Advice for a Long Flight with 2 Toddlers

Updated on February 28, 2008
B.O. asks from Burbank, CA
9 answers

I am flying with my 2 toddlers (3 and 1) in March. I have flown with them both before on short flights (1.5 hours) and they do okay, but are totally ready to get off the plane by the end of the flight. The one we are taking is 2 hours, 1 hour lay over, then 4 hours. I am a little freaked out about the tantrums that will be thrown. I personally don't believe it is fair to subject others on such small quarters to this. I have heard of giving kids medication to make them a little sleepy and I am wondering if anyone has done that and how it went. Also, any coping strategies that have worked. Really, any ideas are good ones. Thanks.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I flew to Australia with my 15 month old the summer before last. We spoke to the pediatrician and did pack children's benadryl if we needed it to make her drowsy but as it turns out we didn't need to use it. We did request a seat with a bassinet and our daughter slept for roughly nine hours of the trip.. I guess the trick was taking off at a time close to her normal bedtime. We also packed lots of toys for her to play with too... the dvd is a good idea for older kids who can focus for longer periods of time. Before you consider medication talk to your pediatrician though just to be safe.
Good luck.

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answers from Los Angeles on

we have traveled a lot domestically and internationally and here are some suggestions i have...

i am an over packer - but i've never regretted it!! :-)
and if we have to sit on the runway for hours - i am ready!! i have 2 large zip top ll bean bags that i put everything in - food, change of clothes, diapers, wipes, my pocketbook, books, toys, camera, computer, etc. i always bring food - all kinds including yogurt, jarred baby food, crackers, sandwich, fruit, graham crackers, etc. and i also bring snacks for me - i am not happy when hungry and neither is oliver. i also fill his backpack with playdough (small containers), books, cars, animals, stickers, those special magic markers that only
work on certain paper, aqua doodle cards, his stuffed monkey, etc. i also wrap most things (some new and some old) in tissue paper. i know it's not environmentally great - but it is a great time waster and he gets so excited to open everything up - doesn't even matter that it is something he already has - it's still exciting!! i have also just started bringing a dvd player (he is almost 4 years old). we never
did before - as we didn't really watch tv until later - but on some of the long flights we take - it is a last resort option.

i am always completely exhausted when i fly with oliver. i think it is b/c i worry before the trip that i am packing everything we will need - and then on the flight i am on high alert to his needs so that he doesn't have a complete meltdown. knock on wood it hasn't happened yet - but it takes me a few days to recover :-) for me - being prepared for every instance is really helpful and makes a tiring time - a little better.

the things that keep his attention most - are playdough, stickers, aqua doodle cards and books. he will sit and be read to for hours!!!

i have NEVER medicated my son - nor would i and would never suggest that to anyone. make sure you are prepared - know that you will be exhausted - but it is never a good idea to 'medicate' just to make life easier. safe travels and let me know if you have any other questions.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have never medicated my kids when traveling just for the purpose of them sleeping. If they have any kind of cold it is REALLY important to medicate. To minimize the sinus pressure for sure.

Just like everyone else said bring some NEW toys, things they have never played with. When you get to your destination put them away and do not let them play with them until the return flight so that they still hold some mystique.

As far as the ears popping if your 3 year old chews gum yet have some and encourage them to chew on take off and landing, for the little one be sure to have a bottle or pacifier ready to help with that.

One big recommendation I can make is request the bulk head seat there is more space in front of you and no one sitting in front of you so when there are no turbulence your kids can stand up and stretch, this helps a TON!

I love my DVD player too! Just like with the toys get a couple new movies JUST for the trip that will help keep their attention.

Good luck and happy travels!


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answers from San Diego on

Tylenol and no power naps before the flight never hurt any one rite? That ear popping can be painful you know especially when you have a head cold, I just flew yesterday it felt like I was being stabbed in the ear, Bring crayons or pin and paper, you know the things that can occupy them for a while like cards because there are so many of them it could take a while to go threw a whole deck? Be careful not to give them sugar (fruit has natural sugar) or caffeine like chocolate and soda. Promise rewards to the older one if he helps keep the younger one busy? It worked for me on a 3 day train ride, I also had coloring books, story books, pictures of people they knew and stories to go with each one of them. I told them to draw a picture for everyone I could think of for a special present for them. Another good thing was taking an "adventure" to the restroom very slowly to explore our surroundings. P.s. ask the flight attendant for blankets or stuff for kids on the flight. Enjoy momma, count to 10 ;)

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have been flying with my daughter since she was 2 and the Best thing we ever brought was a laptop or small dvd player and watch movies or whatever the children like. My daughter's first flight was 5 hours to Hawaii and she didn't make a peep. She just watched her movies and the flight went smoothly.

