What can I do to make my 3.5 hours airplane ride with my 21 month old go smoothly?
Flying with a toddler can be tough for mom, baby, and anyone nearby. What are tricks and tips you have tried that can help make a medium distance airplane flight go smoothly?
Since we travel often, here is what we’ve shared with other families before. Sorry I didn’t edit it down to a medium length flight. While all children are different, here’s what worked for us:
SLEEP: If your child in accustomed to sleeping in their carseat and your flight is during naptime, I’d suggest taking on board if they have their own seat - along with any lovie or other sleeping aid (this is what we do). If you are in the window section the carseat must be closest to the window (for evacuation safety in an emergency so you don’t have to “climb” over it) or in the middle of the section if you have aisles on both sides. If you use a white noise sound – check it as the airplane automatically has some sound from the engines. It is usually the loudest behind the wings. Alternatively if your child requires it to be silent to sleep – ask your Dr. about Benadryl and what dosage – it will aid sleep in most children. I’d also advise trying it at home PRIOR to your flight because in some children it makes them hyperactive and you won’t know until they’ve had it.
LIQUIDS: Carry a sippy/bottle or whatever they are accustomed to drinking from that is least likely to spill. It’ll help your piece of mind! Most, but not all, airlines have cow milk. My older child drinks it from the carton with two red coffee stirring straws. Some airlines pour from a large container and don’t have the individual box. If your child drinks soy consider carrying a powder version (unlimited since it’s not a liquid) or you may carry a reasonable amount for your trip length. Thermos makes a wonderful spill proof (with the lid down) straw drink/cup that will keep beverages cold for 10 hrs. They often have apple juice or a version of it. If your child is young and particular you can carry through a reasonable amount for your trip of what your child will drink. We opt for powdered versions in single serving portions as much as possible! No need to refrigerate and keep cold and if we don’t use in flight we can use throughout our trip. Craft stores carry baggies smaller than a snack size for crafts and we pre-measure to a single serving. Also if you use formula consider the 4oz sticks that are ready to mix and go. Most (but not all) airline attendants will aid you in cleaning a baby bottle in flight after baby has eaten.
SNACKS: I suggest having favorites/treats/well enjoyed options available. Not necessarily sugary ones (we don’t use many sweets in our home), but things that are not the most common daily eaten foods. My child won’t want to return a favorite treat baggie until it is empty or he is stuffed so I suggest pre-packaging into single serve size baggies! What you choose to take depends on what age your child is and what they will eat. Also consider if they are young enough to “squeeze” the food and make a mess or pick up and put into their mouth!
SOME OF OUR FAVORITE KID FOODS: Some favorites of ours are baby cucumbers sliced into sticks and rubber banded to keep from getting “squished” and packaged 1-2 per snack bag. We also enjoy teeny tiny tomatoes that are the size of grapes, blueberries, and grapes (blackberries and raspberries are far more messy IMO). Whole bananas are a favorite always ready to peel and eat (if you have a small child who only eats ½ of a normal banana consider the “baby bananas” for travel or have mom/dad/sibling share. Dried veggies – made by “Just Veggies” can be bought at a health food store. Ritz crackers come bite size with PB or cheese. Oyster crackers are great for small single bites. Goldfish (cheese and more), animal shaped (neutral/basic cracker), or Annie’s bunny crackers (variety of flavors). Pretzels in all different shapes – skinny sticks, nuggets, waffle squares seem to travel easiest for us. Chewy granola bars make less mess than crunchy ones (FYI chewy often have more sugar). Baby puffs and yoghurt melts (yes, they are sweet!) and the disposable squeezable food pouches (disclose these as they are a “liquid”) are favorites with an infant/early toddler. Sliced apple sticks and carrot sticks with dip (declare as the dip as it is a liquid). Pre-packaged cheese sticks/cubes/ slices (to keep cold -- we put these into a small insulated bag with a baggie of ice cubes inside too – just before security we throw away the ice cubes in the trash and keep the baggie. Once through security we go to a restaurant/food vendor and ask for ice for our ziploc baggie). Naturally any of the gummy fruits that are pre-packaged are super fun too. Right now my oldest is very much into lollipops (I buy the “dum dum” brand as they are the smallest) and they will work for entertainment that is relatively quiet! And while my list is focusing on kids, don’t forget to pack snacks for mom and dad!!!
