We just enjoyed a sweet little trip to Northern Ireland for a friend’s wedding. It was a lovely weekend…except we had to catch a plane! Any parents of travelling tots will understand the anxiety this incites, no matter how short the flight may be (only 50 minutes this time round). In my case it’s not always the flight itself that raises the cortisol levels, but rather the stages in between. Here are a few trends that I’ve noticed from our experiences flying with a toddler!
#1 – You Will Wake Up Exhausted
Whether it be a restless toddler that kicks you in the head through the night, or a restless brain that insists on waking you every hour to remind you that you’re catching a flight in a few hours, there is a 98% chance that you’ll have a totally rubbish night’s sleep and wake up completely exhausted. This of course makes everything that follows inevitably more joyful!
#2 – You Will Forget To Pack Something Essential
I HATE packing for a toddler. There is just so much you need to remember. We ran out of wet wipes the last time we flew (*pro-parenting tip – NEVER run out of wet wipes). This time round, while I did pack a little sandwich (which was devoured moments upon reaching the airport), I forgot other snacks which led to an emergency co-op reconnaissance mission when we arrived in Northern Ireland.
#3 – You Will Bribe Your Child
At one point or another during the trip, you will inevitably bribe your child to sit still and be quiet. There were several such occasions during this trip, but my favourite had to be when my husband promised “coco” (chocolate) during a rather large frustration tantrum over a suitcase…which our son, despite all his will and might, was too small to pull!
#4 – You Will, At Some Point, Call Your Partner A Mean Name
In all fairness, it is all pretty stressful, and they will inevitably do that same to you! Post-travel cuddles make it all better (just shower after the flight first…post-flight armpits are the WORST, blergh!)
#5 – In Hindsight You Will Be Amazed At How Well Behaved Your Toddler Was
This point is so true! My son is not even two years old yet and I think he does so incredibly well to say we put him through all of this on a frequent basis. You may want to tear your hair out after a bad night’s sleep with a sugared-up, zero napped toddler, but it’s all worth it in the end. There is nothing like a good adventure!
And My Tips?
Oh god, don’t take advice from me on how to Mum, but if you really want some realistic words of reassurance, here you go…
#1 – Really try and get a good night’s sleep. Go to bed a few hours early if you have to.
#2 – Strong caffeine is beneficial.
#3 – Pack lots of wet-wipes, lots of nappies and lots of snacks. Oh and a spare pair of clothes for you and your travel companions.
#4 – Plan the means of travel for your stay in advance. In hindsight we should have booked a hire car for this particular trip…
#5 – Take the grandparents as backup! AMAZING!
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