Airplanes and Toddlers
"We're getting on an airplane, buddy! We are going to fly up in the sky, like the airplanes that we see going over our house. It's going to be soooo fun! Let's pick a seat." I say to my almost 2-year-old boy as we board our flight.
We ask a man if we can squeeze past him. I know people love Southwest, and I do like many things about the company, but I also hate it. It's so awkward to me that you have to choose your seat. I feel like there are strange rules and expectations, a certain etiquette that people expect and adding a toddler into the mix... Well, I adore toddlers (especially my own) but I know that there are some people who would prefer not to fly next to one. The man we asked to let us in was apparently one of them, as revealed when he soon grabbed his things and found another seat.
Flying with our son is not entirely a new experience for us. He flew several times in the first year of his life, but we didn't travel as much in his 2nd year. We went a whole 10 months without getting on an airplane, and in that time he turned into a full blown busy boy! I knew this was going to be a new experience, attempting to keep him content for a whole 5 hours sitting in our laps. The boy likes to run, and dance, and make loud noises, and go outside.
He often surprises me in these new situations, adapting like a champ; still, I prepare myself for the worst (while hoping for the best). I prepared this time by filling a bag with what I will call my survival pack! Since it really did help, I thought I'd share...
OUR AIRPLANE SURVIVAL PACK
- SNACKS - Nobody wants to fly with a hungry toddler! I brought pouches, fruit leather, fruit snacks, and pretzels. I also brought an empty cup and filled it up with beverages provided on the flight.
- NEW BOOK: I love any excuse for a new book. I purchased one for our little guy about airplanes. He loves watching planes and this was the first flight that he's really understood we were ON one. Giving him a book about it seemed like a great memory marker. The one I got is called Planes and is a Usborne: Lift and Look book (with flaps to explore hidden areas). It was great because it shows people getting on the plane, workers loading luggage (which we watched them do out the window), etc. It helped us talk about what we were experiencing and now when he reads it he remembers when we flew. He really enjoys looking for the little blue bird that is hidden behind a flap on all the pages. (I know Usborne has online parties all the time, but I'm not really into that. I bought ours at a store called Brilliant Sky and apparently you can also order on Amazon.)
- NEW small TOY: I wanted something new for him to be enamored with, but I wanted it to be a sure thing! He always really enjoys playing with Thomas the Tank Engine at our doctor's office and at a toy store we frequently explore, but we hadn't given him any of his own yet. I knew opening one of his own on the plane would be an exciting thing for him, and I was right. He loved it and played with it for a good while.
- NEW flat TOY: I was at our favorite toy and book store and saw a magnet board by imaginetics called Ridin' the Rails. It opens up to be about 16 inches wide and is about 7 inches tall and includes 12 magnets of trains and train related things. I thought it would be a great compainion to his new Thomas. The tracks are just the right size. He spent a good bit of time playing with the magnets and driving Thomas on its tracks. (I left the smaller magnets put away so we didn't lose anything.)
- NO MESS COLORING SUPPLIES: This boy LOVES to color, paint, draw, etc. It's only natural as he always sees me doing it. The problem is, it can get messy messy and that is NOT a good idea on an airplane. Crayola to the rescue! They have a line of markers called "Color Wonder - Mess Free Markers" that are just perfect for such times. The markers only color on special paper. He likes Minions so I got him this set.
- iPad VIDEOS: His favorite show is Daniel Tiger, so I made sure to download some episodes on Amazon Video. (They are free to Prime members.) He also is very into tools, so I downloaded some Bob the Builder. Daniel Tiger is a spin off of Mr. Rogers, which he had never seen, so I downloaded some of that as well.
- HEADPHONES: We got him a pair of headphones made especially for small children. He loves them soooo much and will be able to use them for quite a while. They really were a great investment. They have a noise reducing component to protect small ears (though the airplane was so noisy, we had to take it off for the flight). NOTE: We also took a splitter so that if we wanted to watch/listen with him we could.
- iPad GAMES: I have a few games on my iPad that are just for him. One called Phone4Kids is always a hit. There is a free version that has about 10 "games" included, including coloring. We've had this game on our phones and iPad for a while and he always wants to unlock the 24 extra games you can pay for. I recently decided to go ahead and do that on the iPad and he's really enjoyed the extra games, especially one that races cars. He also really enjoys Peekaboo Barn. Both of these he has used a little bit since he was a year old and has grown into them more as he's grown.
Have you flown with a toddler? What was in your survival pack? Any other tips or tricks?
flying adventures with our almost 2 year old...