Family Travel Question:
Q | When flying alone with a toddler, what are the best ways to keep busy?
I am flying alone to Florida from New York with my 19-month-old. What are the best ways to keep him busy? Also, what are some snack ideas and how can I keep yogurt, cheese, etc. cold for the flight? -Cori, NY
A | Flying with toddlers CAN be fun!
I love that you asked about travel snacks to feed your son when flying because one of the best ways to keep a toddler happy in the sky is to keep little hands and mouths busy with food! I like to start with healthy stuff and gradually work my way up to a few hidden “forbidden” snacks for the end of the flight when patience may be running low and young ears may be feeling sore from changes in cabin pressure.
Bring a wide variety of goodies, kept in separate plastic containers or zipper-lock bags. I suggest whole-grain crackers and cereals, soy crisps, sliced apples or other fruits, and cubed cheese. Packing an insulated lunch bag with a cold pack in it should do the trick for keeping perishable items fresh.
Rules are meant to bent, especially when traveling with young children! Go ahead and bring along some typically off-limits treats for the journey as well. I like to bring Pringles potato chips because their container keeps the snacks from getting crushed. Another fun treat is M&M candies. They are colorful and tasty and you can dole them out one at a time. To buy some more time, try hiding one candy in your fist and letting your son peel back your fingers to find his candy-coated chocolate treasure.
Of course, you don’t want to stuff your child so full that he feels sick! In between snacks, distract your child with favorite travel toys, coloring books, and movies. Sometimes the best distractions aren’t toys. Search through desk drawers, your make up bag, and kitchen for small items to pack in a separate playtime pack that you can keep handy during take-off and landing. A magnetic plastic jar filled with colored paper clips, a compact mirror, hair barrettes, and measuring spoons are downright fascinating to toddlers - especially since many of these are typically kept out of reach at home. Of course, watch your child closely when playing with any potential choking hazard! When all else fails (or Mama needs a break), a portable DVD player may become your best friend, especially during a long delay on the tarmac.
With our busy schedules, it can be hard to find time to focus on simply playing, talking, and having fun with our kids. Flying with children provides the perfect opportunity to do just that!