MEALS: Sign up for the meal if the airline provides one (depends on route and seat assignment as most coach seats no longer do today). Choose what you think your child will eat and then plan to bring along something else in addition to supplement in case your child strongly dislikes what is available. Hungry child usually makes for a tougher flight. Del Taco burritos (the 59 cent size – or any homemade skinny burritos) are a favorite with my son. Also, sandwiches cut into fourths (PB, hummus, cheese slice, meat or veggie meat slice, etc). If you are at the airport at mealtime – you could eat a meal there before/after flying. I always suggest carrying snacks – delays can always occur!
TOYS TO PACK: If you have older children – let them decide while mom/dad retains “veto power” and check before you leave the house! If kiddos are young and mom/dad is packing -- pack a variety. Even if your boy only plays with cars at home or your girl only plays with dollies – take options as you can’t change your mind once you are on board! Also pack a bag for each child if they are old enough to manage their own. I really like Crayola mess free draw/paints. They look clear and go on with color – plus they don’t mark up clothing or the airplane. Small matchbox style cars – especially ones that “do something” like a dump truck that can carry a small ball of paper and “dump it” – yes this makes a small mess, but it’s won’t ruin things like markers can. Aqua coloring/draw books – that work with just water. Lift the flap books. Vibrating teething toy for teething baby and light up rattle toy (in lieu of rattle without light because they are hard to hear on the airplane – the light one I have does make noise, but it is very soft and hard to hear, however baby likes to see the lights and it has an on/off switch by infantino!). Magnetic or cling books (clings are cheaper) – where you can recreate the scene over and over. I opt for the copy/print paper activities vs white board erase (pens are really hard to get out of clothing IMO) and use pencils. I also prefer traditional pencils vs mechanical and have not had a problem with a basic pencil sharpener going through security. For baby keep things on a leash as much as possible (pacifier and sippy cup straps work great for toys too) as it will aid keeping items off the public floor. Naturally I don’t pack all of these for every trip, but all of these have gone on different trips at different times!
WHAT WE DO WITH TOYS: We have done all sorts of things depending on the length of the trip. If your child likes to “open” things consider wrapping in tissue paper (I often carry unwrapped through security with scotch tape and then Daddy takes the kiddos for a walk while I wrap at the gate – we do this more for longer flights than short ones). Tissue paper opens easily for younger kids than wrapping paper and is lighter weight to carry. Also I don’t necessarily buy new toys – just wrap toys that I’ve put away for the 4-6 weeks before the trip and that way they are “new again”. Also I don’t take along favorites – if they get lost tears may result. You know your children best and if a favorite toy is needed – take it, just keep a close eye on it so it’s not left behind!!
ELECTRONICS: Leapsters/gameboys/DSI/IPAD/Itouch/Cell Phone in airplane mode/DVD/TAG pen players are just a few of what I have seen families use to help their children stay entertained (we use Leap Frog educational electronics since ours are still young). Remember headphones – especially ones that your child is familiar with and that are comfortable for your child to wear! Most airplanes have them, but they may not be designed for your child’s head size and they might not be as comfortable or fussy therefore they toy may not be the ideal one at that time.
WIPES: I pack extra wipes and wipe down all the surfaces around the kids. Alternatively consider using hand sanitizer to wipe down surfaces. Visually the plane will look fine, but in reality they have lots of germs (unless of course you are the lucky first flight since cleaning). Airports have lots of people from lots of places and traveling you are more likely to get an illness – so be preventative!!! Clean the hard surfaces as soon as possible. Wash hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer (they come in perfect 1oz bottles for travel). The smaller 40 ct size is always more than enough for cleaning, hand wiping, and baby on a plane – round trip if saved for the plane at the destination (even the long international ones round trip).
LONG FLIGHTS: We carry a toothbrush and tiny toothpaste tube for everyone and a non-liquid deodorant for those who use it. I also carry disposable washcloths (1-2/child) in a baggie for young children/babies. If child/baby gets ill and vomits – you will want this. Thankfully I haven’t needed it, but I did have a friend who needed it once. Usually if you have it – you won’t need it. Also as long as your child is a happy child, most people won’t mind if you take “laps” to walk your child around the aircraft to help get some of the wiggles out. Some airlines have limited bassinet space. I have yet to utilize it as all airlines have different rules as to their use (some are 6M and under, some are 2 yrs and under). My SIL has used them and been very happy with them. She prefers international carriers as they tend to allow the older children (up to age 2) longer than US carriers (some only up to 6M).
