Flying with a Toddler

At 9 months old, Analiese boarded a plane with me and my mom to visit her great-grandma in Ocala, Florida. Again, at about 13 months old, Analiese made her second flight to Atlanta, Georgia for a family reunion. She did great both times. As she nears 21 months old, we took yet another flight with our baby girl. She’s a lot older and mobile these days, so we knew this flight would be different than the others. We weren’t sure if it was going to be different in a good or bad way, though.

We are working on listening and obeying at home. She’s doing such a great job and I’m always so proud of her when she does what she’s told, when she’s told. However, 20,000 feet in the air on a crowded plane with strangers is no place to test the boundaries. Our flight was only 1.5 hours long, but we went prepared.

I made a list of things I thought Analiese would enjoy doing on the plane went shopping at Target. I stopped at the $1 bins first and picked up a colorful snap bracelet and a sparkly notebook. I had stickers and crayons at home. I pretty much never shop for toys (thank you, grandparents!) so, I was somewhat overwhelmed when I walked down the toy aisles. There are so many cool things out there! For my artsy daughter, I decided on a kid-proof Magna-doodle and some no-dry play dough.

My mother in law had a wonderful idea that I didn’t hesitate to try: wrap each “distraction” individually. The unveiling process was a distraction in itself and kept her intrigued.

We knew she’d be content to watch an hour of Elmo’s World on Ross’s ipod, but we tried to hold off on this until we exhausted a few other options. We wanted to keep a few wrapped items for the return flight, too.

Food, of course, is always a good way to keep Analiese content, too. So, we had with us a few treats she doesn’t normally have at home:

So, how did it go?

We had to wake her up much earlier than usual for our flight there. She drank her milk at the airport and snacked on some cheerios. Once we were on the plane, we got out the notebook and some crayons. Eventually, one pack of stickers was opened and this kept her occupied and content on my lap for the majority of the flight. Once she started fussing a bit, we took out Ross’s ipod to watch some Elmo. And about 10 minutes later, they asked everyone to turn off electronic devices. Bad timing. This did not go over too well, but since she was pretty tired from waking up so early, she gave in and sucked her thumb for the remainder of the flight. Her ears didn’t bother her at all. She was awesome.

Coming off of five days of busyness and short naps, I was sure the return flight wouldn’t be so smooth. Literally, it wasn’t. It was probably the bumpiest flight I’ve ever been on. My stomach was doing flips. But, we decided to start out with Elmo and Analiese wasn’t phased AT ALL by the turbulence. Or anything for that matter. When Elmo finished, we unwrapped the Magna-doodle, which was a hit, and then some more stickers. When she popped up on the chair once the plane landed, the lady behind her didn’t even realize there was a child sitting in front of her.

So, all in all, flying with a 21 month old was a success. It definitely helps to have two adults, though!

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  1. You guys are blessed to have such a chill airplane companion. I cant even imagine. I have still not figured out how to manage smooth airplane rides which is a bit of a bummer since we fly about once a month. I love the wrapping gifts idea. I think Adelaide might be old enough for that to help.

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