January 23, 2014
Flying with Small Children
We have flown on two longer trips with our girls now. The first time was a cross-country trip to Florida (with connecting flights) when we had twin 18-month olds sitting on our laps and the second time was last summer at almost 3 years old to Hawaii (connecting flights again).
Let's just start out being honest and say that a long flight with one year olds on your lap is going to be a challenge and you just have to get thru it. I have no idea about traveling with an infant because we didn't do it, but I think that would actually be easier than a young toddler. They are just so busy. Flying with kids over the age of two is much better! On our trip to Hawaii I was able to actually watch a movie AND read a book! It still pays to be prepared though. Here are the things that made the time during the flight easier.
1. Snacks! Pick things that are not messy and take some time to eat. We try to bring some old favorites plus a few new snacks for fun. Our favorites: raisins, dry cereal, kids Z bars or granola bars, fruit snacks, mixed nuts, string cheese, small suckers (for take-off and landing), goldfish or cheddar bunnies, sliced fruit and squeeze applesauce pouches.
2. Clean Art Fun. Sticker books (Amazon has the DK Ultimate Sticker Books in every imaginable character, animal and sport), Mini coloring books with triangle crayons (we stored these in a little zipper pencil pouch) and Wiki Stix.
3. TV and Movies. Depending on the airline and flight, most have tv screens in the headrests to watch for free or for a small fee. The fee is worth it! When we flew to Hawaii we paid for the Alaska Air DigiPlayer that they rent on the flight and the girls watched the cartoons and kid movies that were available. Now we have a tablet so would probably bring that instead. You will needto bring headphones. We love these ones from Kidz Gear. They are still going strong after countless road trips out of town to visit family.
4. Trinket Toys. Pack a small zipper bag with little trinket toys - the birthday party goodie bag/ fast food kids meal/ dollar store variety. I actually have a bag of this stuff in a cabinet that I save just for travel. Toddlers will spend a long time entertaining themselves taking all the little toys out of the bag and piling them in their lap (or lining up on the tray table), playing little games with them and then putting them all back in. The best part is that you don't care if you lose a few along the way.
A&Z loved carrying their snacks, water bottle, a few small books and toys mentioned above in their little backpacks and it was nice to keep it all organized.