CLOTHING: Spare outfit for each child – bathroom accident/spit up/etc… Spare top for each adult who helps with the children (spit up). Ironically when it’s all packed – we don’t need it. The one flight we took without a spare top for daddy within 60 minutes baby had spit up onto daddy. If you have a larger family, consider one roller board for mom/dad’s carry-on to hold all the non-essentials for “just in case”.
DIAPERS: I carry diaper bags for diapers as a poop diaper can be really stinky – the entire aircraft full as passengers will be grateful! They are also ideal for wet clothing if an accident occurs.
Potty trained child: if they use diapers at night – I travel with the child in a diaper the entire flight with spare diapers. I also then REWARD them for keeping it dry while they are awake once you are at your destination. Here are some reasons why: The fasten seatbelt light could be on for an extended period of time. Your child may want to go to sleep with a line at the restroom – waiting to change will seem like forever. Plus the bathrooms are tiny and changing them is cramped!
TIME MANAGEMENT: I like to break the flight into small “segments” and rotate items (especially long flights). I will tell my child it is nap/rest time or book time or car time or snack time etc… to intentionally change up what they are doing BEFORE they say “I’m bored”. You know your child best and if this works for them or not!
CRY/SCREAMING: At the first sign of it we go to the restroom – because my children are very social. It is very cramped and there is no audience which for my children limits it fast. Also, they are reasonably well insulated so if it does go into a temper tantrum, it will not be shared with the entire plane.
AIRPORT TIME: Walk near the windows to watch the airplanes. Stroll and have your child walk all they can – even if they are easier in a stroller – walking on a plane is harder and your child will be more ready to sit on board if they have been up and moving around!
TAKE OFF/LANDING: I strongly suggest your child have something to make them swallow if they are young it is even more important!!! Anything that will make your child swallow -- snack, gum, hard candy, beverage, pacifier – something so their ears will not build up pressure. If you have a baby and want to use a bottle or nurse, fine – but not as you leave the gate. Wait until the aircraft is at the end of the runway as sometimes there is a lineup of several planes (I learned the hard way once as my child was full as we went down the runway to takeoff).
TSA/FLIGHT CREW: Consider printing out their requirements IF you have a lot of the items that are questionable. If you are taking liquids to serve your child some may say you can’t and then it can be helpful to show them their rules in writing. They are human too and all humans make mistakes at times. Remember if they say no, stay calm. They can refuse to let you through if they view you as a threat. I have seen security take people from the gate before and deny boarding. Plus what example do you want your child to see? How do you want your child to learn to act?
Overall enjoy your fun new experience and take photos for memories!!
When we flew to Thailand with our 2 yr old i got a little back pack and just filled it with all sorts of bits and pieces. Go to a cheap $2 shop and purchase an array of toys that you can bring out every now and then. Playdough was also a good one. A portable dvd player so if things get really tough you can put that on. If you get cheap little things it doesnt matter if they break them or even lose them. Good luck. Jo
All of these suggestions are great! I might add one more to the list. My last experience was good and bad. The way there was a nightmare and on the way back was near perfect! My two year loves milk, since you can only bring small amounts of liquid through security I thought I could get some milk on the plane. Big mistake, this airline only had creamer. He cried the whole time. On the way back I had a small cooler bag with an empty sippy cup and ziplock bag. Once we were through security I bought 8oz of milk at the Starbucks (any restaurant passed security will have milk) and a got a cup of ice. Put it in the ziplock bag I had, put the milk in the cup and put it in the cooler with the ice. It was perfect, he had his milk, snacks, books and DVD player. Smooth sailing : ) good luck!
I just got back from a 6 hr trip on 2 planes with layovers at the airport. What worked for me was not giving her a nap before the trip so that shes super tired and I brought snacks and my ipod with some movies downloaded on it. She fell asleep for a good part of it bc she didnt have her nap and when she was awake I let her watch the movies and have snacks. She was great on the plane. When we got to the airport during the connecting flight I let her run around to wear herself out. Good luck!!
