Flying with Toddlers: Home for the Holidays in 20 Easy Steps


Flying with toddlers: A little boy sits in airplane window seat with the tray table down. he is playing with duplo blocks

Flying with Toddlers in 20 Easy Steps

(Do you detect my sarcasm? Fasten your seatbelts!)


  1. Stay up until midnight making sure everything is packed.
  2. Go to bed wearing your clothes for the next day. (Because face it you won’t want to bother getting dressed when you wake in three hours.)
  3. Wake up at 3:00 am, load all of your luggage into your friend’s car, and buckle all the car seats into the car. (Take a mental note to bribe your friend to drive your van next time so you can skip this step.)
  4. Haul sleeping children into the car, praying they stay asleep.
  5. Drive an hour to the airport. (Because of course TF Green doesn’t have flights to wherever it is you need to go.)
  6. When your friend drops you off curbside, scramble to unbuckle the car seats and shove them into their gate check bags while you juggle your half-asleep children.
  7. Pray the curbside check in and bag drop is open so you don’t have to drag all your stuff inside.
  8. Find out you need to go inside anyhow to get your infant in arms boarding pass.
  9. Head inside the brightly lit airport and get in the line while your monsters ::ahem::  children are fully awake and disgruntled now.
  10. Wait  45 minutes or more in a TSA line because it’s the holidays and everyone in the world is flying TODAY. Silently groan as you watch people ahead of you try to smuggle liquids in, thus causing major line delays.
  11. Finally get to the front of security. Unload everything from the stroller, pray that things go smoothly.
  12. Have your hands swabbed for explosives because you’re babywearing...Awesome! The formula powder that spilled in the diaper bag registers as explosives! Proceed to have complete pat down and all bags emptied many times, ruining your perfect packing job.
  13. Run like crazy to the gate, because who knew security would take almost two hours. Do a roll call to make sure you didn’t lose anyone along the way.
  14. Make it to the gate in time. Phew.
  15. Pretend you have a handle on your life while you wear the baby, juggle the car seat and the  diaper bag while your husband has arms full of who knows what.
  16. Cue complete toddler meltdown. She is not interested in following daddy to row 28 and she is blocking the center aisle. Plead with the flight attendant to just scoop your kid up and haul them to your row.
  17. Try to shove all of your stuff into the overhead bin and under the seat. Finagle the carseat into the row and buckle it.
  18. Try to take back your toddler who now wants nothing to do with you. (She has chosen the flight attendant as her mom now.) Proceed to buckle your flailing toddler and pretend you don’t notice the stares of everyone who is now boarding the plane.
  19. Collapse into your seat from sheer exhaustion and wonder this is even worth the hassle.
  20. Safely touch down and get off the plane. Watch the excitement on your children’s faces as they run into their grandparents’ arms, squealing with delight.  Remember that, yes, it is worth the hassle of flying during the holidays.

But maybe next year, bribe the grandparents to come to you…


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Leeta Law
Born and raised in Idaho, a Rhodie transplant for 10 years and now living in Glocester. A loving wife and stay at home mother and foster mom to three beautiful and spunky children ages 1 to 4. Independent, stubborn and somewhat crazy, she can be found trying to figure out innovative ways to do things, traveling to new places, attending church, outdoor recreation, and camping all with three littles in tow. Her hobbies include planning vacations, chasing toddlers down in the store, visiting libraries and being an avid deal hunter.