Plane Trips with Toddlers

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Glasses with Sweet Cheeks

For those who are looking for general ideas as for flying with kids check out this post.

And for those looking for just some mental prep, read this post.

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Checking out our next plane

Toddlers can be tough to contain when flying.

Typically they aren’t nursing or taking a bottle and their energy level reaches the roof.

Embrace it my friend.

They are only that young once and really who cares what people think?!

Here are a few ways I found it best to entertain/contain/tire

my little toddler Sweet Cheeks.

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Chilling in their carseats

1. Walk, Run, Climb with Comfort Item

Have your toddler walk and explore a lot before he gets on the plane.

Whether it be a blanky, pacifier, fingers in the mouth or favorite stuffed animal, bring it along.

I would encourage you that this is not the time to break your tot of their comfort item.

You can thank me later.

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Media, sippy cups and blankets, what more can you want?

2. Drink anyone?

Pack an empty sippy cup and fill with water fountain water after you pass through TSA.

Every flight Sweet Cheeks was thirsty before the flight attendants made it down the aisle with the beverage cart.

Do yourself a favor and fill that sippy cup up!

On the descent, you can also use it as a way to help your tot adjust her ears.

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3. Distractions

For the first flight, Sweet Cheeks was sticking to me like glue.

During this new experience and unusual sensations (take-off, etc) I found it helpful

to distract Sweet Cheeks with this entertainment book.

And truth be told, I would have preferred a real hands-0n activity book

you know the ones where you can zip a zipper, tie shoes laces together?

I don’t have one, but I am on the prowl!

So if you know someone who makes those, let me know!

Another awesome tidbit is to buy cheap play dough (I bought ours at Target $1 stand) and bring it on the plane. Endless fun and opportunities! And if it gets grimy, throw it away!

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You never know, but she may fall asleep.

4. Do the best you can

And let’s be honest, a toddler’s mind is great at jumping to new ideas and getting tired of the old.

Enter, ice cubes and straws.

The flight attendant left us some ice cubes and Sweet Cheeks had a blast letting the ice drip through her fingers.

She loved to feed me the ice cubes too.

And I don’t mind that! I’ll take all the hydration I can get on the plane.

It can get messy, so ask for a couple extra napkins.

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Random pocketful shot

5. Snacks, snacks, snacks.

I am not a big junk food eater.

(Secret: I view Ritz crackers and goldfish as junk food.)

But for trips like this, I am all about filling up bellies.

Anything can be a toy, a protein bar wrapper, squeezable applesauce, you name it!

Just know that you need to have it in 3 oz or less pre-packaged bags and it’s best to stick it in a big ziploc for TSA.

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Selfie hiking

6. Electronic entertainment

Sweet Cheeks isn’t one to sit in front a screen and be entertained.

My older kids were frozen to the screen on all our flights, but not so with Sweet Cheeks.

If your little one does enjoy a show or movie, you can purchase and download at Amazon

And then download the app and put it on your iPad, iPhone and who knows what else!

Sweet Cheeks likes to play with my siri and just mess around with my phone.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So let go of guilt and do what you gotta do!

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Peek-a-boo

7. Socialize

This may seem silly but,

the friendlier and more smiley we were,

the easier we had it.

More people would interact with us and even offer to help.

There are still some great people out there

so don’t assume everyone is out to despise you and your extra loud toddler.

We were all kids once too!

I even had a non-English speaker take Sweet Cheeks and let me run to the bathroom alone!

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Pigtails is always a conversation starter!

8. Every day chores as Adventures

Speaking of bathroom, I would take Sweet Cheeks into the bathroom to change her diaper

and would make it a long drawn out occasion where we’d open every compartment

and make silly faces in those wretched looking, off-color mirrors.

We would wash our hands diligently and made sure to flush the toilet (even if it was a little too loud).

Side note: I will neither deny or confirm that I totally changed Sweet Cheeks’ diaper in the seat next to mine sometimes.

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Never underestimate the power of love.

9. Interact with your Tot

Seems simple but it’s really important to fill her love tank, right?

So sing songs with her,

practice hand motions,

play i-spy type games with your face features,

giggle, tickle and kiss her cheeks lots!

And of course snap a selfie.

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Keep your hopes alive, your toddler will fall asleep and quite possibly it may be on the kitchen counter.

10. Descent and Landing

My main concern for the kids is to ensure their ears normalize when the pressure changes on landing.

Besides the sippy cup suction thought (or juice packs with straws),

I gave Sweet Cheeks a lollipop in the hopes that she would suck on it.

…That didn’t really work for me, but it didn’t hurt to try!

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Classic book.

Do you have some tips that could help me out?

In the next year, we’ll be traveling internationally a lot!

Do share!

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Expectation Management When Flying With Kids

We just completed our third plane ride in 6 weeks. Once again I flew with the 4 children solo. And every trip, I learn a little bit more on how I can better prepare whether if that’s something to bring or a change in my mental mindset.

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I chose a red eye flight. There were several reasons.
1: Cheaper
2: Hopefully the kids would fall asleep
3: In the hopes of a less populated plane

Putting the kids in their pajamas (or jammie jammies as we call it) helped set the mood and comfort for the flight.

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We made it to the gate early (very unusual for my brood) and thankfully there was a window ledge that the kids piled on to watch the sunset and planes taxi.

And I’ll admit the kids were a bit stir-crazy and wild eye, probably from the late hour and anticipation. I had to take a few big breaths, smile and maintain the kids as best as I could.

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Ok, so expectation management. Only Sweet Cheeks fell asleep. I was already prepared for me not to sleep but all the older kids had a hard time settling down and I didn’t push the sleep as it’s hard to maneuver with a sleeping babe. And it was only a 4.5 hour trip.

Super cute sleeper even if my arm fell asleep multiple times.

And assume someone will have an accident at some point on the flight (one of my children didn’t make it to the bathroom in time, ice spilled multiple times everywhere, peanuts flew open and onto the ground, an elbow to the nose brought on streaming blood on take-off, you know the usual).

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Oh wait, let me explain that upon landing the Third fell fast asleep. And so of course, I was left with 2 whiny kids, one Miss Independent (Sweet Cheeks), and a groggy exhausted kid.

The above picture is after he woke up and was waiting for our ride outside.

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Once we deboarded, Miss Independent wanted to walk so Hallmark was given the seat of honor (Boba carrier). And he loved it. I had to power through and carry the bags in the front along with Sweet Cheeks who actually helped balance the weight from the back.

Lugging/dragging/guiding the kids to the baggage claim came with many remarks, comments and stares.

Smile and breathe in grace.

And clothing, you’ll learn no matter how fitted your shirt is, inevitably it will be stretched out at the end of the journey. So if that’s a concern then pack a new shirt into your carry-on (because you have so much space available, right?!)

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Thankfully we made it with suitcases and carseats. As we waited for our ride, the kids woke up enough to relax and play in their car-less carseats.

Remember you’ll inconvenience some people but patience is a virtue and smiles & good manners go a long way!

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And be prepared for very sleepy kids. Kids who fall asleep on the counter. Kids who speak nonsense because they are so tired. Kids who walk into walls. You know, sleepy kids.

And the last expectation is you’ll have memories that you can choose to laugh when you share the stories with others.