I have vague memories of travelling abroad while growing up. There were one or two trips abroad and a few road trips, but that was it. My dad was a creature of habit and so we stayed at home and regularly played tourist in our beloved city.
Flash forward 33 years and it seems like we’re constant travelling. Would it seem weird if I considered my 20 month-old daughter a well-seasoned traveller? Amina has travelled by air since she was 2 months old. Her first trip was the move from Toronto to LA and her latest jaunt was a trans-Atlantic flight to the United Kingdom.
Travelling with a baby requires a lot of planning and organisation. A few weeks before a flight, I would create a list of things I wanted to take- clothes based on the season, toys, books, sleep accessories like her projector or Sleep Sheep (this was before I bought another projector and Sleep Sheep to stay at home in Toronto), bottles, and food items. About two weeks before the trip, I would start dumping stuff that I would take into a basket so that when it came time to pack, I knew everything was in the basket and I didn’t have to go searching around the house for everything. Finally, 3-4 days before the trip, I would pack everything up so I would only have to add last minute items, like Amina’s sleeping blanket, the morning of the trip.
When Amina was younger, keeping her occupied on a flight wasn’t a problem. She would eat, drink milk and then fall asleep. However, now that she is a very active toddler, she needs a few things to keep her distracted and quiet for a part of the flight. For the last 3-4 trips, I created busy bags that contained a few toys and books, some old, some new to keep Amina occupied. After every trip, I’ve reviewed the busy bag items got rid of what didn’t work for her and replaced them with new items.
Hands down, here are some of my BUSY BAG MUST HAVES on a flight with my little munchkin:
- Washi Tape -This Japanese paper tape is great for sticking on the tray table, seat screen, ahem…people sitting next to you. It’s easily removable and can entertain a toddler for at least 20-30 minutes.
- Sticky Notes – Great for sticking, creating patterns
- 1-2 new board books, wrapped up in colourful paper.
- Mini magnidoodle for drawing. I found this to be better than crayons because the crayons rolled off the tray table.
- Stickers and a mini book to stick them on.
- Weleda Skin Food– This saved me big time on my last solo flight with Amina. She was unwell and screamed pretty much the entire flight. None of the aforementioned items helped and then suddenly she saw my hand cream and the last two hours of the flight passed away very quietly! If you do add this to your busy bag, try to find one that is non-toxic.
- iPod-Load it with 1-2 toddler apps or cartoons
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