11 Tips On How To Make Flying With A Toddler Stress-Free

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toddler looking out airport window at planes

Inside: Flying with a toddler can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. But there are several things you can do to minimize your stress and enjoy your flight with your little aviator.

Family travel can be stressful, especially when you are traveling with young children. Some parents cringe on the idea of flying with a toddler, especially a rambunctious one. But there are many different things you can do to help make your flight a little less stressful.

If you fly often, you know what a hassle it can be trying to get through security and the airport. Adding a toddler into the mix can seem like a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are a few tips that can help you achieve stress-free flying with a toddler.

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11 Tips For Flying with A Toddler

Pack Wisely

When flying with a toddler, you want to make sure you have everything you need easily accessible wherever you go. Keeping things like snacks or essentials for your child in your carryon bag can be a lifesaver when you’re flying.

mom and toddler on an airplane holding an ipad with child wearing headphones

Be Sure to Bring the Essentials

Toddlers can get bored quickly, and the last thing you want when flying with a toddler is him/her to be bored during a long flight. Before your trip, get a list together of all the travel-friendly toys, activities, snacks, and other essentials to prevent boredom. When you’re ready to pack, throw them into your carry on bag, so they are easily accessible mid-flight.

A few ideas of what you should pack on your carryon bag:

  • A cuddle toy or security blanket to help keep their anxiety down and make them feel more comfortable.
  • Activity sets or travel games can be useful for entertaining toddlers during the flight. Be sure to take items that don’t include too many little pieces so you can avoid losing them.
  • Healthy snacks and treats are also a great idea. If they get hungry, they can have a small snack on the plane. A small meal will also help keep their little fingers busy for a little while.
  • An empty sippy cup. You can have it filled once on the plane. It will help with ear pressure to have them drink. It will also help avoid any accidental spillage from airline cups. I recommend the Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cup for no leaks!
  • Tablets or iPads can be another excellent tool for helping keep kids busy. You can download some of their favorite apps, games, movies, or books for them to use during the flight.
  • Baby wipes or antibacterial wipes to help clean little fingers or messy hands are good to have on hand.
  • A spare set of clothes can come in handy just in case there are any accidents during the flight. You can keep them on your carryon, so they are easy to get to when you need them.
  • Pull-Ups can be a lifesaver, even for children that are potty-trained already. Especially when you are going through long lines or time restraints when getting to the bathroom can be impossible.
  • A foldable travel tray can come in handy, so they can play with their toys without them ending up all over the floor.
  • Ziplock bags can be useful for storing snacks and keeping any extra trash or clothes that may get dirty.
mom on airplane holding sleeping toddler

Fly at Night

Many people book there fights during the day. However, one of the best times to fly with a toddler is at night. During the flight, there’s a good possibility your child may fall asleep. 

On a long flight, a long nap can throw them off their sleeping schedule. If you book a flight at night, everyone can sleep during the flight without it throwing off your little one’s schedule.

If flying at night is not an option, you can always try to find a flight that may be around your toddler’s nap time.

Go in with the Right Mindset

Be prepared and remember that your toddler is still active and curious. Also, keep in mind that it doesn’t matter where, when, or what is going on, they can be cranky and sometimes tricky to handle.

This is normal.

They don’t have that adult mindset to control their emotions or know how to handle different situations.

Know that you are going to have to remind them not to do something, keep up with them, and help handle their frustrating, emotional meltdowns often.

Stay Calm

Kids can pick up on our emotions. If you stay calm, there’s a better chance that they’ll remain relaxed. If they sense that you’re upset, stressed, or not having a good time, they will pick up on that, and a good day can suddenly turn bad and full of tantrums.

Getting upset and worked up because your toddler is having a meltdown won’t help anyone.  So have as much patience and empathy as you can so you can help them through that meltdown.

Dress Comfortably

Just like you, your toddler will want to be in comfortable clothes while they are sitting for long periods on the plane. Putting kids in comfortable shoes and clothes can help keep them calm and relaxed during the flight.

When it comes to clothing, keep in mind there may be accidents and spills, so wearing play clothes may be a good option. Slip-on shoes are also perfect for children to wear, especially when going through security, in case you need to remove their shoes for any reason.

Invest in a Travel Stroller

There’s a reason you see so many parents pushing around strollers at the airport. Strollers come in handy when flying with a toddler because they are lightweight, can hold extra items, and can easily be stored when they’re not being used.

Babywear For Free Hands

If you don’t have extra hands to help you while flying with a toddler, then you need your hands readily available. Babywearing will help you navigate the airport and comfortably carry your carryon luggage, all while your toddler is safely secured to you in a carrier.

mom babywearing toddler in baby carrier

Go Over What Will Happen

Talk your child through the process of what is going to happen so they can be prepared. Let them know what will happen when going through security. Explain you might have times where you wait and any rules they need to follow when flying.

Take Advantage of Early Boarding

When you hear the call for those with children, take advantage of that, and board the plan early. Once you board the plane, you’ll have more time to get everyone situated and comfortable before the flight starts.

Check the Baggage and TSA Guidelines

Check with the airport on their baggage rules and get familiar with the TSA guidelines (like the liquid rule) so that you know exactly what to do.  You can always call the airport or check online for their baggage guidelines.

Following the TSA guidelines and their 3-1-1 rule will help you get through security smoothly without any hiccups.

Related: Important Tips You Need to Know Before Traveling With Kids

Making Flying with A Toddler Stress-Free

There you have it! 11 Tips for minimizing stress when flying with a toddler. In a perfect world, they would behave like angels…but anyone with a toddler knows some days are hit or miss. But with some pre-planning and an arsenal of items to keep them occupied, you just might fly with them again.

Do you have any tips for flying with a toddler that I missed on my list? I would love for you to share your suggestions in the comments below!

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