I always buy a new coloring book or small toy to surprise her with during the plane ride. I ditto the sucking motion during take of and landing. After my daughter dropped the bottle and paci, i let her chew gum on the plane. She knows that gum is ONLY for plane rides- she is sitting next to me I can closely watch her.
Additionally, we recently bought a dvd player - we travel internationally 4+ times a year. At first I thought it was ridiculous, then my husband pointed out that expecting a 2 year old to sit still for 2-4 hours is /also/ ridiculous and that we should consider things outside the norm of our parenting for extreme situations. That made sense to me. It helps break up the trip because we can only use it at certain times; so we have take off w/ gum and books/ coloring, in air with videos and landing with coloring or books and gum.
Also, if you have a lay over, i would recommend one of the back packs with a "leash". I know it is a bit controversial and i always said i would never leash my kids like a dog. However, after my daughter slipped out of my hand and almost made it onto another plane i decided that it just wan't worth it. She has the freedom to walk in her own space while can still have some control over her movements. Too many scary things can happen too fast in an airport. I only use it in the airports.
One more - the plastic cups they hand out are great toys!! Kids can play with them for a good 20 minutes or so!
We flew with our 13 month old, Chicago to Phoenix. My husband bought her a new toy and I made sure we had plenty of books -- she loves to read and be read to. I made sure to feed her during take off and landing but any sucking action is said to be helpful.
On the way there she slept most of the time but on the way back she wanted to be with me then my husband, then me, then him .... ALL FLIGHT LONG! But, she didnt cause a fuss.
Ditto to the other responses so far. I always bring lots of snacks but absolutely nothing with sugar!
To help with ears popping, make sure they drink during take off and landing (if you are still nursing, nurse at take off and landing because it's comforting plus the sucking will keep them swallowing...if not just a juice cup works too, the problem sometimes with that is if they don't want to drink because they are feeling defiant at the moment then you can't really "make" them drink and they don't understand when you say "this will help your ears"). Usually the biggest problem with the flight is their ears hurt because they don't know how to pop them, swallowing helps pop the ears. Also pulling down on the ear lopes will help with it and if you open your mouth like you are yawning, they will sometimes do it and that helps - or if they suck a pacifier that will keep them swallowing some I would imagine. Also everything Joanne said is great. Lots of toys and distractions. Remember a full baby is a happy baby so bring snacks so they don't get hungry. You are allowed to bring a "reasonable amount" of liquids (juice, breast milk, formula, etc) through security if you are traveling with an infant/toddler. You just have to tell them at security and they hold a piece of paper over the top of it (to see if any fumes are coming off of it I guess) - it is not an invasive test. (That is in the USA, I don't know what country you live in to know your local laws.) Other than that, just don't get frustrated if they are fussy and ignore those around you that may get annoyed. Your job is just to take care of your baby no matter what mood they are in. You can't control their environment at that moment to calm them down if they are upset about it - just love and comfort them. And remember, if you are calm, they tend to be calm, if you are anxious they will sense that and get anxious too. Good luck!!
My oldest daughter and I did alot of travelling beginning when she was 8 months old. Humphreys, teething pellets, were our best friend for many years as was nursing her during takeoff and then a drink. . If we were flying from CA, we would take the red eye and stretch out in an empty row. As she got older, Benadryl and a sippy cup with apple juice and chamomille tea. I did the same thing with my youngest and they have rarely, if ever have given me a hard time fling. Next year we plan to go to Europe...let's see how that goes!
Have a pre-trip party!!! with your toddler!!! If you're all up all night, you will all crash once you get seated in the plane! Oh, and take plenty of food and some new and exciting toys (not big ones). Sorry, I know it sounds very unconventional, but when we travelled from Australia to Venezuela with our 15 month old daughter, we did that for a few of the flights, not to get her to sleep, but rather because we were on holidays having fun. I'll explain further:
1st flight: Cairns - Sydney (3 hours) -> just took food and toys and went for it.
2nd flight: Sydney - Auckland - Buenos Aires (over 15 hours) -> started flying late in the day, so slept through the night, ate lots and played with toys. A volcano spewed ash in Chile and plane was diverted to Mendoza and we had to add an 8 h bus trip to BA. Just had lots of snacks, played with other passengers during wait periods, slept.
