We fly with the kids a fair amount, and at this point, we’ve weathered the storm of inconsolable babies and night terrors on a plane. And we survived to tell the tale (I’m not dramatic, at all LOL) …and I believe we finally figured out how to keep the little ones content, even happy, throughout the (majority of the) journey.
Here are my THREE easy strategies to help avoid the mid-air toddler meltdown:
Have Ready-to-Nosh Food on Hand. This seems like a no brainer (of course we’re going to have food to feed these tiny humans?!), but I’m talking about pre-washed, peeled, seeded, cut, portioned, you name it. Ready.to.eat. And a colorful rainbow of options is the best bet. Enter EatPakd, wholesome meals prepared and stored in convenient and portable little containers. Each meal has a main option, a few sides (fruit + veg) and a little dessert, and you can separate each of the four containers for your little ones’ to select and eat. Genius! As an added bonus, these meals make delish adult snacks for those late night wrapping sessions.
Don’t have EatPakd available in your area? Think colorful and variety to help satisfy your little traveler’s appetite. My go-to travel snacks include fare like baby carrots, pea pods, apple slices with PB, dried fruits (raisins and mango slices are our fave), mixed nuts, apple sauce pouches, yogurt tubes and string cheese. For the day of travel, I stash all my individually wrapped goodies in one big clear food bag (with a small freezer pack, if necessary) so I can easily find what I need from my seat.
Surprise and Delight. A good family friend gave us this tip years ago as we headed to California and we’ve used it ever since. Bring a handful of small new or current toys – like books, coloring pads, stickers and play-doh – wrapped in colorful tissue paper or holiday wrap and present them one at a time over the course of the flight. In the past, I’ve spent $5 buying some cute books and coloring activities from the Dollar Store or the Bullseye section at Target, but with Christmas around the corner, I plan to simply wrap a few current toys (a mixture of favorites and ones hidden at the bottom of their toy bins). Half of the fun is tearing the paper off!
Become BFFs With A Crew Member. Sorry, you can’t necessarily plan ahead and pack this in your shoulder bag. 🙂 Being a little extra congenial and friendly can go a long way. I think we’ve all been guilty of taking on these alter egos when we step from the jet bridge onto the plane. But ’tis the season. While the hustle and bustle of airport travelers may get you stressed, putting on a smile and sharing a kind word can make someone’s day. And the favor may be returned to you perhaps in the form of bonus snacks and beverages or an extra hand to hold your fussy little one.
Now that I think I figured it all out, I’m sure my kids will surprise me with some new tactics up their sleeves. But these three tips will at least get me through take-off.
Do you have some creative travel tips to keep your kids happy? If so, please share!
Safe holiday travels!