10 Tips For Flying With Small Children

by Katie Wellman / Jan 18, 2013 / 0 comments

Some people dread travel, especially air travel. It’s a fact that can’t be denied.  Most people with small children dread it most. Why? Maybe they don’t like lugging diaper bags, car seats, and a baby (not to mention a toddler) through the airport, or from airplane to airplane for a connecting flight. Or maybe they just don’t want to be the one that is HOLDING the crying baby/and or toddler on the airplane. So in short, there are many reasons that people don’t like to fly or deem it “impossible” - but I am hoping that some of these tips can help you (and others around you) have a better flight experience, when you're traveling with small children.


10 Tips for flying with small children!

Photo: J Voigts



1: Mommy’s (or Daddy’s) bag-o-tricks

These are basically things especially for the airplane. Like little toys and such as a surprise for your child (because toddlers or older babies don’t really care about toys much). Make sure you keep these little surprises a secret so they aren’t asking you for more every two minutes! Some ideas could be:

  • Coloring book and (washable) crayons
  • Magic marker and paper (you know those markers that only show up on the special paper?)
  • Small toy or stuffed animal
  • (If old enough) surprise Legobags (the small ones with a random person inside)
  • Or (if allowed) a favorite sweet of the child

Also as a side note, wrapping them makes them fun to open


2: Keep them entertained but not overly so

When you’re on the plane, your child may get fussy - or if they are an active toddler they might want to (oh horror!) run up and down the aisle! So you have to make sure to keep them entertained (if you’re lucky, they’ll fall asleep) which means your bag-o-tricks will come in handy. But first thing you do …Don’t whip out the I-pod/pad, gameboy, DS, etc. Save those as a last resort- (Few people realize this but video games and movies make children whiny and quarrelsome on trips) - sort of an if all else fails thing. But if the airplane is playing a children’s movie or if you have your own in-flight TV and if it’s a long flight, it’s ok to let them watch one of them. And don't give them a special item every three seconds, otherwise, before you know it there won’t be anything new left to keep them occupied!
NOTE: if you bring the I-pad or I-pod for your child, bring headphones for them as the airline headphones will not fit your child well.

3: Snacks

BRING SNACKS. Period. There are no buts or whys to this. At one point during your flight/travels, your child will become hungry, so whether you bring milk formula for your infant or cheerios for your toddler, bring snacks they love. There is no guarantee they will eat airplane food, and buying food at the airport snack stand can be expensive.


4: Let them play!

If you have time and there’s an airport play place, give the kids a chance to play. They will burn off energy and will (hopefully) take a nap later


5: Momma I need to…

Make sure you know where the restrooms are! Nothing worse than trying to find a WC in the airport rush or wondering if you should go to the front of the plane or the back for the airplane restrooms (and it’s also a good idea because little ones can’t hold it long. If they say “I need to go”  - it means Right Now. Not later, but Right then. So just so you are aware of that…).


6:  Never leave one behind

As a parent, you may want to make sure that your child still has the favorite bunny they had while napping on the seats. There's nothing worse than a fit on the airplane because of lost woofles or bouncer. Make sure you keep track of your two year old's things, because THEY definitely won’t remember them till naptime or later.


7: Buckle up

Ok, your toddler is fussy and they don’t want the buckle on… now what?  Hopefully you have brought the car seat (but they’re such a pain to lug around I don’t think they're worth it). Or maybe you have gotten a special child restraint for the airplane, because if your toddler doesn’t want to buckle up they won’t, unless you use force and hold them down.


8:  Extra attire?

In your carryon, you may want to pack an extra shirt or set of clothes. And two or three extra sets for the baby! If your child makes a mess on you (and on themselves), you won’t want to go through the entire trip in THOSE clothes!



10 Tips For Traveling With Small Children



9: Passies

Bring the Pacifiers. Even if you have been weaning your child off, them bring them! They will help with ear pressure (And if they have something in their mouth, they can’t scream because their ears hurt).



Enjoy your flight!!!





Katie Wellman is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program


Photos courtesy and copyright Katie Wellman, except where noted