Any suggestions on how to manage a two-year-old, who can’t sit still for a moment and doesn’t mind a tantrum, in an airplane? We are travelling to Perth, which means most of the day will be spent in an airplane and in airports. Soon to be mum of two!
Travelling with toddlers can certainly be daunting. I distinctly remember walking onto an airplane with a baby/toddler and had that overwhelming feeling that suddenly I was that parent, the parent with a baby that everyone was looking at hoping that I wouldn’t sit down next to them! Toddlers can be more difficult to manage in the sense that they are at the exploration age and don’t sit still that long.
My best tips for air travel are choose carefully the time of your flights, don’t be tempted to choose the 5am/6am flight as by the time you add inthe travel to the airport and the 30 mins before for luggage you are waking your toddler up at some very early hour and a tired toddler is worse than an active toddler as that is when the tantrums begin.
Put a handful of balloons in your pocket or handbag and make the waiting time at the airport the ‘running time’. So no more sitting and waiting for you! Blow the balloon up and find an small area away from others and let your toddler kick, catch, hit the balloon, make this their active time. When your plane is called then simply put it in the bin on your way through the gates. Try and be the last on the plane if possible too, minimize the sitting time. Just be sure to tell your toddler you are leaving the balloon behind and have more.
Once on the plane it’s really a process of keeping your toddler entertained and be prepared and take your own snacks, drinks and toys. Don’t rely on the airline as when toddlers are hungry they are hungry! Make sure the snacks are all small so that they take a long time to eat and don’t fill your toddler up quickly as it gives them something to do with their hands, ie. think packet of sultanas etc. Be prepared with a small bag, i prefer see through so much easier to find things, and go to a $2 shop and look for small cars, crayons, pads, animals, stickers, and pack it all in. This way it’s not their favourite toys and when they roll down 3 rows you do not have to retrieve them back.
Sit your toddler against the window so that you form the barrier to the aisle and I would try to avoid going up and down the aisle as once you start that your toddler will demand loudly that they want to do this the whole trip. In the case of airplane travel I would also add some electronic apps onto your phone but use this after everything else. As for behaviour work on ‘planned ignoring’ of tantrums in the weeks leading up so that they fade out of your toddlers behaviour repertoire, remember so bring something for them to suck when the plane take-off and lands.