Flying with Toddlers for the Holidays

Flying with toddlers for the holidays is exciting for everyone but it can also be a bit overwhelming if you are not prepared. No worries! We've compiled a list of our top tips, from what to bring to how to keep your routine consistent (as much as reality allows) when traveling through time zones.

Here are some tips for keeping your sanity at the airport.

Flying with Toddlers for the Holidays: Travel Essentials

  • Wear a Backpack
    • Life will be so much easier if you have both hands free and can move quickly.
    • Also great for holding all the things; water bottles, snacks, chapstick, hand sanitizer, wipes, etc. You don’t want to have to go on a deep sea diving mission through your purse every time someone needs something.
  • Practice Safety Rules with Your Toddlers
    • Make sure they know your first and last names.
    • Teach them to stay where they are.
    • Teach them WHO to ask for help (another mom or dad with kids or someone in a uniform)
  • Bring Wired, Kid Friendly Headphones
    • Your toddler likely will not wear the complimentary, yet uncomfortable, headphones given out on the airplane.
    • Be sure to bring some kid-friendly headphones AND the jack wired cord that comes with them so you can plug them in on the plane!
  • Bring a Few Compact Toys for the Plane.
  • Snacks
    • This is a must with toddlers!
    • These snack bags are genius for keeping things cold!
      • They have ice packs built in and are TSA approved.
  • For more flying essentials with your toddler, visit this blog.

One of our most frequently asked questions this time of year is how to stay on track when traveling outside your timezone. We know how challenging this can be so, here are our tips to help calm the chaos!

Flying with Toddlers for the Holidays: Traveling to a Different Timezone

  • Be Realistic
    • Try and stick with the schedule as much as possible.
      • For a short trip with minimal time change, this is more realistic.
  • Prepare
    • Begin your day with a VERY rested baby!
      • Try to do the new “normal” routine that you decide on based on the adjusted time zone 2-3 days before traveling. ​
  • Travel Day
    • Naps may be off and baby will be extra stimulated by the travel and everything in between.
      • See Moms on Call’s “Crazy Day” tips (located in the typical day schedules) and try putting baby to bed early the first night you arrive.
        • If baby oversleeps during travel day, it will be okay!
  • Stay Consistent
    • Try your best to provide a similar sleep environment that your little one is used to.
      • Bring a sheet that was recently washed at home (that familiar smell will help them settle right in!).
      • Always travel with a LOUD sound machine.
      • We also love traveling with a Slumberpod to recreate baby’s pitch black room from home.
        • This way, your little one has their own space wherever you are!
          • (use code MOC for 5% off your purchase)
  • "New Normal"
    • Begin the day and try your best to acclimate to the new time zone.
      • At bedtime, try and stick with the new bedtime as well.
  • Lastly, Confidence is Contagious!
    • Stay confident and your little will follow!

We use the SMART paradigm to help identify our little ones motivators and get the best out of their behaviors at Moms on Call. (You can download the Toddler By Design App to find your toddler’s specific design.)

Here are some specific tips for each toddler type to help keep your toddler on track for the day and help keep flying a breeze!

SMART Tips for Your Toddler on Holiday:

  • Social: Give them recognition.
    • A wink and a smile go a long way in filling up a Social kid’s “Look-o-meter”. It provides the attention they crave in an easy and simple way.
  • Movement: Being cooped up in an airplane all day is no fun!
    • Be sure to get that energy out before AND when you arrive at your destination.
    • If we don’t get the energy out in fun ways, it often comes out in some frustrating ones.
  • An Engineer: These littles often take time to warm up to strangers.
    • Do not “force” them to hug family right away.
      • Try and have an activity for them to do when you arrive and give them permission to “take time to warm up”.
      • Help loved ones by saying “They’ll warm up at their own pace, let’s just sit together for a few minutes”.
    • Unlike social siblings, engineers hide and cling to you. You being relaxed will allow them to ease their inner processor.
  • Rule Follower: Map out your trip and let them know you are still the one in charge!
    • Remind them, “Not everyone does it like we do and that is OKAY!” This is a great way to temper the tattle-tale tendencies (say that 5 times fast!).
  • Touch: Give high fives and hair tousles a plenty.
    • Be sure to initiate contact with this toddler and they’ll demand it less often.
      • Make a special handshake (or elbow kisses) so they don’t climb on everyone every second. “Less climbing, more elbow kisses” is a great way to redirect while still meeting that need for human contact.

We hope that these tips for flying with toddlers will help you to travel confidently, embrace the chaos and enjoy making memories with your incredible little ones! We love to see our Moms on Call families in action, so be sure to tag us in your traveling adventures.

Return to Knowledge Center