With 5 cross-continental flights with kids under our belts, I’m one calm mom. Just kidding—I still google things like “HOW TO GET MY 3-YEAR-OLD TO FALL ASLEEP IN A SPACE ROUGHLY THE SIZE OF A SHOEBOX” AND “WHAT SMALL TOYS ARE GOOD FOR AIRPLANES THAT WON’T ROLL OFF THE TRAY 20 TIMES, MAKING ME QUESTION MY JUDGEMENT AS A PARENTS.” Pre-flight anxiety aside, you do learn things after flying a few times, and here are some tips from Fatherly that pass this frequent flyer’s test:
First, arrive even earlier than normal. Stopping to snack, visit the potty, change clothes after an unexpected accident, breastfeed, track down a lost lovey—all these time-wasters have happened to us, but it was no sweat because we arrived early!
Wrap up every toy you bring—it’ll buy you an extra minute of excitement as they unwrap it! Wikki Stix are a big favorite for us, along with toy foam from the dollar store, and retractable fabric measuring tape (one of our boys’ favorite toys, somehow).
Finally, don’t feel bad about bringing out the big bribes: treats and screentime. Long flights are no fun, and it’s okay to use things they really love to help get through them! We always pack a few emergency lollipops and download a few extra shows and apps—Toca Boca and Sago Mini apps are family-friendly and fun for toddlers to play and watch!
In the end, just remember that the flight will be over eventually, and you’ll be on to your next adventure. Keep the end goal in sight and be patient with your little one if they struggle in the unfamiliar environment.
—Give yourself plenty of time for last-minute emergencies!
—Know your kid, and bring toys and treats you know they’ll be the most excited for.
—Pack your patience!