6 Tips for Entertaining a Toddler on a Long Haul Flight

Friday, 10 April 2015

Burning that energy in the airport!
This week we began the first leg of our big adventure for the month of April - Michigan to celebrate Miss P's second birthday, followed by Disney World and a week at Daytona Beach! We left stunning weather in Northern Ireland - it was literally 60 degrees and sunny for the nearly 2 hour drive to the Dublin airport. Unfortunately for us, although Belfast actually has 2 airports, as it is a part of the UK, it falls under a higher rate of airline taxes than does the Republic of Ireland. So it is almost always less expensive for us to travel from Dublin than it is from Belfast. Hopefully this will someday change!

Once daddy dropped us off at the airport, it was through security we went. Something unique about departing from Dublin is that you actually clear US Customs and Immigration in the Dublin airport! Once you arrive in the US, it's just like coming off a domestic flight! So once that happened we didn't have much time to waste at the gate before pre-boarding began.

I will always recommend pre-boarding when you're travelling with a little one. It gives you a bit more time to get on board and get settled, not to mention breakdown strollers and corral your little ones to their seats. I opted to gate check our pencil stroller and used my gate check bag to keep it nice and clean.

Once on board, we had less than stellar seats.... but sometimes, that's how it goes! Miss P and I were in a middle seat with people on either side of us. At first I wanted to panic about this, but I have to say she was so incredibly well behaved , and both of our seatmates thanked us for that - yay Miss P! We'll make a seasoned traveler out of her in no time.

The flight from Dublin to JFK was 7.5 hours. As always, I had brought a few things to do that were new to Miss P before this trip to keep her busy. Here are a few things that worked for us:

1. Sticker Book - Frozen themed of course. This came from the Pound/Dollar store. We spent a good while sticking stickers on the pages and talking about the characters and the sticker backgrounds on the pages.

2. Magnetic Drawing Board - another dollar store purchase. This was a big hit and we spent a lot of time scribbling and erasing and scribbling some more. A well spent dollar.

3. Snacks - I had brought mini breadsticks, fruit roll ups, granola bars, fit newtons, lots of variety and plenty of each since it was a longer flight. Snacks are a great way to keep her ears clear through eating and swallowing, and also a great way to pass the time and keep her blood sugar level. Although there is a meal served on a transatlantic flight, there is usually one meal per seat and it isn't the easiest to eat using a tray table with a little person on your lap!

4. Movies - We're finally at the age where movies can keep us entertained for a while which is fabulous! We were able to watch part of several movies which kept Miss P rather entertained. I did buy some kid-friendly headphones but for whatever reason she won't wear them - so we watch the movies rather than listen. We flew Delta which has a great entertainment system and several options for kids - there were at least ten animated movies to choose from so we were kept rather busy. 

5. Walks - About five hours in Miss P was ready to get up and move - so we walked laps of the plane probably five or six times before settling back in for another movie. 

6. Gummy Window Decor - you know those funny gummy things you get at the dollar store for decorations? Well P is obsessed. I took the Easter ones that I had on our kitchen window that she's been playing with for the past month and threw them in my purse. We had tons of fun with those while passing time on our layover at JFK. I don't know what it is about them, but she absolutely loves them. 

Sticky Window Things = a big hit!

Everything went stellar until we had about 30 minutes to go and P decided we were done... That's when I pulled out my emergency stash - lollipops. It kept her entertained, quiet and sitting still on my lap until we landed and could unbuckle and get off.

So safely and happily we arrived in Detroit where my parents were waiting! We have just a few days here in Michigan, then we're off to Disneyworld!

I can't stand middle seats... Where do you like to sit on the plane?


  1. David likes the window seat because he can go hours without moving so it is perfect for him.

  2. I like the aisle for quick easy access to the bathroom especially with the pre boarding cocktail I enjoy!