9 Mom-Tested Tricks for Traveling With a Toddler

9 Mom-Tested Tricks for Traveling With a Toddler

Have an easy, tantrum-free flight with these genius, mom-tested tricks.

By Nicole Fabian-Weber

“I love flying with my toddler!” said no one ever. While traveling with a little one can be a blast, getting there is often no bueno. Unless you have an unusually docile, non-fidgety, non-emotional 2- or 3-year-old who's perfectly content, um, sitting, odds are, you're in for a treat when you take your kiddo aboard a plane. And when I say "treat," I mean "wild ride." And when I say "wild ride," I mean "a few hours of insanity."

But! The good news is, it gets easier the older they get, and there definitely are things you can do in the meantime to make plane traveling as painless as possible. It could be -- dare I even say it? -- kind of fun.

We asked nine traveling mamas for their secrets to flying with young children. Heed this advice the next time you jet off somewhere!

1. "When I flew with my son when he was little, I would pack 'surprises' for the flight. New books, coloring books, games, etc. that he had never seen before. Then, I would pull them out one by one during the course of the flight to keep him occupied. Also, a DVD player with headphones and extra snacks also worked wonders!" -- Mary F., mom of a boy

2. "I buy each kid a new bag filled with activity books, crayons, mazes, and stickers. Both bags have themes of what they love. Princesses for my daughter, cars for my son. It keeps them occupied for the duration. Phew!" -- Michele Z., mom of girl and boy twins

3. "I talk about a super special 'treat' my son can have a few days before we fly -- something he can only have when we're on the plane. Then, shortly after takeoff, I break out this magical snack -- it can be cookies, whatever -- and he always seems to be pretty excited and content." -- Lauren B., mom of a boy

4. "Unlimited screen time! It's the only time I allow that. I'll download a bunch of shows my daughters have never seen before and let them go to town on the flight." -- Ilene P., mom of two girls

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5. "My kids have always been pretty OK on flights, but a few years ago when I flew, I brought a bag of leftover Halloween candy with me to pass out to strangers if they started acting out. Who can be mad at anyone who's giving them candy?!" -- Justine F., mom of a boy and a girl

6. "I know some people like to coordinate their flights with the time their kid sleeps, but I NEVER do. My daughter would never sleep on a plane, so I make sure we always fly well before or well after her nap, so she's well-rested and feeling good." -- Courtney A., mom of a girl

7. "I make sure I bring all of my daughter's 'lovies,' and I usually throw in a new one she's never seen before. This way, when she's going through her backpack, she discovers it on her own -- keeps her occupied for hours, and it's SO cute!" -- Jade P., mom of two girls and a boy

8. "Whenever I fly with my son, I don't give him any snacks until we get on the plane. I know, it sounds mean, but this way, he's hungry and eating keeps him occupied for a while!" -- Erin S., mom of a boy

9. "I make it all about my 3-year-old daughter's 'baby.' I tell her she needs to take care of baby on the flight, feed her, rock her to sleep, etc. This always works, and it gives her something to do throughout the whole flight!" -- Laura V., mom of a girl

What tricks do you have for flying with a toddler?

Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a sweet toddler girl and a baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications. Right now, she’s probably fantasizing about sleep.

Image ©iStock.com/Nadezhda1906

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