… Okay, maybe the title should be more like, “less stressful flying with littles”, but that wasn’t quite as catchy. For a lot of people, flying in general is anxiety-provoking. Add in trying to simultaneously (and quietly) entertain small, reckless humans and appease 100 stranger’s opinions of how your children should be acting and you’ve got a recipe for full-blown panic. The good news? We’ve been flying consistently since McKenna was born and at this point, have a pretty good handle on making flying seamless. What works for us may not work for your little angels, but hey, when the alternative is screaming fits of toddler terror, it’s worth a shot.
- all the snacks
Wait, I worry what you just read was “bring a lot of snacks”. What I said was “bring ALL the snacks you have” (Ron Swanson reference, anyone?!). I pack up twice as many snacks as I think my kids could possibly eat in 3 hours and THAT’S what I bring. I pack a few snacks in each of their carry-ons and stash the rest in my own carry-on so that I can ration them.
- new books (the library is great for this!)
I love finding new books from series’ that we love! We’re big into Paw Patrol, Elephant and Piggie, and Pinkalicious these days, so I found a few that we haven’t read yet and packed them in our carry-on bags. The library works great for this, though I like to buy them so that we can keep them! You can never have too many books.
- download a few favorite shows/movies, as well as a new one or two
We don’t have cable, so we’re used to Netflix and Amazon Prime over here. I download a few favorites from each, as well as a show or two that I think they’d like. This new, novel show is exciting and keeps their attention! I know some people frown upon giving their kids tablets, but this works for us and everyone ends up having a few moments of peace and rest.
- mess-free coloring supplies
There is a HUGE range of stuff you can use for this category. This year I bought these mess-free coloring sets, which included a mess-free marker, a water pen, AND a dry-erase board all in one. I usually bring the mess-free markers and paper, like these, but McKenna is kind of past that stage. She DID love the set we got, though, mainly for the dry-erase portion.
- dollar spot/dollar store toys
New toys = novelty = distraction. The best part of buying them for $1 a piece? Who cares if you lose them, break them, or never see them again! They serve their purpose on the plane and THAT’S what counts.
These are ALWAYS a hit with my littles. It doesn’t matter where we are, if they find these window gel clings, they beg for them. McKenna loves to organize them into beautiful arrangements and Owen loves to destroy them and rip them into pieces! You can usually find seasonal ones at places like Target and Walmart, but you can always find them on Amazon if you’re in a pinch! These ones are super cute.
- for smaller babes: pacifier/bottle; for bigger littles: suckers/water bottle
When they were little, a pacifier or a bottle for take-off and landing were perfect to help with changing air pressure. Now that they’re older, but not quite old enough to figure this one out on their own, we do snacks, water bottles, and suckers. The sucker is similar to the motion of a pacifier, while the swallowing with water and/or snacks helps them to equalize the pressure inside and outside of the ear canal. If you’re worried about the sugar, there are SO many sugar-free, organic sucker options out there these days.
- favorite blankets and lovies
This is one that has never changed in four years. If you’re lucky, you’ll get your kid to sleep on the plane. If you’re not so blessed, at least they’ll be cozy and have some familiarity in a strange and somewhat overwhelming environment.
- when all as fails, order drinks
For real, y’all. What can’t wine fix? I’m not advocating getting hammered-drunk, but a glass or two will ease your stress and probably make you a little more patient. Plus, you’ll probably not care as much about the grumpy woman sitting across the aisle giving you dirty looks for feeding your kids candy and giving them iPads. #yolo