“Snakes on a Plane” may have been terrifying for action star Samuel L. Jackson. Multiple venomous snakes that are loose on a plane while flying somewhere over the Pacific Ocean and no where near land - yes, pretty scary stuff. As parents, we know that the real “thriller” would have a slightly different movie title; “Toddlers on a Plane”. Talk about suspense and horror. Though you may have once dreaded flying while sitting near a hissing - oops - crying child, flying with children doesn’t have to be a nightmare for everyone on board, including you. So whether you are protecting the passengers from a slithery threat, or a confined toddler, here are 7 parenting travel hacks to help pass the time and keep all on board “safe” without running into TSA restrictions.
What to Bring When Flying With Children
1. Window Clings
Turn any surface and moment into a creative learning space! Instead of messy art supplies, bring window clings when you’re traveling with kids. The thick 3D Vinyl Gel Clings can easily be removed and reused, even by tiny hands! This hack keep kids occupied and eliminates mess. Window clings are perfect for airplane windows.
2. Water Bottles
Don’t forget those reusable water bottles. It’s important to drink plenty of water when flying, and bringing cute reusable bottles for the kids and allowing them to fill them will encourage hydration. The insulated kids CamelBak eddy® comes in a variety of colors and designs. It’s insulated double-wall will keep the beverages cold AND won’t collect condensation - translation: the water bottle won't be “sweating” onto everything inside your carry-on. The stem and straw are child-safe yet easy to remove for cleaning, and the bottle is stain-resistant, 100% Free of BPA, BPS and BPF. The bottle is not recommended for children under three.
3. Water Wow
These no-mess paint-with-water coloring books by Melissa & Doug will make kids three and older say, "Wow!" every time they use them. You fill the pen with water and color on the pages to reveal the hidden pictures. Once the Water Wow pages dry, they go back to white and can be used again. The chunky-sized water pen is easy for kids to hold and stores neatly right in the front cover. The books come in a variety of topics: Animals, Alphabet, Numbers, Vehicles, Safari, and Under the Sea.
4. Cozyphones Headphones
The challenge with conventional headphones is that earbuds can stick in the ear and become uncomfortable, and fall out - bulky headphones simply don't fit well or stay put. CozyPhones were designed to fit perfectly on little heads, and because they're made out fleece, they're super soft (and washable) so kids absolutely love wearing them. Each set is volume limited up to 90 dB to keep little ears safe from loud noises. So, they are loud enough that your little one can hear what they're listening to just fine, without being so loud that hearing damage can occur. In addition to being super adorable and different than the standard headphone, kids love CozyPhones because they are fun to wear and come in a variety of colors and styles.
5. Travel Crayons
Triangular crayons like these from eco-kids won’t roll away on the tray table, and come in all of the beautiful colors your artist will need to create their masterpieces. They are created with natural wax and colored with mineral pigments, which means they are safe if a tot puts them in their mouth. The unique shape will help kids develop the preferred grip for later writing skills as well.
6. Arm Yourself with Snacks
The only thing more important than toys are snacks. Snacks are the most important way to keep a child busy and happy during travel. Keep food organized in a bento box like Bentgo Kids. This particular one is leak-proof and the sleek design makes it perfect for kids on the go. It has a compartment for fruit, veggies, dip, an entrée, and dessert; there's no end to the snack rainbow that you can pack into this. Food coma ahead? One can only hope!
7. Take Some Sweets
Landing can cause painful ears – babies are often given a bottle to encourage them to suck and therefore swallow. The same principle will work if you give your child a lollipop (ideally sugar free) for take-off and landing, which will also distract them from the potentially scary sensation. YumEarth Organics Lollipops are made with real fruit juice and other planet-friendly and natural ingredients. They contain no artificial colors or flavors, no major allergens, such as gluten, nuts and dairy, and no high-fructose corn syrup. Each serving provides 100% of daily vitamin C and has less than 70 calories.
For more travel tips for trips with kids, check out Traveling Abroad with Kids: 3 Things to Include on Your Packing List.