In one of our earlier blogs, we talked about how to keep your toddler entertained on a flight. However, as many parents discover, it’s not always the actual flight that’s the issue.
Getting through the airport can be a very stressful experience when you’ve got a toddler. This is especially true if there’s delays, or if your little one is particularly grumpy that day! If you have an unpleasant airport experience, it’s going to negatively affect the flight and in turn, the start of your trip.
So, if you want to ensure your vacation gets off to the best start, here you’ll discover some great tips and advice on how to enjoy a hassle-free experience with your toddler at the airport.
Look Out For Family-Friendly Airports
Before you choose an airport to fly from, it’s worth doing a little research to see which ones offer the best family-friendly service. You’ll typically find a lot of airports these days are keen to show off how family-friendly they are. So, it shouldn’t take you too long to establish which ones have the better child-friendly facilities.
The types of facilities on offer can include play areas, baby changing and feeding rooms, and dedicated areas where you and your little one can view the planes taking off and landing. Knowing exactly where these toddler-friendly facilities are before you go will ensure you can take your toddler straight there when you arrive.
Play The Instruction Game
If there is no dedicated child’s area, you can always provide your own entertainment. One which tends to go down well and enables your toddler to get rid of all of that excess energy, is the instruction game.
This involves giving your toddler instructions that they have to follow. It could be telling them to run around a pole a couple of times, then running to a trash can, completing jumping jacks and hopping backwards. Obviously, you’ll need to adjust the instructions to fit the age of your toddler and what they can comfortably do. Of course, this is only advised if circumstances allow for it without risking safety and the disturbance of other people
This game is simple, yet really fun for toddlers. You can also adjust the rules a little to suit the airport you’re in and how busy it is. The best part is they will use up a lot of energy, making them more likely to sit quietly on the plane. It also encourages healthy brain development so it’s educational and a great distraction!
Take An Airport Goodie Bag
Another great way to keep your toddler entertained on the flight, is to take an airport goodie bag. This can include anything from sweets to toys and sticker books.
You don’t have to spend a fortune. Look online on auction sites such as Ebay. You’ll often find much cheaper items on sites like that, just remember to order well in advance to allow time for postage.
If you give your toddler the goodie bag as a surprise at the airport, they’ll be thrilled by their new goodies and it’ll definitely keep them busy for a while! Sticker, activity and coloring books are particularly great items to add as these provide sometimes hours of entertainment! You could also include a new book that you could read to your toddler while you wait for your departure.
Browse The Duty Free Stores
You don’t need to have money for this idea. If you do, you can let them choose something from the shop. If you don’t, or you simply don’t have room to carry anything with you, you can make up your own little game.
Ask your toddler to find specific items from a list and see if they can find the cheapest prices. For example, you could ask them to find the cheapest chocolate. Obviously, some toddlers may be a little too young for this game so you can help them if needed.
Not only does this keep your little one distracted, but it teaches them the basics about different prices. You can also teach numbers by getting your toddler to count things in the store.
Using unique experiences to teach valuable lessons is always a great idea.
The “Spot It” Game
Another fun airport game you can play together is “Spot It”. This involves seeing how many people are wearing pajamas (you’d be surprised!), or how many people are wearing UGG boots.
You can use literally anything for this game, it doesn’t have to be clothing. Again, it keeps their little minds active and can entertain them for quite a long time.
Consider A Walk To A Nearby Activity
If you’re facing pretty long delays, it could be worth asking the airport staff about nearby activities. Is there a park close by for example? If there is and you’re facing a wait of around 4 or 5 hours, it could be worth popping along to the park with your little one.
Just remember if you do leave the airport, you will need to go through security again when you get back. Therefore, you should leave plenty of time to go through security and get to the departure area.
Take Their Favorite Toy, But Only As A Back-Up
Does your toddler have a favorite teddy bear or toy? If so, pack that in your hand luggage and use it as a back-up. It’s like a secret weapon that can instantly calm and soothe your little one, so don’t use it unless you really have to.
Tell Them About The Special Airport Police
Ok, so these don’t exist, but your toddler doesn’t know that! If all else fails and you’re struggling to calm your toddler down and get them to behave, telling them there are special airport police which look out for naughty children is a fantastic way to keep them in check.
A surprising number of parents do this so don’t feel bad! Sometimes, a little white lie can literally save your sanity. Perhaps it’s best to wait and use this as a last resort, but so many parents find it effective that we couldn’t leave it out.
Overall, keeping your toddler entertained at the airport doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. By following the tips above, you’ll have hours of entertainment available to keep your toddler distracted, even when you’re facing potentially long delays!
If you’ve got more airport games or tips, please share them below!