‘Holidaying’ with a toddler

Last week we went to Spain to stay with my parents-in-law. With Theo.

To say I was apprehensive about flying with a very active toddler was an understatement. I am not the best ‘Flyer’ as they go, let alone with the potential of mass chaos from my son.

So. I had researched different ideas to keep toddlers entertained on flights.


Seeing as Theo seems to have absolutely no interest/ attention span for anything digital (To Husband Daves disappointment) …My main go to items were

  • Snacks. Lots of them. Naughty ones too for drastic measures.
  • Etch a sketch ( no droppable pens)
  • Playdoh

The flight out couldn’t have gone better. The moment we took off Theo fell asleep for an hour (as did Husband Dave), so I had some rare sleepy cuddles and quietness to read my book (although I didn’t have my book as I had not predicted this) so I sat not moving for

Me and my boys fast asleep ( and fellow passenger)

an hour, pretty uncomfortably. When Theo woke up he was awestruck by the view out of the window, and etch a sketch also had an excited look in. …We didn’t even touch the playdoh! I was pretty pleased it was fair to say; I may even have been a little smug. What was all the fuss about? Flying with a toddler. Easy. I would do it every week. Of course I was expecting this same level of enjoyment on the way home.

But…The flight back was horrendous. Couldn’t have gone worse…

  • We were an hour and a half delayed for take-off after we had got on the plane… YES. This meant Theo was strapped to me for an hour an a half before we had even taken off… He hardly sits on me for two minutes without fidgeting his way off. Let alone an hour and a half.
  • This resulted in MASS melt down from Theo like I have never seen before. Arms flailing, uncontrollable crying, kicking his legs, arching his back. All the signs of a very unhappy boy. For an hour and a half.
  • We attempted stuffing cake into his mouth mid screaming. Surprisingly. This DIDN’T help. I just had lots of looks from other passengers..
  • WE tried walking up and down the aisle; Just carrying the screaming around for everyone to see/ hear. Im sure a few people got the brunt of a foot or elbow blow…
  • Husband Dave and I took it in turns to go to the loo whilst the other one stood
    Just before we boarded the plane. (We have no pictures of the nightmarish flight suprisingly!)

    outside with a screaming Theo. We got into an argument about who was going first (after an hour and a half not being able to go). I thought I should go first, (‘I have a weakened bladder from giving birth to said tantrumming toddler’). HD said he should as he (‘had drunk too much water’). Somehow HD got to go first. I felt sorry the old man who was also waiting after this result. The stress levels were high.

  • I debated pulling the emergency handle to take a jump out.
  • Getting stuck behind the tea trolley. Asking ‘Chantelle’  if we could just squeeze by to get to our seats- as I motioned behind to a flailing Theo in HDs arms- desperate to go to sleep. She turned away and turned back and said ‘well if he is like that you will only be stood up again anyway’. I was incredulous. WOW flybe the service.
  • We also had a crying 5 month old behind us. The mum and me kept looking at each other in solidarity. We are in this together. I don’t think we showed a good picture of ‘It gets better’….! to her -It doesn’t.
  • Husband Dave and I ended up singing ‘Frere Jacque’… One of us directly into each ear. In harmony. until finally he went to sleep. (‘There was NO WAY I was standing up again anytime on that flight with Chantelle watching. humphhh.)
  • Obviously, as soon as he fell asleep I couldn’t help think ‘WOW’ you are amazing. I made you.’  ‘I love you’ etc etc…and promptly shook myself back to reality…
  • He woke up screaming.
  • I definitely regretted not bringing more hardcore treats. sweets, chocolate buttons. The organic, sugar free bars were not hitting the spot!

When I have told people this story who know Theo they say they can’t imagine him like this… well its TRUE. We have decided that we are not taking any baby/ toddler/ teenager on any aeroplane again. Sorry Theo / any future kids. That is it. Theo has only gone and done it. Big style. (Even if we did have a lovely actual holiday).

Big Love

Holly xxx




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