Let me introduce myself: my name is Linda, mom of George (2013) and I am a Dutchy but have been living in Australia for the past decade with husband. Together we enjoy city life, places of natural beauty, hanging out with our friends, discovering new eateries and designers. Together with my sister I have a webshop in the Netherlands: Kiwi & Koala. Through Kiwi & Koala we are hoping to introduce the original, beautiful brands of Australia and New Zealand, many of which are run by mums like us.
Getting on a plane with a toddler is not an easy ask for most parents. The first time will be particularly exciting. But no matter how often you fly, it will continue to be an unpredictable adventure. Will he sleep? Will our plane neighbours be tolerant? What if he throws up or poos or is just being really messy? What if he is screaming the whole way there, what if I can’t get him to sit still? So many worries and so many question marks. After all, one thing all our toddlers have in common is their unpredictability!
From Sydney to Amsterdam
This time I flew by myself with George from Sydney to Amsterdam. No sleep for mom, check, and hardly any food. My toddler was however fairly well behaved. Bribed with loads of episodes of Peppa Pig, sleeps on my lap and lots of attention from the flight crew. Many chocolate stains, two small tantrums and 26 hours later, we landed safely at Schiphol. Here our survival tips…
Top tip 1: Organise yourself
Dont be tempted to take too much and organise your carry-on smartly. Pack your nappies and other related items in a pouch. Put cutlery, a bib and other eating accessoiries in another pouch. Organise your creams, deodorant and toothpaste into yet another pouch so you can easily pull those out at the security check. Oh, and don’t forget to put that dummy in your pocket and take two at least!
Top tip 2: Distractions
Bring your toddler’s favorite book and load the iPad full of cartoons (yes, overdo it here!). A pair of kids’ headphones can be handy, but that said my toddler just fought with the cord and we gave up. At the airport, give your toddler a small bag or bagpack to carry so they feel important.
Top tip 3: Prepare yourself
Try to get a good night’s sleep and prepare yourself for the fact that you won’t sleep, you won’t be watching a movie and you won’t be reading a book. That way, any achievements on those fronts will be welcome. Dress your toddler in something with a hood, so that you can more easily grab hold of them in need… Though many airports do offer strollers for you to use.
Top tip 4: Count to ten
There are no rules on the plane. Another episode of Peppa Pig? Sure, lets make it a Peppa marathon. You want to suck your dummy all the way, sure! When the flight attendant wants to give your child a Belgian chocolate you just have to say yes. Worry about those chocolate stains tomorrow.
Top tip 5: Don’t hold back
Thirsty? Hungry in the middle of the flight because you had to skip the meal service as your toddler had just fallen asleep on your lap? Don’t think twice to ring that little bell and look after yourself. As a parent travelling with a toddler, you should get premium treatment. After all, it is in everyone’s interest that mom and kid are in good shape during the flight!
Top tip 6: Choose your airline
If you fly regularly, try to fly with the same airline as much as possible. Sign up for their frequent flyer programme. It really does make a difference, you do get better seats. Either way, ring the airline and chat to them about your needs and what they will offer your toddler during the flight.