Flying with a “Big Girl” aka toddler
By Elaine N. Schoch
My daughter, Princess One, is becoming a well-versed little traveler but we still have our moments. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned the hard way. I’d love to hear any tips you may have for traveling (flying) with kids.
Getting Through Security with Kids
Very few kids like to be separated from their dolls, shoes and blankets at the same time. Especially mine.
- Take care of yourself first. Get all of your things in the baskets before even attempting to get your kid out of the stroller.
- Make sure to pull out any juice boxes, sippy cups or bottles – these can go through security (filled with liquid) but they must be tested with a litmus strip (minus the sealed juice boxes).
- If there is a dedicated family line for security – go through it. It’s usually faster and the security personal are nicer.
- Give your child a job to do. Get a basket for their things and let them put everything in it themselves. Don’t do this if there is a HUGE line behind you or just do it fast. In other words, put the basket onto the belt. Pick the kid and all her things up, tell her they have to go through a special tunnel to make sure they’re all clean and have her set everything in there. It will help you a TON if you talk about doing this on your way to the airport, when waiting in line and right before.
- The last few times we’ve flown the TSA worker has offered my daughter a sticker after she goes through the metal detector. This helps. You may consider having one in your pocket as a treat, just in case.
I’m not a big proponent of having my daughter play with my iPhone. It’s my toy and I don’t like to share. (I’m also torn on the controversy in the news about kids and iPhones.) I have to be honest though, I’ve found this little magical device instantly calms her when we have doctor appointments or when she’s read every book we’ve brought on an airplane and needs something to do. On this last trip we took I actually gave her my old iPhone to play with so I could keep mine. I loaded it with her favorite games and a few TV shows – Wonder Pets, Dora and Elmo – and topped it off with some hot pink earphones. Seriously, she was one happy (and perfect) kid!
A few iPhone apps I’ve found that not only entertain her but also offer some educational aspect are:
Snacks, snacks and more snacks.
I’m a bit over the top here mainly because my daughter has a peanut allergy, which limits what we can purchase for her to snack on. I also hate smashed snacks, yes they taste the same but to a two-year-old they look ‘yucky’ and cause more of a mess than they should. I typically pack snacks in Tupperware dishes to avoid the smashing. While I do grab things from the pantry, I try to get a few ‘special’ treats that we don’t usually have. Keep in mind packing snacks that will help kids with their ears as you take-off and land. My daughter isn’t into gum yet so I’ve found Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunnies work as do raisins.
As I mentioned above, juice boxes and other drinks for kids can go through security so take advantage of it – save some money and spillage on the airplane. They’re also great to help with ear pain as you take-off and land; the sucking helps to pop the ears. (If you’re traveling with an infant give them a bottle as you start to take off and when you begin to land.)
I’d love to hear any tips you may have for traveling (flying) with kids.