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Mama's Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

by erinann 5. November 2009 10:18

Mama understands that your babies are precious and cute and you just love love love them. Mama loves all her babies too. But its is a fact universally acknowledged that the minute your angel-faced little cherub steps on an airplane your baby goes from darling to devil in no time flat. So Mama is here to save you so you don't have to get kicked off your next flight like that poor woman and her little darling last week.



Here's Mama's secret to entertaining a baby on a plane. Before you travel, go to the dollar store and spend a few dollars on all new toys. Do NOT let your baby know about this. Buy a cute little backpack or suitcase too. (Is there anything in this world more precious than a toddler pulling his/her own mini-suitcase down a jetway?) Pack the suitcase with the new toys. Do not let Junior open the suitcase until you are on-board. All the new toys should help keep everyone happy and entertained during your flight. If your little one is big enough, consider bringing a laptop or portable DVD player - with headphones- and a few of your children's favorite movies to watch during the flight. An entertained child is a happy child. A happy child doesn't spend the flight kicking Mama in the back. And that equals a happy Mama! And if Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!



The cabin air pressure can fluctuate at times causing ears to pop. This can be particularly painful to endure for babies and adults. Usually all it takes to alleviate the pressure and pain is swallowing. This is why pilots and passengers alike enjoy chewing gum during take off. If your baby is too young to chew gum, come prepared with a bottle or pacifier, or ready to nurse, during take-off and landing. Keeping your baby at ease during take-off and landing can make the rest of the trip considerably more endurable. Consider bringing along some baby Tylenol to help with headaches that may result from the loud noises of the plane, and ears popping. 



If there was a magic trick to getting all babies to sleep on planes, Mama would have paid for it and shared it a long time ago. Sadly, no such trick exists. (Although Mama has heard talk of mothers who give their babies Benadryl before getting on a plane. Mama won't take sides on such issues.)  What does help though is if YOU get some sleep before flying. Don't travel too tired and cranky! You will need your energy to entertain your children during the flight! Don't try to catch up on sleep during the flight. 



"I'm sorry." Practice saying it to everyone around you. When your child screams, kicks, and pours hot coffee on the flight attendant, APOLOGIZE. Everyone on the flight paid equally to be there. How would you feel if you spent $400 to sit in a small cramped seat for hours on end, just to have a kid kicking you relentlessly the whole flight? Also, say THANK YOU to anyone who extends a courteous hand. A few simple thank you's will win over many more offered hands.



Clean up your baby, clean yourself up, and clean up the space around you. Nobody likes a dirty child. And the better you look, the better people will treat you. (Mama knows it shouldn't have to be that way, but it is, so deal with it.) And when you leave the plane, clean up the smashed Cheerios on the floor, pick up the broken crayons, etc. Leave the world a better place behind you. 


And here's Mama's final piece of advice, learned from raising lots of babies of her own. If you can't take your baby to a restaurant without expecting tantrums, thrown food, and tears (yours or baby's), your baby may not yet be ready for a jet setting lifestyle. 

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