Flying with your Toddler

Traveling alone can be stressful enough, but add a two year old and the stress could be compounded, since you are so worried firstly about him staying well and secondly that he does not become too much of a handful and land himself in trouble.

Start with packing two carry-on bags. A diaper bag with plenty of diapers (in case of unfortunate delays), wipes, extra snacks, change of clothes for your child son and probably a change for you too. Put this bag in the compartments above the seats.

Then pack a toy bag for him…wrap small toys in wrapping paper (unwrapping them could be the most exciting activity), a dry erase board with dry erase markers, a couple of toy figures (a huge hit), a colouring book (another great one), books with bright photographs etc. This bag may also have some fun snacks, juice, baby wipes and a small cloth diaper (for spills or spit-up/vomiting during the flight). Put this bag under the seat in front of us so that you have easy access to it.

When you arrive at your destination, re-wrap the small toys with the comics, and put the special bag with toys in it away. Then use the same bag of toys for the return ride home. As the toys have not been played with for a week, they may be familiar and entertaining for your child during the flight back home.

Flying with your Toddler

Flying with your Toddler [Illustration by Shiju George]

  • Remember that most airlines offer 50 per cent off on tickets for children less than two years of age. You may have to ask for this special fare.
  • When you book your flight, request kid meals for your child if you will be served while on the plane.
  • If you are traveling alone with your child, consider booking a window seat for him or her. He will not have to sit near strangers and will feel more secure between the window and you.
  • After you get your seat assignment, verify that you are not in the emergency exit row or the seat behind it. When you get to the ticket counter to check in, verify this again.
  • The stroller is a ‘free’ item on many airlines. They will not count it as one of your carry-on pieces. Use it all the way up to the plane entrance…this is great.
  • During take-off and landing, be sure to offer your toddler some juice or a pacifier to help relieve the pressure in his or her ears.Above all, try to relax and enjoy the trip. The airplane will be a new and exciting experience for your toddler.

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