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Toddlers On a Plane: Advice From One Parent to Another

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

If you have flown with a toddler, probably you're familiar withthe looks you get from other passengers as you're boarding, and theirdarting eyes as they silently pray you're not sitting next to them. It'snothing personal (unless your child had a tantrum in the boarding line)- it's likely they've experienced a toddler tantrum on a plane. It'snot pretty for anyone involved.

Toddlers usually have tantrums when they feel as though their needsaren't being met or they are not being understood. And unfortunately,there is no way to predict whether one will occur, but as a parent thereare certain things you can control to minimize the possibility.

Before the trip, talk to your kid about what to expect on theairplane: there will be a lot of people, it will be quiet, no running upand down the aisles. Start laying the ground rules well before theflight so your toddler knows what to expect. It also helps to getchildren's books out from the library so they can see what flying in anairplane will be like.

To try and cover as many bases as possible, here are some ideas on things to bring and do to keep your little one happy:

Pit stops: Before you even board, make sure thatdiaper or pull-up is changed and your kid is clean and dry. And speakingof diapers, pack a few more than you'll ever think you need. A newdiaper is the last thing you want to be without on a long flight.

Snacks: Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Giving kidstheir favorite snack in their favorite snack holder is somethingfamiliar and might ease their worries about flying. Plus, a hungrytoddler is never a happy toddler.

Favorite blankie or stuffed animal: If your toddlerwants to nap on the plane, it will help to have something from home thatmakes that small seat a little more comfortable.

A new toy: When my kids were younger and we traveled,I made sure to buy little toys to surprise them with on the plane.Having a new toy is exciting and gives toddlers a distraction, at leastfor a little bit.

Activities: In that same vein, having something tokeep your little one busy on the plane makes for a faster flight. Bringcoloring books, crayons, paper and little games you can play with yourtoddler.

Multimedia: Sometimes a little TV or video entertainment is what is needed to keep that bored toddler from breaking down.

Window Seat: Just looking outside can beentertainment enough. From watching the crew loading the bags to seeingthe ground disappear as the plane takes off, flying can be reallyexciting for a toddler to be seeing for the first (or even the fifth)time.

Flight attendants: If it's not a full flight orduring a lull in drink service, ask a flight attendant if he/she canshow you and your kiddo where the drinks and snacks are stored. Maybeyour toddler will score an extra bag of animal crackers!

Hopefully these tactics will help you make it through the flight tantrum-free.

And hey, if your kid does have an episode on the plane, take adeep breath and get through it. Chances are, your fellow passengers are alot more understanding than you think. If they have kids of their own,they probably at one time were in the same situation and know exactlywhat you are going through.

Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk

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