What can you do with a toddler on a 3-hour flight, say? There have been a lot of suggestions and tips and I would like to add my - not to be taken too seriously - three ideas to mitigate the situation.
Having been on flights with truculent three-year-olds before toddlers were au fait with laptops and tablets, believe me, I feel for the lone parent on such journeys. Kids never sleep when you want them to. I recall my daughter fretting all the way to Frankfurt and then falling into the Land of Nod as we circled the airport for landing, and being extremely irritated at being woken up.
Anyway, for what they are worth, here are my three little tips for the journey: Tongue in cheek everyone!
- Remember when you said you'd never ask your mother-in-law for a favour and you could get along just fine without her help/interference? Now might be the time to re-think that rash statement, review your opinion of her parental skills (maybe your husband would have been like that anyway regardless of his upbringing) and ask if she'd take the kids while you fly off to wherever.
- Keep your little darlings up late the night before the trip. Oh, once on the airplane, they'll fight off sleep/drowsiness as if it were the plague and their voices will get really shrill but if you hang on to your patience they will eventually doze off, especially if you read them a story in a monotonous voice. If this is the first time you have read them a story, of course, they might be so excited/enthralled that they stay awake and insist on more. Which is another way of keeping them quiet, so worth a try.
- Lastly - and this worked remarkably well for me - stuff as many colouring books and crayons as you can into your hand luggage along with a pack of cards and a few board games suitable for toddlers. They won't want to colour in pictures or learn anything but by the time you have exhausted your efforts to get them interested, you will have either a) engaged the attention of another adult who might help in diverting them or b) you will have arrived at your destination.