With our impending sunny holiday I thought it would be a good time to compile my list of toddler travel essentials. In part as a helpful guide and in part as a check list for myself. In this post I will highlight some of the more useful items for long plane and car journeys. I will cover the suitcase essentials in a different blog post.
Kids get bored. It is a fact of life and it is understandable. I remember how long days used to feel as a child, the 6 weeks summer holidays went on forever! As an adult things seem so much quicker. When time appears to go a little slower it is hard to maintain interest and concentration on something for that long. Whilst I would be more than happy to read or watch Netflix for an entire 12 hour flight I suspect my daughters would be less keen. Fortunately we are only venturing as far as Turkey this year so our flight is a short haul one. But even so I will need to ensure there is enough entertainment packed for them.
I thought I would cover these first as they spent quite a bit of time in the news not so long ago. Yes these are banned on some flights. Check this USEFUL LINK to find out if your flight is going to be effected. On our flight out we will be fine but there is a risk our flight home from Turkey will mean we cannot use the iPad. Like many other parents this makes me shudder with fear. Although I fully understand why they are banned and to be honest I would like to be kept safe and have a couple of hours of bored toddlers/preschoolers.
The joys of iPads are endless. There is an app for everything. Does your child like drawing? There is an app for that. Do they like learning games? There is an app for that. Do they like cartoons? You can pay for some or you can download some off Netflix now to store on the iPad. They can watch these over and over to their hearts content. Of course thanks to the aforementioned iPad ban on some flights I am going to have to pack a few more emergency entertainment supplies.
Notebook and Crayons
Most kids can be kept occupied for at least a little while with a notepad and something to draw with. I have opted to crayons in our hand luggage as they are not so permanent should a child decide the chair is much more fun to draw on than the paper I got them.
My two love books and whilst I don’t read to them as much as I should the plane is a good time to rectify that. Of course I don’t want to carry any more than a couple of books so I am prepared to have to read them over and over. I can’t promise my enthusiasm won’t wane but I will do my best not to let every ounce of sanity die inside after the fourth round of the tongue twister Oi Frog.
To the best of my knowledge phones are not yet banned. This could be a window into the life saving apps and cartoons but at the very least it allows you to listen to music. Music can be very calming when used in the right situation. Of course I hope my fellow passengers understand that they either listen to my daughters screech an out of tune ‘Let It Go’ (complete with words missing and made up) or they have the joys of listening to them cry and moan. I also have an album of nursery rhymes, which may cause me emotional distress in general but at least we can all sit and sing incy wincy spider with the moves and all.
I’m saving this one for ‘desperate times calls for desperate measures’ because the toy I have in mind as a few parts and the idea of retrieving them from the floor is not appealing. I will be packing the girls Minnie Mouse Dress Up doll. This Minnie is about 4 inches tall and come with interchangeable cloths. The girls love dressing her up and are usually good at taking turn with it. It is also very compact and lightweight so in many ways it is idea. I just worry that we may loose a shoe or two if we are not careful. It will also serve as a little entertainment at the resort whilst we are out for dinner. Of course we will still have the trust iPads so we may not need it 😉
Sometimes a good snack can actually keep them occupied for a while. Some airlines do really good picnic boxes but these can cost quite a bit of money. Stocking up in the airport terminal before boarding can be the best way. I do a mixture of healthy and unhealthy that way I have a few big brides up my sleeve. I also get lolly pops or chewy sweets for take off and landing but they are very rationed. We were on a flight last year and a mum fed her kids a huge bag of Harribo each (at the beginning of the flight). No judgement here, you gotta do what you gotta do. The only issue was that after they had finished her three boys were bouncing off the walls on a sugar rush and she was struggling to calm them down and contain them. She certainly made her own flight more stressful than it needed to be. Once we are off the plane and on our way to the resort if the girls want to go mad with sweets I am less likely to stop them. It is their holiday too.
Listen to Your Gut
These items work for us. My daughter will easily occupy themselves for four hours with these. I appreciate that is not the case with all toddlers. So what will help? Take it with you. Don’t forget you can’t take too much with you to check in as hand luggage but there is no limit to what you can take on that you bought in the terminal. Boots do a great preorder service as do Waterstones. Any bigger items you could pick up after you go through security. As parents, it is anything for an easy life and learning to pick your battles. Flights can be stressful but with a little planning and a little patience we should be able to minimise that stress.