How to Travel with a Toddler
Taking a plane trip with an energetic toddler can be a real challenge. Be prepared for these common tantrum triggers.
The fear factor. Go over in advance will happen at the airport and on the plane. Don't forget to discuss what you'll encounter at security checkpoints. If a child gets frightened by uniformed guards and frustrated by the long lines, that can start things off on a bad note.
Boredom and hunger. Bring healthy snacks, such as raisins, cheese sticks, dry cereal, and animal crackers. Load a backpack with favorite toys, books, and crayons. Active kids thrive on novelty, so wrap up a few new trinkets.
Boarding too fast. Although many airlines offer priority boarding for passengers with young kids, don't rush to get on the plane. There may be delays both on the runway and in the air, and your child doesn't need to be cooped up any longer than necessary.
Too much sitting. When it's safe, walk the aisles with your child. Don't worry about annoying other passengers -- pacing is better than letting your child scream. If your toddler has a meltdown, apologize to fellow travelers. But remind yourself that every parent on board knows what you're going through.
Hyper to Mellow in Three Steps
- Get close. Look your child in the eye and hold her firmly by the shoulder as you speak to her.
- Keep it simple. Now's not the time to explain why her actions are dangerous. Just say "No running" or "No climbing" in a gentle but no-nonsense voice.
- Give her a say. If possible, offer options. ("Do you want to hold my hand or hold onto the stroller?" or "Do you want to play on the swings or the slide?")