Hi mommas! Happy almost summer!
Next week we are headed to the Arizona sunshine to see my parents. The forecast is solid ☀☀☀☀ & I couldn’t be more excited to soak up the desert heat especially after being sick this week.
I’m definitely one of those people who comes to life in the sun – I was born in the wrong part of the country!
Tony is only coming for a few days due to work, so I’m flying solo (#momjokes) with a very wiggly, very energetic 2-year old whose latest trick is screaming his demands and following any response that’s less than satisfactory with an even louder, “NOOOO!” It’s made going out in public v. exciting these days. 🙈🙈🙈
The thing with traveling with toddlers – by yourself or with back up – is that you have little control. Yes, you can pack the right snacks and buy the fun new book (or download every episode of Peppa Pig and Sesame Street) to keep them occupied, but if your precious little babe feels more like a total crazy person that day (I have had my share of run ins with this sort), well then, snacks, my dear friend, just simply won’t help.
So I control the things I can, and prepare for the rest.
This not a post about what to pack for your toddler. There are so many articles out there that share great information and tips about what to bring on your flight/travels to keep your little one happy.
This is not that. This post is all about what I/you should do ensure you enjoy the flight too.
How to Fly Solo with a Toddler – Momma Survival Guide
1. Dress For Action
Celeb moms make flying look très chic. I, on the other hand, look like the member of the special ops in head to toe black. I go prepared to sprint the entire length of the terminal chasing a loose child and in multiple layers in case there is vomit. It’s happened and I have no doubt it will happen again.
2. Be Handsfree
When Coop transitioned from walking to running I started using a backpack instead of a diaper bag so I had my hands free at all times (plus I think the non diaper bag look is cute). When I travel, I like to use little pouches like this one to sort and keep everything I need in an easy to grab compartment. That way, I’m not rifling through my bag while also trying to contain a 2-year old.
3. Inhale, Exhale, This Will Be Fun
It’s so fun to see the world through the eyes of our littles. When I remove the pressures (I put on myself) of getting from here to there and just focus on being in the moment, things are so much better.
The biggest part of being in the moment for me is putting away my phone. I’m guilty of taking 5,000 photos/videos of the kids doing absolutely–adorable–but–not–at–all–photo–worthy things way too often (especially on vacation. It’s seriously too much). And I know that I’m focusing on the wrong thing when I do.
So when I travel, especially on my own with kids, I put my phone away. It goes into one of my pouches, of course, so I can quickly grab it for boarding passes or to check the time. I like knowing it’s definitely with me and not left behind on an airport chair somewhere. (Yep. Been there, done that. Searched the entire airport frantically before a flight. No bueno.)
4. BYOF (Bring Your Own Food)
I am so not a good hungry person. I mean, really who is? Which is exactly the point. When you’re hungry, your patience runs super thin. Although I can pick up a few things in the terminal before the flight, I like to control as much as possible. If I already have snacks with me I don’t have to worry about being rushed or getting in a long line with a wiggly little boy in tow.
I like snacks that are easy to eat with one hand. I’m also partial to things that will keep me full for a while like Keto Crave Energy Bars from Zen Health, prepackaged nuts from Trader Joe’s, Justin’s Classic Almond Butter packets (these are easy to share with toddlers too) and those yummy Dang Coconut Chips.
5. Strategic Hydration
Speaking of snacks, let’s talk drinks. It’s important to hydrate carefully. When I fly by myself, I drink as much water as I can to avoid the dehydration that comes with flying. But when I’m with a toddler, the last thing I want to do is lug all of our stuff into a nasty public restroom.
There is nothing worse than trying to use the restroom while your child is peeking under stalls and touching everything they find on the ground and/or stuck to the bathroom door. Ewww.
Instead, I only bring a small bottle of water on the plane and the minute we get off, I make the speediest beeline to nearest shop for a gigantic bottle of water.
6. Smile & Wave
Going back to the idea of recognizing the things you have control over. How your kid handles the flight is not one…yes, even though you’ve planned the perfect entertainment pack, avoided sugary snacks and booked your flight during their nap time.
The reality is, being confined in a small area is tough for anyone let alone a toddler. When I find my seat on the plane I say hello to the people around me and let them know I’ll do my best keep Cooper entertained. I smile and hope they understand that these things just are what they are.
And, then, I do just that. I will literally do anything to keep him happy (as long as it’s safe and not disturbing the passengers around us, of course). This once meant that he laid on the floor underneath my seat watching the same episode of Sesame Street for, like, 45 mins. There was also a time when he was still tiny that I literally did full squats in the isle the entire flight while he slept in the ergo. Good times.
If things don’t go so well. Just smile and let people know you’re doing the very best you can. That’s all any of us can do anyways, amiright?!
I’ve found that people are much more generous and helpful than I expect them to be in these situations especially they see you’re doing your best.
👈🏻Cooper not acting like a total crazy person on Mother’s Day. Thank goodness because I was soooo sick.