Going from infant to a toddler on a plane brings a whole new set of challenges. In some ways travel with an infant is harder on the parents than the child. When they become more mobile- well, it is harder on the parents than the child- although parents can make it harder if they try.

Sometimes they just like being on the floor

Here are a few things we learned as JJ has gone from being an infant to that mobile toddler.

Still less than two years old, and on the laps of parents is where they like. But on long flights it can be difficult.  Consider getting their own space- and taking over the row of three and making that your own comfort zone.  This means a choice – buying three seats, or upgrading to first class.  The advantage of first class is there is usually some room on the floor for them to crawl a bit.

Do not think that getting a child tired before getting on the airplane means a quiet ride throughout the flight. Over tired kids do not sleep as well as kids who go through their normal routine.  Planning a trip during sleeping hours is a gamble – because if they decide to stay awake, you will pay the price for a day (discovered this one).

Kids love to watch outside – let them sit next to the window and point out things- cars, trucks, and planes. Wave. This is a great distraction for kids – especially as they are in that “wonder” stage.

Kids love watching out the windows at this age

Toys on the plane are a key- but books are even better. Children love being next to parents, reading books. Especially books they can interact with- books with textures, books with flaps. They like turning pages – or helping you turn pages. They don’t mind re-reading the same couple of books- for them it is new each time (sort of). The airline magazines are fun for children to read – and sometimes tear apart.

If there is a toy that they can play with – think two things: it may be lost – because things roll on planes, and it may be annoying (because it has sounds). IPad has a lot of apps for children that will keep them entertained for a bit.

Ipads have great APPs for kids

Food on the plane is essential- but don’t think the airplane food (if they have it) is what they need. Bring food for the toddler.  Being out of the formula and into the milk stage means you might have to find some milk in the post area.  We stopped in Starbucks- they had some nice milk- filled the bottle and on the plane.  Our plane also had milk.  Don’t just bring high calorie snacks- some vegetables mixed with grain cereals are healthier and last longer.

Bringing children on the plane can be fun- it gives you a lot of time with your child that you might not otherwise have – chances are you won’t have time for your book or magazine – but that’s ok. Someday the kids will grow up, not be sitting on your lap- and wanting to sit rows away from where you are. Enjoy this time.

Time goes by quickly- enjoy this time with your children