I was hired by The Women Bloggers to participate in this #GerberLilBeanies campaign led by Kendal King Group on behalf of Nestlé Lil’ Beanies.
I can vividly remember the first flight my husband and I took with our oldest child. He was six weeks old, and were flying across the country for Christmas. I began to nurse the baby as we were taking off in an attempt to keep him from screaming. For some reason this greatly offended the lady sitting next to me, which she didn’t mind letting me know. At the end of the flight the baby spit up all over this woman’s scarf (which was draped over our shared armrest). This was just the first of three flights and many delays. I was glad I had packed an extra shirt, but other than that, I was very unprepared!
As time has gone on and the number of children in my has family increased, I have picked up a few travel tricks. Trust me when I tell you, most people freak out a little bit on the inside when they see a family of 8 headed their direction on a cramped plane. A family our size can’t all fit in one row, or even two, so our older kids need to sit by themselves. We have had many discussions on how to behave when we travel, but we also make sure that we have some go to items to keep everyone busy. I will also say, that this list also works perfectly for road trips. The same ideas apply. You’re cramped, you can’t really move around, and kids will complain about their siblings invading their personal space!
The most important thing is to keep little minds occupied. The second most important thing is to not annoy everyone in the surrounding area (including mom and dad). Whether you’re about to go on your first plane ride with a toddler, or you 10th with your family of 6, these tips will come in handy.
Things to pack in a child’s carryon:
- Backpack: This needs to be something your child can carry by themselves. The less you have to carry, the better. You will at some point have to carry a sleeping child through a terminal, so don’t weigh yourself down too much in the beginning!
- Healthy Snacks: Finger foods, like Nestlé Lil’ Beanies, with extra protein and fiber mean that kids will fill up without a sugar high that will have them running the aisles! As a bonus, even toddlers can feed themselves these snacks, and they won’t leave little fingers an unnatural shade of orange! These snacks are designed for toddlers, but all of my kids, and even my husband, eats them. They’re a healthy alternative, when you want a crunchy snack. Make sure to avoid any liquid that comes in a squeezable pouch (yogurt, apple sauce). The change in pressure will guarantee you squeeze pouch eruption.
- Quiet Toys: finger puppets, travel sized cars, or even random Lego blocks in a baggie, will be entertaining. Don’t let 10 year olds fool you. They will make up stories with finger puppets to “entertain their little brothers and sisters!”
- Books and Magazines: I like to have one book for each child. Board books for little kids and chapter books for older ones. You’ll be surprised how many times the Pigeon books can be read on one flight! I also love interesting fact books. My kids will read these over and over.
- Notebooks and crayons: Paper is full of potential for kids. They can play games, write stories, or draw pictures. I like to pack crayons and pencils. Pens and markers can get over hands, clothes, and airplane seats!
- Gum and suckers: I keep these for takeoff and landing. Chewing gum and sucking on lollipops will help pop ears. It’s horrible for little kids to have that pressure build up, but not understand how to fix it.
- Devices and Earphones: We try to limit devices, but they come in very handy. We will download a movie that all the kids can watch, so that it doesn’t matter which kids are sitting together. We also have headphones, because not everyone on the plane wants to listen to Big Hero 6! If your device comes with a camera, it’s perfect for taking pictures out the window. Everyone loves to do that!
- Change of Clothes: If you don’t want to put a whole outfit, at least put in a shirt. Drinks get spilled, and depending on the age of your kids, all sorts of other messes can occur (that first flight was not the only time one of my children puked on a plane!). You’ll definitely appreciate this if you get stranded somewhere overnight without your luggage!
- Disposable Sippy cups: I use these on plane (and trains and automobiles) until my kids are 5 or 6. Planes move around a lot, and so I always transfer my kids’ drink into the sippy cups.
- Plastic Bags: I pack the contents of the carryon inside a plastic bad that can seal shut. This protects against any mishaps, but it also provides a place to put dirty clothes.
*If you want to try Nestlé Lil’ Beanies, they’re available now at Walmart. All our kids were raised on Lil’ Crunchies, and the new Lil’ Beanies are just as delicious, and they’re made from beans and rice flour, with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. I am also completely impressed by the fact that the Nestlé hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!