3rd flight: Buenos Aires - Caracas (8 hours) -> we all went partying with friends in BA. Our daughter was dancing at 3 am.... We all crashed as soon as we went on board.
So, 3 hours? Don't sweat it, just make sure you take enough food and games. Oh, and if you can get Business class tickets, that would be a bonus.
Good luck and have fun with your toddler!!!
I suggest a gogo kidz travel mate. Very easy to manuvuer your kiddo through the airport in thier toddler seat. On our flights we even left it attached. We took snacks and a DVD player
And a few new small toys, puzzles, and books to make flying exciting, our toddler loved it. Since they feed off of your energy we tried to stay calm and not rush anything which helped a lot, too. We also explained our expectations and what she should expect to see/ do. She was only 2 but she understood.
We fly a lot with out daughter. She has been flying since she was less than a year old. When she first started flying we would have here drink on take off and landing and she did great, no problems with her ears at all. As she gets older, now 3 years old, we get her super excited about flying and take plenty of snacks, books and the DVD player for longer flights. Her blanket and stuffed animal are always with her to prevent meltdowns. Good luck!
I have flown with my daughter a lot. I make sure that I have snacks, and a drink for her. I also pack some small quiet toys (some times I will get some new ones she hasn't seen before so she doesn't get board), I take crayons and coloring books, I have also packed books to read too. Lately I have been letting her use the Ipad to watch movies or play games. This works really well because it keeps here entertained for hours. Good luck and just remember that a lot of people have been in your shoes before and they are going to understand, but there is always one person who is cranky!
I buy a lot of little small toys too, but to add to the fun for my little one I wrap them in wrapping paper also and let him open one every hour or so if he's being good. It adds to the excitement of a new toy for him. Also as mentioned before, I always have the kids drink during take of and landing and have never had a problem with their ears at all. Good luck!
Lots of great suggestions. Here are three I don't think were offered. Crayola makes triangle shaped crayons that won't roll of the tray table. Use those linking rings that you might use to connect stuffed animals to stollers to connect toys to your seatbelt. And we have a fabric book tha reads My Quiet Book on the cover. It has a lot of fun activities and zips up but the best part is when people see the book they at least know you are trying and you get less dirty looks.
I flew with my 8yr old and 2 yr old in may. I made sure to bring lots of gummies for take off and landing and a decent amount of fluids. (We were potty training and she wont go in weird potties! Like porta potties or airplanes) I brought crayons and coloring books, books, and my sons IPod. But Honestly... they didnt use any of it but the snacks. They were so excited to look at everything that they didnt need anytihng. The lil one stood on the seat alittle when she started to get wiggly but other then that we planned it around bedtime so they would be tired. I also didnt nap her at all that day in hopes she would sleep. it worked wonderfully. All in all you know what your child likes. My kids LOVE to eat. And we dont eat gummies very often... so it was perfect. Stay calm and enjoy the ride. You will be exhausted no matter what happens:-) Good Luck
Dvd players are nice, or if you have an iPhone or laptop you can play movies on there. I let my daughter play below her seat. I also made sure to bring lots of snacks. We had a 6 hour flight, so there was also lots of walking up and down the aisle to get the wiggles out.
I took my 21-m-o solo to Boston last year from DC. On the way up, smooth sailing - on the way back, we were stuck at Boston airport for 6 hours before we were able to get onto a flight connecting in NY, then a 2 hour layover in NY. Thank God I had her folding stroller or we would have gone nuts. My biggest advice is let them run at the airport - it's tiring for you but you need to wear them out, and universally the comment I got from adults watching us run was "good idea - better here than on board!" It's amazing how much time you can eat up on the flight with snacks, juice, trips to the galley for more water, etc. I packed a few new toys and some "new" ones she hadn't seen in a few months; for the loooong delays on the way home I got a coloring-book-with-crayons set at a newsstand at the airport that kept her happy on and off for hours. Just mix it up with them and be aware going into it that it's tiring for you. I felt like Super Mom incarnate when we finally got home!
To make my flight with my 21 month old baby going smoothly are, first my baby & myself should be well rested before taking the flight, pray before the flight, bring lots or fave toys of my baby, I will also bring fave snacks to munch, some paper & markers for scribbling & a soothing music for his ears.
