First time flying with your little one? Here's a dose of courage and encouragement for you!
Flying with toddlers and babies can seem scarier than a pack of wild monkeys, but don't let fear hold you back from exploring the world with your pint-sized adventurers.
While the thought of meltdowns and chaos at 30,000 feet might send shivers down your spine, there's no need to deprive your family of amazing travel experiences.
With a dash of wit, a sprinkle of preparation, and a whole lot of patience, you can conquer the fear and soar to new heights of family travel enjoyment.
1. Embrace the Fear and Stop Caring About What Strangers (Karens) Think
It's natural to have concerns about flying with toddlers and babies, especially given the potential for disruption during a flight. However, it's essential to acknowledge that these fears often stem from our worries about what other people will think of us as adults, rather than the well-being of our children.
But let's face it, there will always be those opinionated folks no matter what you do. So, instead of worrying about their judgment, let's prioritize the well-being and happiness of our children. After all, their comfort and needs come first, and we can handle any turbulence that comes our way with grace and a sense of humor.
Remember, you're doing your best as a caring parent, and that's all that matters.
2. Prepare Ahead of Time When Flying with Little Ones
To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, it's essential to pack strategically.
Start by including all the essentials: diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes for both you and your little one.
Don't forget to pack enough formula, breast milk, or baby food for the duration of the flight, along with their favorite snacks and a spill-proof sippy cup.
Remember to bring comfort items such as a blanket, pacifier, or stuffed animal to soothe your baby during the flight.
And for those unexpected moments, pack some plastic bags, extra wipes, and 1-2 extra changes of clothes.
Lastly, include entertainment items like books, toys, and a tablet with child-friendly apps or videos to keep your baby engaged and entertained throughout the journey.
With a well-packed carry-on, you'll be well-prepared for your baby's first flight and ready to create lasting memories together.
PRO TIP: in a small ziplock bag I used to put a diaper, a few wipes and a trash bag. I'd make up a few ziplock bags like this and then have them in an easy to reach section of my baby bag (or my own purse). When it's time to change, taking just the ziplock bag is much easier than wrangling a full diaper bag, especially because there is never anywhere clean to put it down.
2. Plan Ahead like a Master Detective
To ensure smooth sailing through the friendly skies, it's time to unleash your detective skills.
Investigate the airline's family-friendly facilities, from bassinets to pre-boarding perks. If lounge access is available to you (check out your credit card perks or buying a day pass if the lounge offers it), do that! Lounges are clean and have everything you need. You can change baby, shower baby, heat milk, pack snack containers from the buffet, recharge devices and more.
PRO TIP: we always stop at the lounge right before boarding and then again right after landing. Everyone gets a restroom break and a snack top up. Sometimes Mama gets a little wine (a serving of fruit right?!) 🍇
Create a survival kit with all the essentials: diapers, wipes, snacks, and toys that will keep your little ones entertained.
Don't forget the secret weapon—comfort items from home that provide a touch of familiarity in the unknown territory of the airplane. With a well-thought-out plan in place, you'll be ready to tackle any turbulence that comes your way.
3. There is no such thing as too much screen time in the air
Boredom is the enemy of peaceful flying.
Arm yourself with an arsenal of toys, books, and games to keep your tiny travelers entertained throughout the journey.
Engage their imagination with interactive games like "I Spy" or let their creativity soar with coloring books. And for those extra challenging moments, unleash the power of technology with child-friendly apps or videos.
Remember, you're not just a parent; you're an entertainment guru who can turn even the longest flights into a joyous carnival in the sky.
PRO TIP: Download your fave Netflix or Disney programs and take a charging pack. I was the parent that said "no screen-time before 2 years of age". Now I'm the parent that believes screen time is mine to use when needed.
4. Communicate, Smile, and Win Hearts
Communication is key to diffusing any potential tantrum time bombs.
Talk to your little ones about the upcoming adventure, the exciting destination, and what to expect during the flight.
Reassure them that even superheroes need to buckle up for takeoff and landing.
And don't forget the magic of smiles—your secret weapon for winning hearts and creating a positive atmosphere.
Even if things don't go as planned, a smile and a sprinkle of humor can make the skies friendlier for everyone on board.
PRO TIP: I have my child repeat back to me the plan of action for the plan... no shouting, inside voices, movies are ready, stay sitting, say "hello friends" as we meet all the new passengers around us. If we are on the same page, it's always smoother. Any new plans or instructions are usually seen as a blindside by toddlers.
5. Rally Support from Fellow Travelers + Flight Attendants
Remember, you're not alone in this daring expedition.
Seek support from fellow parents who have conquered the skies with their little aviators.
Share tips, stories, and laughter to boost your confidence and remind yourself that you're part of a fearless tribe.
And if all else fails, don't hesitate to call upon the superpowers of flight attendants and airline staff who are there to assist you on your heroic journey.
PRO TIP: If you are nervous or anxious - let the flight attendant know as you board. If it's your first flight - always let the flight attendant know, even if you think everything is going to be fine. The little extra care they give is so amazing. I took Houston on his first flight alone with me when he was 14 weeks old. The flight attendant asked me if she could hold him while I went to the bathroom or ate my meal. And I let her!
Flying with toddlers and babies may seem daunting - to the point that you deny you all that opportunity- but with a positive mindset, a sprinkle of wit, and a pinch of preparation, you can overcome your fears and embark on incredible travel adventures with your little ones.