- Load a new movie or two on your tablet or phone. If you bring a portable DVD player, rent some or borrow some from the library. The trick is to make it something they have never seen before!
- The greatest and most terrible tip I use in a jam…a naughty, usually not allowed snack. For my Dole Whips this would be Ring Pops, Lucky Charms and juice! Bribe them into submission! In our defense, lollipops and gum help with the ear pressure thing, so don’t be too hard on yourself!
- Lastly, don’t lose your cool if your Little Dole Whip is just not a happy aviator. If you are headed to Disney, most of these flights are filled with littles and someone is bound to cry. It happens and it’s not the end of the world. Most people understand and sympathize as long as they see that you are attempting to calm your kiddo down.
Hugs and Pixie Dust!