I recently flew with my daughter, and from the information I read, you can take enough fluids/foods to feed your infant/toddler to get to your destination. I took individual bottles of pedialyte, and had no problems. I also had a bottle made when we went through the checkpoint. You can take the liquid form of formula or the individual servings of milk. You just need to pull them out and any other infant food and put them together when you go through TSA.
Here is there link that tells you about fluids for children..
I've flown several times with my daughter (now 2.5), most recently from Detroit to San Diego with a layover. I'm so glad she now has her own seat, it makes life easier. I bring lots of snacks (organic lollipops for takeoff), books for her to look at and her portable DVD player with headphones. The DVD player is the favorite and keeps her distracted until the battery dies.
We just got back from a trip to New York with our 26 month old and although we were very tired entertaining her, she didn't cry or complain once during the 23 hour flight on our way there or back. Half an hour before we boarded the plane we gave her panodol and her favourite juice was given to her just as we were taking off. I also had a lollypop (which she never has at home) just incase she cried due to sore ears. We didn't need it though! That covered the ear popping issue :)
We bought her a little Dora suitcase which could be taken on the plane as hand luggage and only presented it to her at the airport. She was so excited to be walking with it on her own. lol She was telling strangers that the case was hers :) Inside the bag, we filled with 2 x Magic ink Books, Sticker Books, Magnet Books, a small packet of 8 sticks of playdough, her little computer, new textas and crayons etc etc. We also carried in our carry on bag the small car DVD player and 3 or her favourite movies. She did really well, only slept for 4 hours of the 23hrs on the way there but we all caught up on our sleep once we arrived at our destination. I was 6.5 months pregnant also, and I can honestly say, I'd do it again :)
Try giving them a dummy (or the breast if still doing that) for takeoff and landing, to stop their ears from hurting with the change in air pressure. Also bring with you some of their favourite foodg in case they decide not to eat airline offerings and, of course, don't forget their favourite cuddly toy or blanket. Toddlers don't react well to change, so the more familiar stuff the better. Good luck from someone who survived 23 hours on a plane with a 15-month-old boy!
When it comes to flying, I'm all about bribery! Pack a bunch of toys, if you can get a portable DVD player, and pack some fun snacks, that will keep them busy. Although I'm a mom, I have flown on planes with screaming babies, and I think to myself, "oh god, I wish they would shut that kid up", so I will pretty much do anything to keep my little one quiet and content on a plane! Nobody wants to listen to a screaming or fussy child in such a confined space, so I don't see the problem with bribing them or offering treats that they normally wouldn't have on an everyday basis.
Whenever we have flown with any of our 3 children, whether it was a first time flight or repeat flight. We always fill their carry-on bag with items they have never seen or played with before, favorite snacks and a favorite cuddle item or toy. The new items seem to occupy them, well because it is new. Snacks for the ear popping. An empty sippy cup to fill up on the plane, since you can't take fluids through the security check point. And the cuddle item is a must. Most of all, stay relaxed. Baby will enjoy the flight more if you are relaxed and not stressed. My pediatrician also recommened a small dose of Benedryl for first time flights, to relax baby. Enjoy your trip.
I just took a flight with my 18 month old baby and she is a energectic girl...my mom gave me the absolute best advice and thats to tire them out "the day before" let them play at the park or go swimming to their hearts desire...pack snacks. We froze grapes the night before and had them thaw out and ate them...but no play doh, or movie, or coloring books cut it for us..its all about letting them exercise.
I'll say toys,toys and toys.If your baby likes a certain drink too,i carried a lot of toys,3bottles of fruit tea since my daughters loves it .Enough diapers and wipes and it was a 20hours flight but thank God i spent 5hours on transit and my baby ran around the waiting area for the whole time. I carried my laptop too with cartoons episodes and she would spend sometime watching.My daughter is 1 year now,we traveled when she was 11months and she didn't have any ear popping maybe this doesn't occur to all children though. Have a safe flight and all the best
I flew to Oz with my three year old and 15 month old in March. The best thing i did was give my three year old a DS with an age appropriate game (peppa pig and I did it mum! are both really good). That plus the movies kept her occupied for the entire flight and my usually hurricane like daughter was quiet, calm and immaculately behaved.
