Expect to actively entertain your toddler during the flight. Toddlers have short attention spans and need near-constant engagement to stay happy. If you’re lucky your child will sleep for part of the trip. I wasn’t lucky, Ella very rarely slept. (Well, I was lucky because she was always very good. But she refused to sleep.) As I advised with packing for infants, packing minimally is not really the best thing. Pack everything you might need but keep it as small and light as possible. Try to keep everything easily accessible so you don’t have to search for things when your child is getting impatient.
Most airlines’ inflight policies state that when using devices with audio (DVD players, iPod touch) you are required to use headsets or turn off the volume. Please remember that not everyone wants to listen to toddler shows. Get headsets for your toddler. If he refuses to wear them let him watch the shows with no volume. When he’s interested enough in hearing it he will wear the headsets. When Ella first started wearing the headsets she would wear them for about 10 minutes at a time. Then on to the next activity!
What to pack in the backpack:
Overnight diapers are a must. Sometimes you are unable to change a diaper when you would like to due to turbulence and the seatbelt sign. Whenever I was unable to change Ella’s diaper in the last hour of the flight her diaper leaked on descent. It must be the change in air pressure. An overnight diaper usually solves the leaking problem. Another idea is to put a plastic diaper cover over the diaper.
What to pack in the lunchbox:
|Two milk boxes; two juice boxes; cookies; Luna or Balance Bars; lollipops; fruit strips; fruit snacks; M&M’s; applesauce; Grammy Sammy; Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches; Cheese sticks; plate; toddler utensils; bib; antibacterial wipes; diaper wipes|
The trade off for the convenience of bringing your own milk/juice boxes from home is having to separate those at security and step aside for additional screening on them. I felt it was usually worth it. Otherwise bring a sippy cup to fill with beverages you purchase in the airport. Many airlines do not cater milk on their flights that depart after 10am so plan to provide your own.
If you follow these lists you should have practically everything you need. I usually bring even more food and small toys but probably only end up using half of them. It’s always better to pack more than you need than to be in need of something. Again, just keep items small so you can manage your bags and your potentially squirmy toddler.
(This post was written by me and first published at The Third Boob. Special thanks to them for allowing me to include it here.)