Q: We’re taking our 2-year-old twins on a plane for the first time next month. What’s the best way to keep them entertained for the 3-hour flight? — KW
A: Two 2-year-olds! That should definitely test my toddler flying management skills! But never fear, I’ve been there (at least with one toddler), and I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve for anyone flying with tots and toddlers.
Here’s an easy array of packable options to keep any toddler happy for at least a few hours:
- Stickers — Stock up on these cheap and easy diversions in an array of everything from farm animals to Disney princesses (whatever your kids are into) and let them peel and stick to their hearts content. If you can get them to stick to sticking on themselves, clean up is extra easy — but I’ve never had an issue pulling stickers off of cushions. (I’ve seen a great variety of super inexpensive stickers at Amazing Savings).
- Washable crayons and coloring books — Note: this is not the time to experiment with messy markers or crayons that don’t clean up easily. But washable crayons? Perfection. Even if your kids color all over the tray table, clean up is a cinch (note — never, and I mean never, let your kids touch that tray table without wiping it down first. Or better yet, bring disposable placemats to cover the rarely cleaned tray).
- Books — A plane trip is a great time to snuggle up with a book, especially during take off to distract kids who might be nervous about flying. With no cell phones ringing or work to attend to, it’s the perfect time to read out loud without distractions.
- Stuffed animals and a blanket — Soft and familiar, a few of your kids’ favorite stuffed animals can make even the largest airplane feel like your toddlers’s coziest spot at home. And if you want your kids to nap (OK, they might not, but lets dream big), be sure to have something for them to snuggle with if they choose to close their eyes.
- Portable Picnic — Bring a selection of tastes you know your kids like (i.e. goldfish, cheerios, pretzels) and perhaps a few things that take a little work to eat (string cheese, applesauce cups or squeezees that are less than 4 oz, clementines) and set up a small picnic on the always entertaining folding tray table (see note above about wiping it down first).
- Surprise Presents — Hit the dollar store for a few items your kids have never seen before (think: stacking cups or toys cars), wrap them and stash them away where they can’t be spotted. Offer them up as a reward for listening to the flight attendants or staying in their seats. A present to unwrap?! The best treat, really, no matter what’s inside!
- Electronic entertainment — OK, you’ve tried everything else and they still won’t sit still? NOW break out the iPads (in a well-cushioned case) and other electronic video players. Remember to bring soft, over-the-ear headphones since little ears can’t tolerate ear buds.
Finally, pack some patience and keep your eye on the prize: your final destination! Have a great trip!
Have a family travel question?
Email Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org