4 Tips For Traveling With A Small Child On An Airplane

Traveling with a small child especially on an airplane can be stressful.  Flying with a child isn’t exactly a walk in the park and kids get bored easily.  Kids like to move around and asking your child to sit down in a confined space for a long period of time is like pulling teeth.  We have traveled quite a bit with our little one and while there are no foolproof plans for avoiding meltdowns, I did want to share four tricks that we use to ensure we get through a short or long flight with as little or few tantrums as possible.


Small children are very busy.  They just don’t sit still.  Kids need to move around, and burn excess energy.  Arrive early enough at the airport so that your child can get to run around and do laps in the terminal.  My husband and I take turns walking and running after my son.  After a few laps in the terminal my son is a lot more calmer and easier to settle down.  Utilizing the long walkways before asking your child to sit down on a plane can work miracles even on your energizer bunny.


Children will get hungry and airline food is not always suited to the taste buds of a small child or even an adult so make sure to pack plenty of snacks.  Pack a lot of options.  We like to bring dried fruit, fruit/yogurt pouches, goldfish, animal crackers, cereal, granola bars and special treats like cookies, M&Ms or other favorites.  In my experience, eating is another form of distraction and when my son is chewing I can assure you he isn’t screaming.


If your child doesn’t go to sleep, he/she will get bored quickly so make sure to bring plenty of distractions.  Purchase special toys that are perfect for travel like these handheld trains/cars to drive around the tray table or small dolls, puzzles, coloring activity, readers, stickers, little plastic dinosaurs or superhero figurines, 3Doodler, or an etch a sketch.  These toys are a great way to pass the time.  Target and Walmart are good places to pick up extra toys that won’t break the bank.

I have rounded up a few other travel toy favorites below.


Invest in some sort of video technology entertainment like a portable DVD player, Amazon Fire or an iPad to keep your child occupied.  These especially comes in handy on longer flights.  Even if you don’t let your child watch TV at home, allowing your child screen time while in flight can help diffuse energy that would have otherwise led to a tantrum or meltdown.  Load your tablet with songs, movies, or games to keep your little one entertained for as long as possible.  Our favorites are Disney Cars Toon, Disney Melody Time, Disney Tarzan, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Bubble Guppies, and Thomas the Train.

If you are still in search of other DVD options for your little one, I have compiled a few other favorites below.

What are your tips and tricks for travel with little ones?


  1. Shelbee on the Edge | 27th Dec 17

    Maureen, these are very helpful tips! I need all of these things for a long car ride with my kids! I have never taken my kids on a plane and I don’t intend to any time soon. I am so afraid they would be nightmares! But I also have no need to fly them anywhere either, so there’s that! I guess I should consider myself fortunate that family is just a few hours car ride away. Thanks so much for linking up with me On the Edge! By the way, your little guy is simply adorable!


  2. Anna | 24th Dec 17

    Great tips! My daughter is 5 months old and I´m thinking of starting traveling with her when she starts walking! Planes and airports might be challenging with kids!

    Anna / http://atlifestylecrossroads.com

    • Maureen | 24th Dec 17

      Thanks Anna! I think it’s great that you are starting to think about taking your daughter traveling. I was honestly a wreck the very first time I stepped outside the house to go to my son’s doctor’s appointment. I couldn’t work the stroller, I was fussing with the baby carrier, I didn’t know which hand I was going to use to carry all the other things I thought my son needed. Boy, am I glad to be past that! But to be honest as hard as it was to take out my little one outside I am glad I did. I learned a few tricks here and there that only experience would have taught me especially because every child is different. You got this! Let me know how it goes. Have a great day and happy holidays to you and your family!

  3. Mary Leigh | 23rd Dec 17

    These are really great tips! Especially the snacks and extra toys! We love special toys for travel and ALL THE SNACKS!

    • Maureen | 24th Dec 17

      The snacks are the best because I get to partake in the fun! It’s a win – win for everyone. LOL Happy holidays lady!

  4. Mica | 13th Dec 17

    These are good tips! We did our first flight with the toddlers a few weeks ago – so many snacks were packed, haha! It’s the easiest way to amuse them. We let them run around in the waiting area too,w e got a row of seats by the window and they ran up and down there without disturbing other travellers so they were ready to sit still on the plane, haha!

    Hope you are having a good week so far and you’re getting organised for Christmas! I finished my shopping, just waiting for it all to arrive in the mail now haha.

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • Maureen | 15th Dec 17

      Long walkways and big parks are my best friends! It’s perfect for taking the little man for a walk, a run or a sprint! LOL He is such an energizer bunny. I asked him the other day to share the love and give mama a little of bit of his energy but he decided to run off instead. Sigh…lol

  5. Ruth | 13th Dec 17

    I have traveled with my girls numerous times and all these tips are perfect! I love bringing little treats to eat for the girls and for myself 🙂


    • Maureen | 15th Dec 17

      Oh I know! Sometimes I think I end up eating the snacks/treats more than my son does! But it does come in handy for those times when you have nothing else up your sleeves. Have a great weekend Ruth!

  6. Andrea Nine | 13th Dec 17

    Oh how I remember those days!! Great tips and he is sooo cute!

  7. Brooke | 13th Dec 17

    Great tips! Especially the snacks!

    pumps and push-ups

    • Maureen | 15th Dec 17

      Thank you Brooke! Snacks sure does come in handy especially since my son is a serial snacker! LOL

  8. MONICA SORS | 13th Dec 17

    Amazing tips dear! Thanks for sharing!!
    Mónica Sors

    • Maureen | 15th Dec 17

      Thank you Monica! Have a great weekend.

  9. Sheree | 12th Dec 17

    These are such great tips! I definitely understand the struggle of occupying your children on a long plane ride, so this would totally come in handy. Bringing quiet toys/games is so important!!

    ~xo Sheree

    • Maureen | 15th Dec 17

      Thank you Sheree! It so is. My son’s hands and feet never seems to get tired. Having little toys/games at least occupies him enough to give me a little bit of a breather before the next round. Have a fabulous weekend lady!

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