The younger one (who is usually as good as gold) was the tricky one! Don't expect him (mine is a "he" so I'm using that pronoun!) to sleep even if it is the time he usually sleeps. He refused to sleep in the travel cot and refused to sit still for any time at all. The best thing I could do with him was read him stories and let him roam around the cabin as much as possible. He just cat-napped on me.
Definitely plan on having a drink he likes. You can place an order with the Boots airside at the airport if there is something you want that you might not be able to get generally. I found them really helpful when I was investigating what I could do for my tot. Don't assume the airline will have some suitable food for him - BA were useless and didn't! Check with your airline before you go.
If yours likes drawing (mine won't sit still long enough to do any at the moment) then the aquadoodle mini packs are great and the pen can be filled in the airline toilet if you don't have chance to do it anywhere else. If like mine he won't sit still then try to wear him out by walking wherever he wants to before you get on the plane. Reins or a wrist strap are a great idea. If you can take the buggy to the gate, though, I'd definitely recommend it - it makes it SO much easier at the other end when they're tired and fractious and you want to collect your bags and go. Good luck and enjoy the holiday - remember the flight is only a small part of your break!
First off, I glances at a couple answers and just FYI YOU CAN BRING CHILDREN'S DRINKS ON AIRPLANE!!! just bring it in child's cup, they will stop you at security and test it (they don't touch ot tamper with it... Just wave some paper over it) so along with this...
I literally just flew a 3.5 hour flight to idaho and got back two days ago with my 3y old son and 19 month daughter.. We did fine!!!
Do be sure to have snacks for take of and landing because a 3 hour flight means you will be going high enough for ear popping and pain if ears don't pop... They just have to swallow so drinks, food or even talking will get the saliva rolling enough to keep them swallowing. I bought my three year old a sticker book of tractors and trucks (what he's into) an that kept him busy (make sure it's something new so they don't get bored so quick) I also brought a mini notepad and sone pens for coloring, and some car toys for us to play race cars. I also kept him very busy by showing/telling him what everything was... We looked at other planes the people to load the luggage, the cars that taxi the planes backwards... You get the point. He was busy and happy the whole trip through ;)
Oh and it will be much easier if you kid uses the restroom before getting on the plane ;)
I fly with my 2 1/2 year old alot (flights between 3 and 3 1/2 hours) due to a custody exchange. What works for us:
---- Empty sippy cup - we get water or apple juice on the plane
---- Snacks like Goldfish crackers/pretzels in a ziploc bag
---- Small books to read together
---- Crayola ColorWonder coloring book with markers - these won't leave marks on her hands or anywhere else
---- Playdough, with a portable mat to play on (those trays are so disease infested!!), a mini-rolling pin, and some small cookie cutters to make shapes in the dough
---- Portable DVD player or iPhone/iPod Touch with a movie on it, and kid-friendly headphones
---- We also try to fly around her naptime if possible - while she can be cranky at first sometimes, she then sleeps for 2 hours. Makes the flight easier on her. And if she's sleeping, her ears won't hurt.
---- Definitely make sure you have the sippy cup ready with liquid for take off/landing and encourage them to sip it during that time if they're awake.
---- Direct flights are a must, if possible.
---- Above all, be calm yourself - your baby will catch on. :)
There are a few things we have done, I've traveled a lot with my 2 girls. With my first we went on an 8hr non stop flight but not as bad as the fight that took 20 hrs with layovers. The things that helped me the most 1. toys 2. movies 3. books 4. snacks and drinks. 5. I bought my girls a new toy and introduced it to them on the plane nothing expensive just something I knew they would like. Plan on being their entertainment, shouldn't be too hard for 3.5 hours. My girls never had issues with their ears popping, they drank or ate if they were hungry or thirsty but seemed to know to swallow or whatever. If their ears do seem to be bothering them offer a drink. You may want to hold off a nap to have them sleep on the plane but that might back fire with all the excitement of flying they might just be very over whelmed and very tired so extremely crabby. I recommend following their schedule as normal, if you do what to hold off their nap or make them sleep talk to your Dr about and appropriate dosage of benadryl to help them sleep on the plane. I only did that once and that is when the flight with layovers was 20 hrs and she was just really mad, but you can bring some as a back up but I'm sure it will be just fine even better if you can get a window seat mine loved looking out the window.