Spring break this year fell the same week as my son’s 3rd Birthday and I wanted him to have an amazing time. I planned a trip for him to visit his Godmother and to enjoy some wonderful places in California. The trip was a 5-day trip and we had an absolute ball. We flew from Baltimore to California on a direct flight and besides him getting a little too tired it wasn’t bad. The flight back is a different story though. It was the longest day that I have ever had in the airport. We arrived at the airport at about 4:45am and our flight was scheduled to depart at 7:15am. The problem was that we fly standby, because my husband works for the airlines. This day we were bumped multiple times because of storms and the Holiday weekend. It was here that I learned some things about managing a toddler in the airport!
5 Flight Tips:
- Pack plenty of different things to entertain them. When waiting for extended periods in the airport or on flights, having backup books and toys always comes in handy. During our time, Kristopher played with his tablet, Spider-Man, toy animals, and read some books!
- Be prepared for them to get antsy. It’s difficult for me to sit still for long, so it really doesn’t shock me when sitting in a seat for a 5-hour flight gets difficult for a 3-year-old. Once they get off that plane, they are ready to stretch their legs. Before, the flight and after I allowed Kristopher to have short races in not so busy areas. As we moved from one terminal to another, I would also play racing games with him to help him keep up with my pace!
- Make sure that they eat and have plenty of snacks! Kristopher, is always a much better person when he has a full tummy. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of traveling, especially when flying, but food is important. Make sure you eat as well. Parents are much more patient when we aren’t hungry.
- Expect to talk to lots of people!!! People seem to be drawn to children and enjoy having conversing with them. It seemed like everywhere we went, we met someone different who had something to share with Kristopher. There were times where he was finally quiet and I just wanted to zone out, but was stuck entertaining a new person Kristopher had met.
- Ensure that your toddler is sociable and knows personal information about himself and his family. During this recent flight, I developed a bad migraine that made my vision blurry, my head pound, and made me throw up. I remember taking off for the trash can and dragging poor Kristopher threw tons of people with me. Before my entire world came pouring out of me, I heard him yelling mommy, and realized that he was no longer holding my hand. I was paralyzed with fear. I hunted everywhere for him and started to sweat. Just as I was about to lose it, I heard my name called over the intercom, telling me that Kristopher was at Gate 16 waiting for me. I was so relieved. The customer service representatives where amazed at how much he knew. He told them that they were strangers and that his “mommy was sick.” He gave them his full name and my name. He was also able to tell them his age and that he was flying home to Baltimore. I was extremely proud that he could give them the information needed for me to find him, and that he speaks so well.
Moms, remember when flying with little ones, we can never be too safe or too prepared. I learned a lot from our trip and I look forward to creating even easier future trips.
-Kristina (Kristopher’s Mom)