Five Tips for Flying with a Toddler

Tomorrow Adaline and I are headed to Texas to visit my husband. We will be taking about a 3 hour direct flight.

Oh boy. Let me tell you my anxiety is already as high as the plane about it. This will be the second time I’m flying alone with her. We made this same trip in May. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

First things first. Let’s just rip the bandaid off. Traveling with a child is hard. You can do all the things and it can still be a total mess. So just keep in mind if your flight is going every way but how you hoped. It is temporary! It seems to be never ending, but you won’t be stuck in that flying tube forever.

I always stress about how crying may affect those around me. Truthfully, I’ve never had anyone give me the stink eye. Anyone who judges clearly has never been around a child before. So my first and most important tip. Do your best to remain calm even when you are frustrated and tired. If someone throws you a stank face. Give them a smile.


The first time Adaline flew she was about 4 months old and we flew from Ohio to Arizona. Just shy of 5 hours. She needed a nap during this flight. This was the breaking point. It was so loud she couldn’t sleep. Everytime I’d get her down an announcement would come on. She would wake up and scream. Now that Adaline is older she only takes one or two naps a day. So we try and fly before or after she needs a nap. A lot of moms suggested to me before that first flight to try and fly when she would sleep. You know your child better than anyone. If they are the type of kid who can sleep through anything. Then fly during their nap or bedtime. Problem solved. If your child is like mine, read on.

Here’s what I did last flight and what I’ll add on this flight.

  1. I wore her in the airport and timed our arrival so she would nap on me BEFORE we had to be on the plane. She didn’t take a super long nap, but it was enough that she didn’t need to sleep during our three hour flight. I’ll be doing this again tomorrow with fingers crossed.
  2. Snacks. All the snacks you can think of that they might want. I had no issues bringing snacks and a sippy cup of milk. Nothing makes a toddler rage more than being trapped in a too small seat and being hangry.
  3. New toys! Before our last flight I purchased a few new toys that I could easily stash in her diaper bag. It helped to keep her occupied a little longer since they were novel. I searched for “Montessori” toys as they are open ended and can keep a child focused longer. This time around I bought a new coloring book and crayons since she’s been all about coloring the past few weeks.
  4. The tablet. I know screens are a touchy subject with some. I’m the first to say, they should be used sparingly. Adaline gets to watch videos on my kindle during traveling only. This includes longer car rides and of course flying. It keeps her distracted for long periods of time and it’s worth it for my sanity! If you have Netflix or Amazon Prime you can download videos to your tablet so you can watch them without wifi.
  5. Adaline is still nursing a few times a day. So I attempt to get her to nurse during take off and landing to help with the ear pressure, but she usually doesn’t nurse long enough. So last time I cupped my hands over her ears and it seemed to help somewhat. I was given a suggestion by a friend to try and put sound reducing ear muffs on to help with this. I will be trying this tomorrow!

I’m ways open for some new ideas and tips for traveling with kids. Tell me what has and hasn’t worked for you!

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