Air Travel and the Toddler

If you are traveling on a plane with a toddler you can be guaranteed two things: 500 miles per hour is NOT fast enough, and buckling up may not prevent you from attempting to jump out of the plane mid-flight (but that’s what flight attendants are for, right?).

Traveling with a tot under three? Then prepare to pack your patience and a few of these other helpful items:

Laminated Photo Cards: I make my own. Simply choose your toddler’s favorite relatives and friends and laminate their photos to create a stack of cards. Not only are the cards affordable and simple to make, but they also serve as a great way to introduce relatives that your kids may be meeting for the first time.

Photo Album: If you don’t have time to make your own laminated cards, then purchase a mini photo album (you can get them for less than a dollar at Wal-Mart) or splurge a little and purchase Baby Einstein’s chew-friendly album and fill it with your tot’s favorite pics.

Magnet Books: These books feature multiple backgrounds (beach, classroom, living room, etc.) and magnets that complete the scene. My daughter’s favorite is “Elmo’s Big Day” where he and his friends from Sesame Street visit various kid (monster)-friendly spots.

Mini Chalkboards: These are also cheap and easy to tote. Your toddler can draw or scribble with different color chalk, and then erase his masterpiece when he’s ready to draw another.

Plastic Eggs: Fill colorful plastic Easter eggs with rice, and then secure them with tape. Your toddler will have a ball shaking the eggs mid-flight. You could also fill the eggs will little treats (small candy, nuts, dried fruit) or small plastic toys, such as mini dinosaurs or Matchbox cars.

Remember, developmentally, most toddlers are going through a “power stage,” so be sure to allow them to make some decisions, such as which snacks they want to pack or what book they want to read on the plane.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.