How does an 8hr flight with a two-year-old sound to you? How about we add another 6 hours to that with a little layover of more or less 3 hours? Sounds a bit scary and tiring already? Actually, it could be when you’re not prepared to go on an adventure with a tiny human in tow.
Recently, I saw a local celeb’s interview and she was asked about the last time she cried. And of course, the recent teary-eyed moment was during a trip with her toddler. Her little one became too clingy during the entire trip requesting to be held constantly making it impossible to catch power naps during the flight. As a result, the celeb mom was just too exhausted.
I bet when we become too tired it’s hard to enjoy the whole flight. You are sleep deprived and every part of you aches so bad. I have experienced this at least once or twice but I was quick to change my mindset about the whole thing because draining yourself with thoughts of how tired you are won’t make things better for you nor your little one.
So, what should you do, parent?
Be brave and make the most of every moment with your little one count.
My daughter and I began flying together when she was about 15 months old. Her first trip was to Singapore with myself and her dad, then the second one was on the same month. We went to surprise my brother on a mom-and-daughter trip to HongKong. Yes, there were challenging moments but that didn’t matter because we had an amazing time and memories to look back to.
So, mom, dad, if travelling is something you wish to continue after becoming a parent or just to try with your kids, all you got to do is try what I do to have the best time with your tiny human/s.
1. Keep calm and maintain a fun tone all throughout the flight
I try to act as normal as possible but sometimes my excitement gets in the way. Just the idea of flying on an airplane excites me. For sure my daughter feels the slightest change in my mood because my energy was always flying to the roof! But at least it’s GV! People could feel your vibe so as your tiny human/s. When gloomy they would ask you, “What’s wrong, mom?”. If you’re smiling they would say, “What’s so funny?” That’s how sensitive kids could get. So, just imagine if you’re resonating the feeling of worry and anxiety during your flight, I bet they would feel that too. Condition yourself first for the flight, be ready for anything but always keep happy thoughts with you because every opportunity spent with your kids is a memory to keep.
2. Be in a “storytelling mode” as you explain the things to expect
I always make it to a point that she knows where we are going and what we are doing there. I feel like it gives her a sense of belonging to the whole experience. But it doesn’t have to be a long boring one, use your ‘storytelling-tone’ or the ones that a fantastic narrator of a fairytale story would do, just don’t overdo it. For as long as your point is well-taken by your little one, then you’re off to a good start here. A simple, “Anak, do you remember about this trip I told you about? It’s coming really soon. I’m really excited to show you this nice small screen on the airplane. Are you excited, too?” is a great way to start a cute conversation with your kid/s.
3. Keep the normal routine
Going on a trip doesn’t mean a total detachment from the things that your little one would normally do at home. I would schedule our flight close to her nap time or bedtime so she would simply just doze off after a few running sessions or playtime in the airport. Simply remind her of what’s up and coming during the flight. Normally, I would tell my toddler that in a few minutes snack time is coming so be ready to put down Hank (the iPhone 6) so we could eat together for a few minutes without gadgets or maybe your little one is used to having a little play time or reading time after a meal, then go ahead and still do that.
4. Let her choose which toys to bring
I let my daughter participate in the “packing stage” by asking her which toys she prefers to bring. She would personally place her toys inside her bag or my bag. But don’t forget to bring a few pieces which you think will serve as a good diversion when boredom creeps in.
5. Walk her through the in-flight entertainment
The in-flight entertainment system is there for a reason and that is for you and your kid/s to forget the hours spent on the flight. But before you let your toddler press all the buttons or strap her down to her seat for a movie marathon, show her a quick demonstration on how the small screen works and what it is there for. My two-year-old enjoys the quick demo on how things work. She loves that she has her own device to use.
Here’s a video of our October 2018 long-haul flight to Rome, Italy.
I’m sure there are a few things that you could add here, mom and dad. It really depends on how your child would respond. Tweak a step or add a tip or two to make sure it fits the personality of your kid/s.