Packing tips and tricks that may save your sanity...
I am a Mama who tends to believe everyday with your toddler is, as Forrest Gump would say, ‘…like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’
My children have emotions and behaviors that range from perfect angel to spawn of hell. This is why I have always thought that when you travel with a toddler you just have to cross your fingers and pray to God they are feeling heavenly. But hey, it doesn’t hurt to prepare like crazy and try pushing your children’s attitudes down the path of righteousness.
I cannot stress enough that when traveling by airplane you need a dependable, compact diaper backpack that's roomy and comfortable enough for all your kiddo’s needs. My go-to is the Birch Bag because it has tons of pockets to stay organized, isn’t bulky, and keeps me looking fly (pun intended).
Packing Your Diaper Backpack:
- Extra Clothes – It has been my experience that kids with weak tummies need two extra outfits on hand…This is usually a good idea for toddlers still in diapers too. I have made the mistake of not packing an extra shirt for myself and while my newly clothed son smelled fresh and clean I was the person no one wanted to sit by.
- Wet Bags/Puke Bags – Wet bags can house anything from soiled clothing to nasty leftover snacks that may or may not have been chewed up and spit out. Although most airlines have accessible backseat puke bags, they are not as easily manageable as the hospital-grade bags I prefer.
- Snacks and Treats – Kids can be easily distracted and manipulated with food. I put healthier snacks in their backpacks and hide the special snacks and treats in mine to break out at opportune moments.
- Headphones and iPad – It is socially unacceptable to blare your iPad or tablet on an airplane. You would think this is common knowledge, but I have seen parents without toddler headphones left in a lurch after being scolded by a flight attendant. My kids have headphones with an audio sharing port so they can both use the same iPad.
Keeping Them Entertained:
- Cater to their Interests –My son likes the movie Cars and my daughter likes both Trolls and Frozen. I try to find coloring books, stickers, etc. with my children’s favorite characters on them. My favorite way to organize coloring materials is with an overnight bathroom bag. The divided sections are great, you can hang it wherever, and it's foldable which makes it compact!
- Paperback Children’s Books – We are a family of readers, but books are HARD to pack! I try to pack the greatest punch by bringing a few wordy paperback books with the most interesting pictures. We don’t just read them, we make up games like seek and find and elaborate on the stories.
- Special Snacks – We tend to push our kids towards healthy snacking on a day-to-day basis, but when it comes to traveling all bets are off! First I will offer them the healthier options and then when things head downhill on the airplane you better believe I am bribing them with fruit snacks and candy.
- Movies, Shows, and Apps – My husband and I always try to save the iPad as the last resort option, because once our kids get their hands on it most other activities fail in comparison. A few apps they enjoy playing together are: KidsDoodle, Balloon Pop, and Magic Fingers. The Kindle app also enables us to bring extra digital children’s books. Of course we also like to load their favorite movies and TV shows so they are available via airplane-mode.
Traveling with toddlers can be daunting, but if you prepare enough (and your children’s mood-swings cooperate!) the experience can be enjoyable for everyone. My husband and I always marvel about how we only seem to remember the best parts of vacation anyway, so don’t mind me while I just wipe my memory clean of the actual traveling part once this blog is posted.
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