By Ruth Santos
Travelling from Middle East to Philippines, I dread flying alone with my 3-year old daughter. Just thinking of trotting in the airport , pulling along our bags, our handcarry on my shoulder heavy with snacks and drinks, all the while towing and holding tight the hand of my tantrum-prone angel and future Olympian runner who can dash off in any direction at any time, gives me stress hives.
For those who will be undergoing the same scenario in the immediate future, preparation indeed is the key to easier travel. Not only are you going to spare yourself some difficulties but save the suited-up businessmen and happy vacationers on your flight, the crying concert albeit they don’t realize the effort you made for them. Below are five tips to keep you and your cherub happy during the journey.
Opt for a direct flight – going through immigration and airport security checks with a toddler is no picnic. For me once for a flight is enough. Why subject yourself to the same scenario if there is another easier option? The long direct flight gives my daughter a chance to become familiar with her surrounding, enough for her to be comfortable and nap.
Bring extra clothing – although it does indeed grow easier to travel as they grow, from baby to toddler, toddlers are still not vomit free. One moment my daughter is happy as can be playing on her seat and then suddenly has this dreaded scowl on her face which I have come to know as her preclude to throwing up but usually loses to an exorcist vomiting style. Although the barf bag is handy, some errant trickle does find their way on the clothes. A fresh set of garments will freshen up your little one.
Dress the little one in layers – the air inside the aircraft is unpredictable, it can be warm one moment and then cold and chilly in the next hour. Dressing your toddler in layers that are easy to put on and take off can make it easier to transition in between. Dressing them too warm or too cold can make young children cranky and fidgety.
Pack little snacks like cookies and cut fruits – it is not always a guarantee that your toddler will eat the airplane meal. They are more likely to eat what’s familiar to them. I used to fret when my little one refuses to eat the meals since I worry that she is flying on an empty tummy (hello acidity and ulcer). While it is not also a good idea to pump her full of food since this might lead to a vomit incidence, the bite size fruits is a healthy middle and also easier to pop on her mouth while she is occupied.
Bring pens, papers, crayons, stickers – Face it; your child will not be spending the whole flight napping. While the view of the clouds and the on board cartoons and movies may entertain them for a while, you have to be ready to find other ways to occupy their time when they get bored. Drawing, writing, and popping stickers are a good way to amuse them during the flight. Decorating a bottle or a lunch box you brought can provide a long stretch of entertainment.