Toddler + Transatlantic Flight = HELP!!!

Toddler + Transatlantic Flight = HELP!!!
Toddler + Transatlantic Flight = HELP!!!

We are leaving for Italy in 25 days (not that I’m counting or anything!!). This will be our first time flying with a toddler…and I’m worried!! Last year when we went to Italy my son was just 4 months old. We had NO worries about the actual flight because we had reserved a “comfortable and roomy” bassinet on the plane. The airline company failed to mention that the bassinet may be stained, full of holes, and WAY to small for a child over 4 months (this was worrisome because when we returned home my son was going to be 7 months!)

Needless to say, my son lasted 20 minutes or so at a time in the bassinet, until he decided to turn over onto his tummy, which inevitably woke him up (just imagine, turning around in a coffin when you haven’t mastered the dexterity of your limbs!). When not in the comfortable and roomy bassinet, we took turns holding my son or walking him up and down the aisles. In retrospect, it wasn’t that bad (or is that because I’m imagining what’ll it be like this time around with a busy toddler?!!)

Here is a picture of that, once again, “comfortable and roomy” bassinet! (Now you know why I made that “coffin” joke!) 😉

After 4 hours by car to Toronto, a 3 hour wait at Pearson Airport, a 9 hour flight to Rome, another 3 hour wait at Fiumicino Airport, AND a 45 minute flight to Sardinia…

I think my face (and his body language) says it all!

So, back to the present…

My son is one busy boy! He does not sit still for more than 2 minutes, literally!! Although I can appreciate his independence and energy, I realize that this will most likely work against us on this trip. Even when I coax him into watching videos on the IPad (so I can get stuff done around the house-well, mostly in the kitchen!) he still prefers standing in place (instead of sitting in the comfy “Cars” chair that I spent good money on with the purpose of providing him with more comfort while reading or watching videos.) Nope, he likes to stand….and walk, and run, and throw things (most recently at our dog Jack!).

Recently, I’ve been searching the net for ideal toys and activities for toddlers, especially for long trips! Unfortunately, most of the ones I’ve found are not age appropriate for my son, who is 14 months old. Regardless, I’m at my wit’s end and decided to compile a list of toys which I think could have a good shot at entertaining him…even if for a few minutes at a time. These have also been highly recommended by other parents so they’re worth a try!

Little Airport Sticker Activity Book
(I wonder if he’ll just think the sticky pieces are one of his “new” snacks??)

Tolo Toys Puzzle Ball
(He does like to take things apart, throw them around, then put them back together!)

My First Touch and Feel Flash Cards
(These can be annoying if he decides to play his “let’s throw these on the floor” game!)

Old McDonald Had a Farm Finger Puppet Book
My son LOVES the song and animals so this could be THE one! 😉

(I actually bought this one…I loved doodling with it but he just liked the “pen.” He doodled everywhere else in the house except for on the actual acquadoodle…hmm, maybe it scared him?) Good thing Toys R’Us has a very lenient refund policy!

Any recommendations for parents out there who have traveled long distance with their toddler?!

In addition to finding the perfect toy/activity for a busy toddler I also compiled a list of helpful tips (some already tried and tested) that I found while perusing the net.

Helpful tips for traveling with a toddler:

  • Wipe down tray table, window, etc. with baby wipes and sanitizer to minimize the spread of germs.
  • Choose a window seat so baby can look out the window during take-off and landing (and anytime in between if you are lucky!)
  • Pack extra plastic bags for soiled items. (Been there, done that!)
  • Bring new toys (and some old favourites) and introduce baby to a new item every hour or so (this might mean A LOT of toys for a 10 hour flight!)
  • Avoid pre-boarding so your child can run around for as long as possible. *Getting on the plane sooner means your child has to sit for that much longer!
    (I never would have thought of this one! I figure I’ll have my husband board the plane first so he can bring all the items and get everything settled, then we’ll join him!)
  • Give baby water, milk, or other liquid during take-off and landing to ease ear pressure. (Works like a charm!)
  • Time your flight with baby’s sleep schedule (this doesn’t always work, but I do find that baby’s adjust really well-at least my son did the first time we traveled to Italy.)
  • Bring A LOT of snacks, such as cheerios, cereal bars, fruit cups…anything to keep them distracted (of course without overfeeding them!)
  • DON’T bring small toys…they’ll end up falling on the floor and go missing and just cause more frustration for you and your child.

What are YOUR words of wisdom???

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