Two parents, two grandparents, one toddler, two four-hour flights. Here is how we survived and even had a happy family experience through it! I could not have done it without wonderful friends who have been there and were more than willing to share their knowledge. After all, why reinvent the wheel? However, not everything works for everyone. Not everything goes how you would expect. So, below is a list of the suggestions that I was offered by the wonderful people in my life (if suggestions were made more than once, this is indicated by the number of votes).
- What to bring and what not to bring: that is the question. You have enough to bring, don’t overpack.a) Check a stroller, check a carseat, check, check, check! You can check one of each at the gate for free! Feel free to triple check with your airline, but I have not found any that do not allow this. Companies do make gadgets to make going through airports easier with carseats, but we propped ours on a rolling suitcase and never looked back! Okay, okay, maybe once or twice…but just to make sure it was still there!b) Ask your hotel what they have for your little one to borrow. We always use the hotel’s pack-n-plays for night time and naps. We do bring her pillow case, blanket and a sheet. This is more to make her feel at home than anything else, plus these then take up almost no room in the suitcase, so it’s worth it. She does tend to be a good sleeper anyway, but I try not to take chances in this department.
2. iPad with Headphones (8 votes)
We brought old favorites and a couple of new movies. I was shocked that she was not interested in watching a movie. Initially, this terrified me! I figured that was a sure way to occupy 90 minutes, but when it almost immediately failed, I went on to the other iPad idea: new game apps.
b) New Game Apps
This was probably the best overall result in terms of the time that it occupied our 2.5 year old. I’m going to give a big should out to Toca Boca games right here! She love playing them and she still does! There are some free ones and some paid ones. Since we weren’t sure if she would like them, we started with the free ones, and those are fantastic. If she eventually figures out that there are more out there, I would be happy to purchase them. Great products!
2. Lots of Snacks! (9 votes)
a) Bananas: Yes! Nutritious and they take a while to eat.
b) Raisins: Yes! Nutritious and they take a while to eat
c) Suckers: Yes! Although we’re lacking in nutrition here, they are great with helping during take off and landing because kids may have their “ears pop’. This way they are distracted and helping the cause.
d) Tuperware of cup-fruit (grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and so on: Yes! Nutritious and they take a while to eat.
e) Little Journey Organic Pouches: Yes! Nutritious – I especially like the ones with veggies because vegetables can be kinda of tricky to pack efficiently. Even though they are over the liquid ounce limit, they are ‘okayed’ for the little ones.
3. ‘Fidget Toys’:
a) Play-dough: Yes! I wrapped up some of the mini tubs of play dough and they were wonderful to occupy some time while using some creativity and imagination.
b) Dollar Store or Target Dollar Bin goodies: Yes! See what they’ve got! We lucked out with coloring books, stickers, coloring kits, magnet sets, and window clings!
c) Window Clings: YES! We used them on the windows and we also used them on our magnetic board (in case the sun is to bright or the window is too hard to reach). Either way, they were a winner! We bought them for $1 each in the Target Dollar Bins and wrapped them up as gifts.
4. Books (7 votes): Yes! We cannot get enough of books in our house, so I knew this one would be winner. Wrap up new books and even some old favorites.
5. Magna Doodle: We actually did not try this one. We had too many other toys packed that were a little more compact, but I can completely see why this could be amazing.
7. Small magnetic tray (brownie pan) w/ magnets: Yes! I actually found this type of thing in the Target Dollar bins for $3. We had ones that came with letter and number magnets, so we had some learning opportunities here. I’ll take it!
8. Benydryl (5 votes)
We brought it, in case our daughter had any issues with her ears, but we did not need it at all. One idea to keep in mind is that Benydryl does make some kids more energetic. So, if your child has not had Benadryl before, it’s not 100% garnered to have the sleepy effect.
9. Color and Draw (7 votes)
a) Magic coloring books: Yes! Found one at Target; you can also get them at Wagreens. These are not the more price efficient coloring options at about $5 a pop for a small pad of paper, but our 2.5 year old LOVES them! Worth it!
b) Stickers: We didn’t even get to these! I was saving them for last, thinking they were a sure-thing. But, truth-be-told, we did not experiment with stickers on the plane.
10. Vodka for You: We actually did not try this one either. But, again, I can totally see why this one could be amazing as well!