OK Mamas, so I need some suggestions for any of you who have flown internationally with a toddler. DD will be almost 15 months old when we fly out in two weeks and in the throws of wanting to be independent. She screams when you pick her up, when you put her down, she doesn't know what she wants -other than to be constantly moving and constantly distracted. We have a total of three flights, the middle one and longest being 19 hours, making a total travel time of over 24 hrs! The time difference is 7 hrs and our schedules are going to be completely out of whack. I'm wondering if any of you have some good suggestions for compact, entertaining things to bring with on the plane to bide me time. Some ppl have suggested a role of sticky tape to play with, a lock and key, putting a new sparkly bracelet on her and let her try to get it off -all of those are great! Got anymore? Oh yeah, not quite at the coloring or movie stage -she just isn't interested. Thanks!!!!
Lots of little presents. They can be small toys she already has, tiny things from the Dollar Store . .. whatever. Wrap them up and when she starts to meltdown, pull one out and make a big deal about it, have her unwrap it, and play with it. It always worked well with our DS when he was that age.
Bandaids are great, too. The stuffed animals, the chairs, you can all have "boo boos" indefinitely ...
If she likes to be read to, you can bring lots of books along.
I did a 9 hour flight, 8 hour layover and 11 hour flight on my own with my 15 month old. I found that little toys didn't really hold her attention for more than a minute and weren't worth the hassle. I pretty much just walked up and down with her, tried to stay out of the way and tried to get her to sleep which wasn't easy. My tips for surviving the whole thing: new fancy Sippy cup, your favourite carrier (I used an ergo), fun snacks (raisin boxes, puffs, etc), a snak trap or other non spill snack holder, antibacterial wipes, recue remedy, robeez type shoes, a comfy nursing bra and easy access clothes if you still nurse. Make sure you follow all the rules about liquids and keep them separate when they go through X-ray so they don't unpack your whole bag. Ask me how I know.
some kids really like a nut and a bolt
fruit loops to string on a shoe lace
magnets and small cookie sheet
playdoh...sounds nuts, but works great
stickers, especially put on fingernails and toenails. i can keep a baby quiet for over an hour with that game.
hide things in her shoes, up her sleeves, etc.
pretend to hide a yummy treat in her pocket, and encourage her to look for it...that can last a long time, too...you do, of course, eventually give it to her. :)
Most importantly, just don't stress it. It will be what it is, and it will be fine. Just roll with the punches and don't feel like you have to make it be a certain way or another, and don't feel you have to apologize when she's fussy. :
"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."
Not as long a flight - but, since we flew recently with a kiddo around that age:
She was very entertained with putting the tray down and up, as well as having a cup of ice. And finding things to put in the garbage.
Stickers were great for us, I brought a few lollipops too.
A small cloth doll (about the size of a grownup hand) with simple vest-like dress she took off and on.
I also had a bag just for her to carry around, so she put things in and out of that a lot. I'd also brought each kid a box of animal crackers, so looking at those, and carrying it, and opening it (and feeding them to mommy) was great fun too.
Maybe a new book - something like a lift-the-flap book. Bandaids are a great idea.
Brush up on some new hand-play games or songs like tommy thumbs up, or itsy bitsy spider to play together - something new like that that you can do over and over.
a few things - though you might be aware of it already
- something to suck on during take off and touch down (great if you are nursing) to take the pressure off the ears.
- the flush. super loudest ever in the world. if you have someone travelling with you leave dc with them - otherwise close their ears before you flush (i cant remember if they are automatic, then before you get up)
how your child reacts will be totally based on personality.
for instance at every single time i carried a backpack full of toys, crafts and food and every single time i didnt use any of it. why? because dd loved to chat with people and thats what she did. i found extremely baby loving people on board. even as an 8 month old with extreme stranger anxiety she happily went to others and she was passed around my section of the flight. as a baby she nursed more and slept a lot. as an older child we walked up and down, the flight attendants came to chat and other passengers happily chatted with dd.
what was important was during flights i found the childrens room or play area and went there for some downtime.
flying has never been a nightmare for me. actually travelling. dd's been flying since she was 2 months old. the first two years nursing was my biggest helper, after that it was her gregarious nature.
i really hope you are going for a month or so. two weeks will be very challenging. i remember both dd and me took about a week to adjust our body clock. i cant remember now which jetlag cleared up faster - coming back or going there.
i took a carseat with me for when dd would sit in her own seat. most of the time she sat on me, but other times she at least had a comfortable 'seat' to sit on. i stopped when she moved to booster seat.
i would not stress. i have only met one family in all my travels who had problems with their kids.
i felt for long journeys the key is having long enough layovers. in fact that has made my flight last 30 hours but that was better than 24 hours with less layover. i would say 4 hours was a good layover for us. 6 even better. dd is a party girl who does not get exhausted by people and lights so she was totally in her element. but when i decided she needed some down time there was always places to go to at the airport to get that.
We had a similar experience.
I had this grand idea that I would pass out one toy per hour. What happened was DS quickly figured out there were many "presents" in my bag and demanded to have all at once. I gave in to keep him quiet. He then piled them all on the tray and squawked each time one fell onto the floor. He didn't play with any of them, just wanted them piled on the tray.
Stickers were a huge sucess, kept him occupied for hours. (He covered me in stickers, which made everyone around me smile)