It can be so exciting to plan a getaway! Until the wave of dread hits you and you realize you’ll be traveling with your fussy, busy-body kiddos.
If you’re a mom with little kids, you already know how challenging traveling can be. The moms in our #Momforce by Chatbooks Facebook Group have been chatting lately about how to make the trip fun for the kids and easier on the parents.
Snack attacks relieve panic attacks. First and foremost, be prepared with FOOD! Everyone, no matter their age, is happier when chomping away on something delicious. So pack all their favorite snacks, candy, and yes, you can even bring drinks! TSA allows carry-on liquids for kids. (TSA will ask you to open and wave litmus paper over the drinks to make sure they’re not a threat.) So load up with the snacks they love! Lollipops are always great because kids can suck on them during takeoff and landing to relieve pressure in their ears.
Stick it to them. Sometimes there’s just not enough space for kids to color comfortably. In those instances, you can buy sticker books to provide endless entertainment for your child, while they have to sit restrained. Costco makes some really fun giant sticker books, and Melissa and Doug is another brand that carries some good ones, as well as other fun activities, perfect for long trips. You can even load up on stickers at the Dollar Store and buy a notepad for your child to stick them on.
Dollar Store is often Mom’s best friend. Get a bunch of cheap toys and you don’t even have to worry about losing or breaking them. A great option is wrapping them and letting your kids open one every hour to keep them excited and entertained. One mom found that gel cling-ons were fun for the windows and little tray tables, but warned to be cautious of hard toys since kids might annoy other passengers by banging them. Other favorites were small foam puzzles, coloring activities, little packages of mega blocks, Play-Doh, Koosh Balls, and even a calculator, all of which can be found at the Dollar Store!
Everyone loves a new toy. A good trick to remember is to bring things that they haven’t seen before—nothing will keep their attention better than a new toy! Boogie Boards were a hot item mentioned by our moms. They’re similar to a Magnadoodle, but look like a tablet. Using a pen as a tool, kids can draw but the toy doesn’t have any messy ink. You just click a button to erase what they’ve drawn and start all over again. All kids love Magformers (and even a lot of bored mamas!). And don’t forget about good, ol’ fashioned books. One mom recommended My Playtown Book by Rodger Priddy. It has over 70 flaps for to lift and check out, which is at least an hour of entertainment right there!
Enjoy the silence. Find some toddler headphones and load up all of your electronic devices. There are so many great apps out there for kids these days. Fisher Price has some fun ones and some other favorites include My PlayHome/School/Hospital, Toca Boca, Monster at the End of the Book, Busy Shapes, and Endless Alphabet. And of course, don’t forget to download a bunch of their favorite shows and movies in advance.
Bring the comfort critters. Most importantly, don’t forget their favorite stuffed animal and/or blanket. If they’re still using a pacifier, be sure to have a backup for the inevitable pacifier launched in a fit of anger or frustration. Pacifier clips are always a smart move. Dressing kids in PJs for the flight can help your child relax and wind down when you want them to sleep. PJs are also great as a backup outfit in case of an accident or blowout.
And no matter what happens, remember that you won’t see the other passengers ever again. It’s just a few hours—you can handle anything for a couple of hours. Most importantly, try to enjoy yourself as much as possible. You’ve got this, mama!