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How To Keep Toddlers Happy On a Plane

Are you planning to take a trip in the near future with your toddler? A quick flight may not be that bad, but when flying long distances, especially internationally, your toddler is likely to become restless. After all, some of these flights can last 10+ hours! 

After you have packed up all your luggage, made all the necessary arrangements, and you’re ready to head to the airport, suddenly you’re questioning how to keep your baby occupied mid-flight. Obviously, a few travel-friendly toys your toddler hasn’t seen can be one quick method. Below are some tips on things you can take to keep your kids interest. Best of all, they will not get lost, break or be expensive. 

  • Seat Choice

You will want a bulkhead seat if your flying with a baby that requires a baby bed; these armrests do not move. However, if you’re traveling with a toddler that uses your lap as a pillow, normal seats are best as the armrests can move. 

  • Bathroom

Let your toddler use the bathroom prior to boarding the plane. These bathrooms have much more room and cleaner compared to those on flights. Be sure to carry baby wipes just in case of messes, and be sure you can easily reach them. 

  • Ear Pressure

If your toddler is still bottle or breastfeeding, let them feed during takeoff and landing. This will help them stay calm as the air pressure changes and a relaxed baby makes a relaxed parent. 

If you have an older child, you can carry cotton balls or request earplugs when boarding for the child to wear during departure and landing. 

If you forget cotton or they do not have fresh earplugs, another option is to play a game that makes your child yawn. By yawning, the ears will pop and help reduce discomfort with the cabin pressure changes. 

  • Bottle Heating

You may ask the crew to heat a baby bottle; if so, be sure to check the temperature before giving it to the child. Flight attendants are often very busy, and most in Economy Class are young and may not know what temperature it should be. 

Remember, while most crew members are willing and helpful, it’s always best to check the bottle temperature yourself. 

  • Food

Bring snacks for your toddlers, such as juice, water, biscuits, or other healthy snacks. Raisins are another good option as they keep the child occupied while eating. Do not count on the airline snacks alone, as it is common for them to run out during long flights.

  • Health 

If your toddler is not feeling good or has a cold, a flight can be a horrible experience during takeoff and landing. It is best to speak with a doctor before leaving to ensure it is safe and will not damage their eardrums.

  • Books

If your child enjoys reading or having you read to them, take their favorite books and a couple new ones. If they enjoy coloring, throw some crayons and coloring books in or an iPod with their favorite stories or music. 

Another option is to carry a tablet if you have one, as they can usually keep a toddler occupied for a long time. Be sure it has the shows they like, and then give them full control over what they choose to watch, and you can control how much they watch by setting the timing on the video entertainment, so they play educational games too. 

  • Trash

Ask for a plastic bag or carry one to place your trash in. It helps your area stay clean, reduces the work on flight attendants, and fragrance bags help cover smells of dirty diapers. 

  • Extra Clothes

It is always a good idea to be sure there is an extra change of clothes in reach just in case of any accidents or spills. 

  • Games

Depending on your toddler, bring the type of games they enjoy to keep them occupied. If they like handheld video games, you may consider bringing that and a few game options. If they are familiar with games on a tablet or smartphone, let them play. 

  • Activity Book

Copy various activity workbooks you can give your child during the flight to keep them busy and easily toss out after the flight. That way, you do not have to carry a book around the entire trip. 

  • White Board Markers

If you are fine with carrying a book or binder around, fill it with the activity pages. Place plastic sleeves over each page, and let your child use whiteboard markers to complete them. This allows you to easily erase them, and they can do them again during the return flight. 

  • Window Clings

Help your toddler have fun and remain calm with window clings. They come in various shapes, sizes, letters, numbers, you name it. You can get the ones you prefer and book your child a window seat so they can have a canvas the entire flight!

This can help them with getting used to looking outside the window, so they are not scared of flying.

  • I Spy Books

I Spy is a popular family-friendly game often played on road trips, but it can be used during flights too. You can bring I Spy books for your child or simply play it with them using things around the cabin. 

These are just some low-cost ideas that can help you keep your little one calm during a long flight. A happy child will make the experience better for you and everyone around you too!