Oh my word! This day was jam packed with so many firsts and I’m still trying to organize my thoughts around how to tell you what happened. Ok!, so we are in Zimbabwe. Yes, if many of you didn’t know – I was born and raised in a lovely little town called Gweru in the heart of beautiful Zimbabwe. I’ll probably end up going on and on about how amazing it is – so I won’t judge if you click onto something less “braggy”.
Anyway, today was Jude’s very first trip in an aeroplane and it was everything we hoped it would be for him. He squealed in the right places and was completely fascinated by all the right boyish things. I think what made it more amazing for him was that we were all wanting him to enjoy it as a family as well. So the girls pointed out as much as they could for him to observe and take in alongside us as parents gently explaining the process of what is required when you fly.
I guess, this post might as well serve as a “how to fly with a toddler” kind of post so, gather a few tips I used while taking my little prince on this first time voyage.
- What to pack as hand luggage.
- If you have a pram and are able to use it at your destination – take it! The airports are huge and so walking around carrying a toddler that weighs in the region of 15kg (think of sleeping deadweight) a pram is a bonus. What’s great is that it isn’t counted as an extra piece of luggage. You can push it right up to the door of the plane and then they tag it and take it down to the baggage part of the plane for you and then you get it back when you get off.
- Always consider some kind of calming med. If your child has the capacity to sit for long periods of time – great! you won’t need this (plus I completely envy you!) But for the rest of us average toddler parents, small spaces don’t gel well with a toddler eager to explore (especially 5:45am when half the plane is still waking up, or trying to catch a few extra bits of sleep before their day) I know that for the longer trips you can consider speaking to your peadeatrition about a mild sedative to make, at least half of, your trip a “sleepy” one. This wasn’t one of those trips because it was only 2 hours in the plane. So what I do (even on really long road trips) is that I give him a few drops of the Natura Rescue Remedy. It’s a herbal thing that just brings the edge off the “busy” and doesn’t affect him negatively in any way. So I gave him some of that about 30 minutes before we got on.
- Ok, considering that I’ve just told you about a calming med, it’s also wise to take something for them to suck when the plane takes off and for when it lands. Jude didn’t seem to have any sort of problem in this area, but my girls really needed it when they were little. Sucking a dummy, bottle or teaching them how to yawn are all great tools. The reason why (in case you haven’t ever flown before) is that as the plane goes from ground level to thousands of meters above that in like a minute, the air pressure changes and so your ears feel like they’re going to pop. So by sucking, blowing your nose or yawning – it helps relieve the pressure in your head. If you can’t get a toddler to do this then your could potentially end up with a screaming kid and not know why. I know with breast fed babies, it’s great to just put them on for a little drink and all is well with the world. Sucking a sweet also helps – but totally cancels out the calming med 😀
- Puzzles, little toys packed into a lunch box, lace up games, button or unbutton activities and an electronic device. All of which don’t require lots of space and also can be inter-changed between, should they become more and more boring. I had downloaded a few episodes of Paw patrol on Showmax for him and had brought along puzzles he hadn’t done before. (note they are 4 -6 piece puzzles – again not a lot of space and easy to do – got mine at takealot.com for dirt cheap)
- Pull up nappies! Yes, we’re still potty training so when we put our little potty onto the conveyor belt to be scanned, we had many staff members have a giggle at our emergency device. Jude was a champion and actually made a wee on the aeroplane toilet. I am honestly so proud – we haven’t had any accidents on the travel up. It’s been wonderful. But, like I said – pull ups are a bonus because should there be an accident, you’re not cleaning up clothes and unfortunate puddles in crazy places like a plane or airport terminals.
- Find a space and make your kid run around as much as possible. As parents I know this is tiring already, so take turns and do it, because by the time the second flight hits, you’ve let out all the extra energy they have and you might get the bonus of what we had and have your toddler completely wasted and pass out on the plane. This is great because it gives just that little bit of extra breathing room for you as a parent. I got my girls involved here and also, we met up with my father at the joburg airport, so they gladly took him for a run around.
- Do all the toilet runs you can. This also gets a bit of a run around in as well as emptying out the bladder for the flight.
- Get a small bite to eat somewhere they know and like. We did a muffin at Mug and Bean, with a bit of milo. This way, I knew that if he didn’t like the aeroplane food he had something in his tummy to tide him over until our destination. (it kinda aided the instant sleep because he was full)
- Take your time – don’t think that you have to rush like the rest of the people on the plane to get in and out of your seats. I think that when you go in with the chilled mentality (considering that you’re on time and checked in), it makes it a lot easier to deal with any glitches. (my kid is pretty social and wanted to great people as he was walking down the aisle to our seat) Then it’s a little bounce on the chairs and dealing with him having to choose his seat. The less you focus on what others “think” the easier you’ll handle a potentially frustrating situation. It’s amazing that if you adopt that mindset, things tend to go smoother.
Also take your time getting off. There’s nothing worse than standing in line waiting for someone to be taking their bags down from the canopy and there’s no one if front of them. Wait for everyone to get off and then get your stuff together. You’re less likely to lose your toddler in the rush and also be able to gather all of your things together. Note: as per my post on facebook – I failed in this area miserably. Instead of checking ALL of the pockets I missed one and well…… the post speaks for itself. Don’t take anything for granted! Protocols kick in in airports that are completely out your control.
Ok, That’s all I have on the toddler side. It might not seem like much, but it really made a difference on how we travelled.
I will expand on other things on my Day 2 update. For now, this was my highlight reel. Enjoy the pics.