Flights can be stressful enough without kids, so how do you keep the peace while you are flying with an active baby or toddler in a cramped quiet place. Of course my first advice would be to let them run wild through the airport so they are tired.
But, that's not always a realistic option. So I have collaborated with fellow world traveler & mother of two, Rasah, to help us with the ultimate guide to:
ENTERTAINING THOSE TOTS IN THE AIR!
iPad / Tablet / Magical Glowbox- You should never rely on aircrafts having personal entertainment systems, they are often broke, or don't even have them. Restrict access days in advance, download new movies and apps, and consider even getting kid size headphones so your neighbors aren't annoyed at the bubble popping sounds or elmo's voice. Either way they prefer bubbles to screams-anyday.
Gift Wrapped Goodies- Who wouldn't love getting a little gift every 15 mins? Lots of little wrapped gifts give the little ones something to look forward to on the long journey. Something small like- balloons, pipe cleaners, fuzzy pom pom balls, mini-playdoh, crayons, little cars, key chain flashlight...you get the idea- the Dollar store is a great solution for these mini buys.
Tape- can actually be really exciting (you can even buy colored tape so its like stickers) You can put tape on fingers, clothes, forehead, mouths- they love peeling it off of things. Tape the tray table closed so they can stop opening it- once you arrive to your destination you can use it to cover outlets, even double as a saftey pin.
Airline Staff- sometimes they need to stretch their legs- going to say hello to the staff at the back of the plane can be really exciting and they might have stashed away little toys, wings, and cookies. Also, you can always ask an attendant to sit with the kids so you can have some "private" time.
Comfort Toy / Blankie / Soothie- They provide comfort and a sense of security, helping children soothe themselves and cope with many everyday feelings and experiences. This really helps to ease the child on flights. Just don't forget it or even tag the toy in case it is left behind.
Mini Movie Star- Babies or Tots of all sizes are fastinated with themselves. I use my phone or iPad camera, where they can see themselves, and film away- then play it back to them. It works like a charm and they love to see themselves.
Games & Puzzles- This may seem like an obvious, but you really want to avoid anything that has small pieces, especially ones that have pieces that roll. We get crafty, by drawing picture or cutting the magazine- then try to piece it back together with that tape. Doodle pads are also great, as they have are mess free and you can't loose the pen. Ready made travel kits are also an excellent option.
Cards for Fellow Passengers- Make cards with paper, using those stickers and crayons for the passengers around you. It's likely your precious darling has been kicking the seat in front of you. Use this as a chance to make peace and it's a nice gesture and it helps your children learn to become aware of their surroundings.
Pajama's- If you have a long flight, international, red-eye, by putting your kids into their pj's so they are mentally aware its time to sleep. Prepare the kids for the nighttime (or nap) routine and you might be lucky enough that they sleep the whole time.
Finger Puppets- They are light, small, and entertaining- the can play hide and seek around the back of the chair, under the blanket, use your imagination. Sometimes fellow passengers even play along.
Airline Magazines- Let the babies rip up those airline magazines, let your toddlers draw all over them and cut them up. First I like to go through them and talk about all the pics, as they have lots of images. Have fun- they are there just for the passengers- so don't feel bad.
Functional Fashion- Luna has a necklace she wears, we can untie it and restring the beads together all the time. Its fashion and functional fun when traveling. Also, take those cheerios you packed and string them with dental floss, time them around the neck and voila an edible necklace!
Emergency Meltdown Kit- I do not reward bad behavior but in case of total meltdowns and respect to an entire plane full of other human beings, I always have handy Luna's favorite treats, ring pop, tic-tacs, chocolate- this is never given, and it's only incase of extreme meltdowns. I highly recommend a plan B.
Rasah and her gorgeous mini world travelers