On-the-Go with Toddler-in-Tow
This week, I’m headed back to Hawaii to film another episode of Hawaii 5-0 and I’m about to boldly go where no mom (ok, maybe just me) has been before — I’m flying solo with my toddler.
I thought this would be the perfect occasion to spend some one-on-one time with Finn on the beach before he starts preschool in September and before his life gets turned upside down with the arrival of Baby #2 in November. Luckily, we’ve been on 36 flights together (although always with my hubby or mother along for the ride) so I’ve cultivated some tried-and-true tips I can rely on for being on the go with toddler in tow.
- Some parents swear by the car-seat on the plane, but I say check the bulky car-seat at the gate and bring a lightweight stroller. Not an umbrella stroller — you need something with storage underneath to help you tote a diaperbag, purse, etc. We rely on the Aprica for airports because it’s small enough to fit through the security scanner but still sturdy with lots of storage.
- Take advantage of the Family Security Line. Yes, there is such a magical thing and it has saved my life numerous times. Going through a high-stress, regimented security line with an unpredictable wild animal (AKA a two year old) is enough to make me melt down on even my calmest days, so whatever you can do to minimize the time spent there is a godsend.This is obvious, but you’d be amazed at the amount of times I’ve seen already frazzled parents not following some simple advice: do not wear a belt, wear slip on shoes and don’t wear anything metal!
- To pack in your carry-on/diaper bag: I always bring a purse, because it helps me still feel like a grown up (inside: iPad with book and movie, earbuds, small toiletry kit, and an extra shirt), and a black diaper bag from Stokke (inside: diapers & wipes, extra clothes, muslin from Aden & Anais, dried apricots for ear popping on takeoff and landing).
- Stickers, snacks and surprises, oh my! Stickers – endless fun to put on everything. Snacks – obvious. Surprises – keeps things interesting when you bring out something new every hour. And don’t forget to take a couple strolls up and down the aisle, so your little one can stretch his legs.
- iPad, iPad, iPad. Load it up with a great movie, a few counting apps and you will always have a safe fall-back option to avoid a meltdown. Some of my favorite apps for the little set are TallyTots, NightyNight, Grolly and Endless ABCs.