I am pleased to announce that we officially survived a cross-country move! It wasn’t always pretty, but it was quite the worthwhile adventure.
For those of you who are new with us, I am referencing a recent move from Texas to Washington state.
It involved selling our home and most of our furniture, packing everything up into storage, 8 hours of flying with toddlers for me, and 4 days of driving for my husband and my brother.
You can read more about our family’s story on EllenNation by clicking here.
Here is a list of what we learned helped (or hurt) when flying with our 17 month old twins.
How To Fly with Toddlers
- First, address your MINDSET.
Both of my daughters do not sleep “on-the-go.” They have sensory-sensitivities and hate to sit still. AND…I didn’t have time to grab coffee! All signs pointed to PANIC, but that does not help anyone.
Choose to accept the chaos and roll with it. You will be surprised just how well things can go when you release trying to control the situation.
- PREPARE a Bag of Tricks
Do not go empty handed and expect your toddler(s) to “just deal.” Think of that Lion King song and BE PREPARED!I kind of did this to myself, but we don’t allow screen time in our home. Therefore, the iPad did not hold their attention for more than 20 seconds. OOPS. Thankfully we had a plan A,B,C, and D! (See below)
WHAT PLANS ACTUALLY WORKED
- Using the only airline approved DOUBLE UMBRELLA STROLLER was a game changer. Last minute gate change and connecting flights after a delay? NO PROBLEM.
We also bought a travel bag to slide over it and checked it at the gate. I had several wonderful strangers help me fold it and put it up.
- GET THEIR JAWS MOVING
My twins enjoyed pouches or melts during take off and landing. We had zero complaints from them as a result! Pack something to keep them chewing, especially during the decent, which is hardest on their little ears.
- LABEL THEM
If you also happen to have twins, label them!
My mum and I made shirts that said #TWINS on the back and it was a huge time saver.
I only got stopped by 2 strangers to answer the typical “Are they twins?” question rather than the usual 10-15.
WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR BAG OF TRICKS
Your bag of tricks, also known as your backpack, should be full of activities for your toddlers.
DOLLAR STORE FINDS:
- Slim file folder for organizing activities
- Drawing paper
- Stickers, LOTS of stickers of various kinds and textures.
- Magnets with tins
(CAUTION: Make sure they are large enough to avoid a choking hazard and never leave them unsupervised with magnets.)
- Battery-operated tealight candles
- All of these toys were NEW to the twins, light weight, and perfect for fidgeting littles or sensory seekers. These top 5 finds kept them entertained for 5.5 hours of flight time!
WHAT DID NOT WORK
- These headphones are honestly amazing. They work like a regular headband, and they limit the volume so your kids cannot burst their eardrums.
- They did not work for us because: 1) my girls have sensory sensitivities and I neglected to desensitize them first and 2) they are not super drawn to screen-time activities. BUT, please try these if you have kiddos that do not fall into the same category.
- Heavy items: I fell in love with these heavy drawing books that had an Etch-A-Sketch attached. I was determined to let the girls enjoy them, so I made room in my backpack. Not only did Lani and Libby not seem to care about them, but they also killed my back from carrying them throughout the airport.
Accept ahead of time that toddlers will tantrum, and remind yourself to breathe. My girls handled travel and no sleep AMAZINGLY well, but at one point they expressed frustration with not being able to run around.
I had a decision, either PANIC about everyone “being bothered” by the screaming, or just breathe and know the tantrum would end at some point. It wasn’t easy, but it helped.
At the end of the flight I was sure everyone was going to be grumpy. I was putting the girls in their stroller right outside the exit and hanging my head in embarrassment.
I was shocked. Rather than grumpy looks or remarks, everyone that passed sang them praises for being such good travelers. The terribleness of the tantrum was most likely all in my head. So trust in the goodness of others, and do not panic!
ALL credit for this post belongs to this amazing woman right here, my Mum.
Moving cross-country involved dealing with an insane amount of logistics, so she took care of Operation Keep the Toddlers Entertained as a gift to us.
We could not have done this without her. We also loved sharing Washington with her before she had to return back to Texas.
To read more about our recent move, check out last weeks post below!