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Flying can be scary for some people, while for others, it’s just plain overwhelming. Try flying with a toddler for the first time…now that’s a little bit of both. It’s truly hard to tell how calm or crazy it will be in advance. Just remember that every child is different.
I love to fly. I absolutely believe that it is one of the best ways to travel. Albert on the other hand? Flying can make him a bit anxious. So, I compromise and have yet to fly somewhere with him. We normally just make the drives.
In 2018, I took Adam on his very first flight to Sacramento, Ca. I was nervous, but not alone. My sister-in-law flew with us which made it less stressful. Of course I took to Pinterest for ideas and reassurance. I will share ways that I prepared for the flight and what items to pack in our carry on bag.
Leading up to take off, I started to talk to Adam about flying and airplanes. I wanted to get him familiar with the idea beforehand so that he wouldn’t be as scared. We pointed out airplanes that flew by. We yelled, “welcome to San Diego,” and “bye, visit again,” while waving as they passed by.
The most important preparation I think you need to do is get your carry on ready. So, here are my top 5 items that you need:
1. Coloring Supplies
I took a few pieces of printer paper and cut them into fours. I stuck them into a ziplock baggy, along with a few crayons. It’s all about packing light (not bulky) and easily accessible during a flight.
2. Pre-downloaded Movies
Netflix has an amazing feature where you can download movies and tv shows for offline streaming. Depending on how long your flight will be, download accordingly. I download movies that Adam loves that are available under that feature. You can get headphones that are more suitable for toddler ears here.
3. Educational Apps
I personally love learning apps. Anything that has to do with colors, shapes, numbers and animals.
You can either choose books about flying, airplanes or your child’s favorite story. One or two books should be good enough to bring. I recommend that they are light and not too big or heavy.
I like to ask Adam what toy he’d want to bring. Nothing noisy. More like a stuffed animal or something small and easy to stuff into a bag.
Along with these items, you will need to be able to pack necessary items as well, like diapers, wipes, bottles (if needed) or sippy cups, water and snacks. You are allowed to bring along food and water as long as they are unopened and you notify TSA as you go through security. Be sure to check with your airline and airport’s policies beforehand.
We flew with Southwest and I love that seats are first come first serve and how they allow families to board first. I chose seats behind the wings and I allowed Adam to sit by the window because he showed a major interest in looking out. I was actually surprised by that because I thought he would be scared to look.
He was a little freaked out by the take off and landing because it is super noisy and more bumpier than once in the air, but I distracted him with apps and movies. The pressure in the cabin didn’t have much of a negative affect on his ears. He never displayed any discomfort at all throughout the. But again, every kid is different, and you know your child best so prepare as needed.
All-in-all it went really well. I was expecting more breakdowns, but I think being prepared ahead of time made all the difference. I definitely recommend taking into consideration of flight lengths and preparing according to that. Make sure the items, movies or apps that you bring along are ones that your little one already enjoys. Stray away from anything new because flying is already something new to them. Make it familiar ahead of time, too.
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