Monday, April 28, 2014

Traveling with a Toddler

Our recent trips to Charleston and Austin have given us a little experience with traveling with a toddler. When Hayden was a baby, we flew to Hawaii twice with him and each time the flight wasn't too bad. He slept for long portions, was nursing, and generally not so squirmy. Toddler Hayden is a whole different ball game and I spent a lot of time prepping for this trip. There's tons of posts out there from others who have done the same, but I thought I'd offer my two cents and maybe help another parent along in the future. Here are some of my tips:
Pack a separate backpack or bag for all the kid things. I brought our diaper bag and a skip hop backpack. I kept the diapering essentials, extra clothes, and some snacks in the diaper bag. Toys, books, snacks, and games were in Hayden's backpack. Here's a look at what was inside Hayden's backpack:
1. Skiphop Toddler Backpack : This adorable, high quality little backpack was the perfect size for all of Hayden's essentials.
2. Sippy cup: It can take a while for the beverage service to get going on the airplane, especially if you are preboarding. We found that bringing our own water cup was helpful when those insistent "water! water!" pleas started up. 
3. New puzzle: Hayden really likes puzzles and counting. So we bought this Melissa and Doug clock puzzle for him to enjoy. I had enough forethought to pack all the pieces in a plastic baggie. He really enjoyed taking the pieces out, counting, putting them in their spots, putting them in the baggie, shaking it up and doing it all over again. 
4. Stickers + Paper: I bought a book of stickers at Michaels for $2 and brought 3 sheets of construction paper with us. Nick and I would peel the stickers and stick them onto Hayden's hand or arm and then he would stick them to the paper. This simple activity could last up to 30 minutes. Hayden's really into animals and their sounds too so these stickers were a good conversation starter. 
5. Favorite Books: Hayden loves to read the same books over (and over and over and over)... I packed 2 of his favorites: Go Dog Go and Press Here. I knew that these two would get read multiple times throughout the flights. We especially love Press Here because it is interactive and Hayden loves to follow the directions - especially when Nick reads! 
6. New books: Since Hayden loves to read, I picked out 2 new books that he would enjoy. We actually got Chicka Chicka Boom Boom out from the library a couple months ago and he loved it so it was an easy choice to add to our collection. The other book is called My Truck is Stuck. Honestly, if we could have brought 20 books in our carry-on, I think our trip would have gone even more smoothly- this kid loves to read! 
7. Magna Doodle  A typical travel, toy but was effective at holding Mr. H's attention for a while. 
8. SNACKS! We brought tons of snacks since we were flying through many normal meal times and knew that a hungry toddler could turn into a hangry toddler in 5 seconds flat.  
I would say that this little backpack of tricks got us through 3/4s of the flying time without trouble. We also brought my iPad with a few new apps and an episode of Sesame Street downloaded onto it. However, I think Hayden spent more time with the toys and books that he did with the iPad. 

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