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answers from New Orleans on

Hi! I have a two year old I have done flights with since she was six months old. Yes, that lovely eight hour flight back to the mainland. I always bring the DVD player with new episodes of her favorite show. Walmart sells a battery that hooks to any DVD player for around thirty dollars. It is worth the money. It gives you three to fours hours extra play time. I always start her off with a snack when we get on the plane ( that way her ears don't pop because she is chewing her food and drinking her juice). When she is done with that I start her with coloring that last around twenty minutes or so. Then I bring out a new toy or two. She stays entertained with the new toy for about 30 minutes. Then I bring out stickers which keep her busy for another thirty minutes. I could keep going but the idea I am giving you is plan something new for every thirty minutes of the flight so they don't get bored. Count in your bathroom breaks and meals. It has worked so well for me and I am never really stressed. I have a book bag I put all the toys and ects. into and another bag I keep diapers and snacks in. That way I am just digging in one bag to keep her busy with and all of the other stuff does not get rumbled around. I always save the DVD player for the last resort(the screaming). But, if your kids scream or kick seats I would not freak. People will get over it. Don't be afraid the ask the filght attendants to help you to. I have been on flights where my daughter was the good one and I have been on flights where she was the screaming one. Good luck and don't stress to much. You will do great.
Ps. I also learned the carseat saved me. Because my daughter knows she can not get out of it. Just like the car. GoGo Babyz sells and awesome wheel attachment for your car seat. It turns it basically into a stroller. I am not sure if you are traveling alone with them. If you are it may be to diffcult to deal with having two children. But if you are traveling with someone to help. I would reccommend it. I travel by myself with my daughter but I think it would be to much if I had another child with me by myself trying to keep up with the carseat and the kids.

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answers from Honolulu on

I read most of the responses and agree with the new toys and putting them away for just airplane rides. I have given my kids medication while traveling because of the pressure in the cabin. Giving them a sinus medication that could possibly make them drowsy won't hurt, my ped actually recommended it. about half hour prior to boarding works. I also take sinus pressure meds everytime I fly! It just makes a more comfortable traveling experience. Especially when travleing with 2 todds! The last thing you need is for all of you to have a sinus pressure headache!

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answers from Honolulu on

If we are taking a long flight, I give my kids Benedryl. I wait until after we get in our seats on the plane to give it to them. It knocks them out and they sleep. So I would wait to give it to them for the 4 hour flight and just take naughty snacks that I usually don't feed them to keep them quiet on the other flight. (Make sure you don't give them too much sugar though) :) Play dough works, a magna doodle, those paint coloring books that you brush water on the page and it has the color already on the picture. I have 4 children and Benedryl works like a charm!!! We have to fly 5 hours minimum to even get to the mainland from Hawai'i and we travel a lot. It has been a lifesaver...

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answers from Los Angeles on

i highly recommend a dvd player if it captures their attention. are you flying with another adult as well? depending on how big the airport is, that one hour layover may not be long enough. but try to make the best of it and let them run around before you get back on for the long stretch.

try to board the plane last so they don't have to sit too long while other passengers are still getting situated.

bring lots of snacks (dry goods are nice) and while the airlines will bring you drinks if you need some, you might feel more comfortable purchasing a couple bottles of juice or water after the security check.

are you taking your car seats with you? I traveled with 3 children ages 5,2,1. I had a seat for the 5 & 2 year old and planned on the 1 year old on my lap. for some reason i decided to bring the carseat on board. I'm sure glad I did. I strapped my 1 year old in and she actually fell asleep. Thank goodness, because our flight was delayed and we ended up on the runway for 3 HOURS! the 2 year old ended up on my lap and we colored and read books. sticker books are fun at age 3 too.

here's a link

there are many more options at, barnes n noble, walmart or target.

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