A long-haul flight with a toddler is the fear of many a parent. In my experience, preparation is key to survival! Here are some suggestions:
- Request the bulkhead row. It’s only a few extra centimeters of leg room, but can be enough for a toddler to get down from his/her seat and just be a kid
- Pack a big bag of distractions (suggestions below)
- Pack lots of snacks!
Distracting the Easily Distractible
Here are some suggestions for entertaining your child on a flight:
- Pipe cleaners
- Play dough
- Modelling clay
- Post it notes
- Crayons and paper (triangular crayons that won’t roll off the tray table are a great investment!)
- A (small) favourite toy
- Small toy animals or dolls
- Imagination games
- Felt story board
- Scissors and paper
- Glue, to add to the cut-up paper
- For the older child, paper crafts like origami
- Beads and string, for the traveller who won’t eat them 😉
- Dyed pasta with holes and string for beading if your young traveller will take a bite out of everything (dye them first with food dye if you want to get creative). These probably won’t survive until you come home again, but at least one leg of the journey will be entertaining (and fashionable!). Encourage your child to make LOTS of necklaces for all the child-loving people on the flight 😉
- Snacks, snacks, snacks!
Eventually, your child will wish to leave his or her seat. Most people understand that and lots of walking up and down the aisle will almost certainly result in many a kid-friendly traveller saying Hi to your little one. I am yet to meet a hostie who didn’t love kids 😉 I’m sure that decorating the entire cabin crew with pasta necklaces will entertain a whole plane full of people!
The easiest way to survive a long-haul flight is for your child to sleep through it. Walking them up and down the aisles in a front carry is one way to send them off to sleep. Breastfeeding your child to sleep in your seat is another way that’s very useful. I’ll confess freely that I’ve never gotten either of my children to sleep any other way under the age of two, but I’ve heard that some kids find the motion in the plane soothing like the car and will just nod off. My hopes are with you on that one!
What entertained your child on a long-haul flight or car trip? How did you get them to sleep? Leave a comment and let us know!