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Why Flying With a Toddler Has Made Me Like Turbulence… A Little Bit More

sleeping in carseat on plane

Turbulence helps my toddler sleep like a baby!

Lots of people hate turbulence. Lots of people hate flying with a toddler. Neither are pleasant situations, and perhaps the thought of combining the two of them has you thinking that you’re better off staying at home than jetting off to that beach vacation. Well, would you be surprised to learn that I’ve discovered that flying with my toddler has a given me more positive attitude toward turbulence? Let me explain…

I have unfortunately become the kind of flyer who really dislikes the run-of-the-mill “fasten your seatbelt” turbulence that happens during almost every flight. Turbulence makes me nervous even when I know that it is par for the course, absolutely routine and all that stuff that people who are cool about turbulence will tell you.

And I knew last week (and the week prior) that when I flew from NYC to Sarasota and back again with my 15-month-old completely alone (except for 100+ other passengers and the flight crew), I would definitely experience some turbulence. While New York and Florida were enjoying great weather, there were plenty of storms in between to provide “potholes in the air” as my friendly Jet Blue captain put it.

There was some degree of turbulence for the entirety of both flights. Hardly ever a break from it and that was not my idea of fun. I had planned to walk around the plane with my toddler to give him a break from sitting in his carseat but I’m not one to get up when the “fasten your seatbelt” sign is lit, and especially not when they make an announcement about “having to suspend beverage service temporarily.” Safety first, thank you very much.

Naturally, my toddler did not appreciate my commitment to safety insofar as it meant that he was stuck in his carseat. And he was quite vocal about his displeasure at times, making me everyone’s least favorite passenger on the plane. (Because they can’t hate the baby, right?) It’s interesting to note that on European airlines, they don’t recognize carseats as being safer, which means that during turbulence, takeoff and landing, the parent is required to take the baby out of the carseat and attach him to your seatbelt with a special baby seatbelt that does not exist on American airlines.

On both of my flights, I noticed that whenever the turbulence would get worse, my son would get calmer. Just as the turbulence reached its peak — and I reached the peak of my stress — my son drifted off to sleep. That’s right — the same motion that I found so nerve-wracking, he found soothing. And it makes perfect sense, seeing as I still have to rock him in a stroller to take naps. (But that’s a whole other post.)

So after experiencing an unhappy toddler and moderate turbulence, I was now experiencing a sleeping toddler and moderate turbulence. The situation was much improved — thank you, turbulence! This being Jet Blue, I decided to relax by watching Bravo and sitcom reruns while my son napped for about 45 minutes each time. I’m relieved that he’s making me almost appreciate turbulence, because the last thing I want to do is give him a negative attitude toward turbulence or flying. I’ve got big travel plans for him and I want him to see the magic in flying through the air in a big metal bird.

So why has flying with a toddler made me like turbulence? Because it puts him to sleep. Yeah, I guess this could have just been a six-word-long post.

Check out my tips for flying with a baby and my interview on ABC News Now about what you need to know when flying with a baby.

 

11 Responses to Why Flying With a Toddler Has Made Me Like Turbulence… A Little Bit More

  1. Abby
    Twitter: abbytegnelia
    March 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    You’re so funny. I’ve actually come to like turbulance as long as it’s not too jerky. I always feel for moms flying alone with a baby/toddler!
    Abby recently posted..I met a shaman in Utah

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      March 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      Thanks, Abby! Yes, flying alone was tough. But the return flight was so much better — I think because he wasn’t teething as badly and because I knew I had done it once… Can’t believe you like turbulence :)

  2. Jeremy Branham
    Twitter: budgettravelsac
    March 14, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    I am like you – I hate turbulence and get nervous. When that seatbelt sign goes on I listen and don’t get up. I’ve never thought about turbulence as a good thing for a little one. I still wouldn’t want it though but would appreciate the positive side effects if it happened! :)
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..2012 Summer airfare prices expected to increase

    • Liz Borod Wright
      Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelogged
      March 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Yeah, I still don’t wish for turbulence… But if it happens (and it usually does), at least I’ve found a silver lining!

  3. Roni March 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    I guess it’s all a matter of perspective – but anything that keeps your child asleep on the plane is a blessing :-). We found that taking the car seat on board helps your toddler stay comfortable as well.
    Roni recently posted..Golf Hotel Domaine de la Brie – great family stay close to EuroDisney

  4. JoAnna
    Twitter: joanna_haugen
    March 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    If only all children on turbulent flights would fall asleep! I’m not a mom, so I can’t relate to traveling with a child, but I can’t imagine it’s easy!
    JoAnna recently posted..What Makes a Hotel Eco-Friendly?

  5. Candice March 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Are you telling me the only way for me to get over my fear of flying is to have a baby?! Dammit.
    Candice recently posted..Hangin’ with the Shamu Crew at SeaWorld

  6. Nicole
    Twitter: babytraveltips
    March 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    I hate turbulence too but I can absolutely see how it would be comforting for an infant. Hopefully as they get bigger, they continue to love it and not get scared like the majority of us!

  7. Wanderplex March 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Talk about a blessing in disguise! I guess there really is a silver lining to everything, turbulence included :)
    Wanderplex recently posted..Get some pre-flight R&R at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

  8. Bret @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    March 28, 2012 at 2:54 am #

    My daughter always had a much easier time going to sleep when there was motion involved as a toddler as well, so I can relate. When she was teething we’d give her a fresh fruit popsicle and take her for a quick drive around the block. Worked like a charm! In your case, hopefully getting used to it so young will help grow up to become an avid flyer.

  9. James @ Africa Tours July 19, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    Bring lollipops for takeoff and landing (or a sippy cup or a cup with a straw — you can buy the drink and pour it into your cup after you get through security). The sucking will help prevent your child’s little ears from hurting due to the air-pressure changes in the cabin during those times.

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