Tips for traveling with a hyperactive baby?

Baduist

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 5, 2016
Some background:

Our fist son was probably the easiest baby in the world, and is now probably the easiest toddler in the world.

We probably realized it after our second was born, characteristically a few weeks too early - literally a born trouble maker ;-)

He’s kinda the “white sheep of the family” - always cheerful, always happy, while the rest of us - my wife, my older son and me - look more like Tim Burton characters... happy in our own mellow, chillaxed, almost-melancholy kinda way... :-)

The thing is, he also has the energy of the three of us combined. We adore him and love every minute with him, but we also tend to get exhausted really fast.

His curiosity is crazy and when he sets his eyes on something, he will do anything to get it, including stuntmen-like feats - climbing, jumping, and sort of baby-violence... (hair pulling, pushing, shrieking)... whatever it takes.

It got to a point where we got asked to pick him up from day care one day cause they just couldn’t handle it.

Fortunately, our eldest was such an amazing kid it really allowed us to allocate as much energy as needed so far. We even survived two 12-hour flights with them last year.

But now that he’s just over 1.5 years old, it’s getting out of hand. He just started walking, and he also started climbing which makes things more exhausting than ever, he climbs EVERYTHING.

The biggest problem is he’s taking our “NO!”’s as a positive re-enforcement, enjoying the attention whenever he does something bad, rather than stopping, so being cross with him only makes it worse.

I’m starting to get worried about our upcoming vacation, especially the long flight.

Any tips - for traveling, and otherwise - would be very very appreciated.

Has anyone had experience with that kind of thing?
 

stephk1981

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Your children sound like ours. My DS 10 was really good.....we didn't know how good u til DD17 months was born. She knows how to get into all of our cabinets even with the childproof mechanisms. She had been pushing chairs from the table over to the countertops and climbing up since she was 11.5 months old. She literally never sits. Someone has to be on ' Aurora watch' 24/7. She never sleeps, as in up at least 6 times every hour ALL night long. She can open door knobs, she can unlock doors......nightmare. she can open snacks. Traveling: We have gone to Disney with her 5 times now, but we drive. We have to stop every 30-45 minutes for her to get out, unless she gets out of her carseat buckle herself.....yes she can do that too. We don't live far, only a few hours away from WDW though. We went to the UK to visit family when she was 11 months last and had just begun running around. LONGEST flight ever!!!!! I had to walk her around a plane for 8.5 hours. She would only sit in 5 minute increments. If you are flying, take turns walking baby around. DH, DS10 and I all take turns. If you are driving, take turns entertaining baby....take 45-1hour shifts then trade off to stay engaged in entertaining. I' d say new toys for travel....but, that didn't work for us.....she just throws them....not good on a plane. We let her watch some Disney shows....but that has a five minute or less entertainment span for our DD. In flight we also tried to play peek a boo...hide under a blanket. Even let her crawl back and forth across the three of us over and over. I tried to let her down at the feet of the seat on the plane but she just crawled out into the walkway aisles. All I can say is good luck! We are lucky because DS helps a ton and really loves his sister. We went through a rough patch of jealousy about 6 months ago, but that didn't last long. He plays with her a ton. Hopefully you are young parents too, as I know these hyperactive kids take a lot out of you! I never sit down alladay....as in like ever. My daily step count at home is around 21000. Our DD is go go go. I wish I had mine closer together, I had her at 36 and definitely feel a difference from 26 with DS!
Edited to add, DD does like to eat...so lots of snacks helped. That's the only time she would sit
 
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StarSeven7

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
We’ve got one like that too and he just turned 6!! We flew a few times with him when he was younger, once when he was about 18 months old and it was torture! When we had to force him to sit down ( take off and landing),he’d scream because he hated being contained. The rest of the flight we took turns walking up and down the aisle with him. When he was a baby he hated the car seat so he would scream the whole time - once nonstop for a 5 hour car ride! We kept stopping to see what we could do for him but all he wanted was to be out of the car seat and we needed to get home! And he never slept through the night until he was 2! And then stopped napping at 2.5! So I totally get being exhausted!! ;) He has slowly calmed down over the years but I would be lying if I said he’s a calm child now - he still has a crazy amount of energy and is generally pretty wild. But he listens much better!! I would make sure to run your little one around in the airport as much as possible before the flight, bring lots of snacks, and don’t expect to relax. And when you’re at Disney, try to build in time for him to be able to just run off steam and not be confined. There’s a play area at MK near Splash Mountain that’s good, or the waiting area for Dumbo. Good luck!!!
 
  • LongLiveRafiki

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2017
    Are you planning on bringing his car seat on the plane? That could at least help keep him contained and you might be able to steer his interest into looking out the window by pointing out clouds and stuff. Also, if you haven't already purchased your plane tickets, see if you can get a flight around his normal nap time if he takes one, or try to wear him out and keep him awake as long as possible before the flight so he will hopefully sleep and give you a break. I'd also recommend being one of the last to board. I know it's convenient for some to have the extra time to set up a car seat/get settled early, but I found with my kids that the extra time on the plane with others moving around while they couldn't was rough.

    Distraction techniques might help. As well as trying to engage him in sights out the window, try to bring some fun snacks that might hold his attention (alphabet shaped crackers/cereal, animal shaped snacks that you can practice animal sounds with or sort, different colored snacks that you might be able to try to get him to practice separating by color). Even if he isn't familiar with his colors yet, you might be able to spark his interest.

    In the parks, take advantage of the play areas and any out of the way places he can run around some. In addition to what was posted by a PP, the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot has a fun light up carpet that he'd probably enjoy playing on, and the trails in AK are great for little ones to have some space. The waits in line might be rough. Try to take advantage of low wait times when you catch them on the app and try to point out anything interesting around you (my son was fascinated by different lights on the walls and ceilings and the different textures of things like the walls in the queue for Pirates for instance as well as hidden mickeys).

    On the buses, point out different vehicles you see out the window, identify the color, and see if he can point to a truck or a red car. That was the only thing that worked with my toddler to keep him from wanting to fight us to get up on the bus.

    Every kid is different, but I hope some of this helps. Good luck with your trip and try not to stress too much. You'll never be able to plan for every possibility and he may surprise you with how he acts once you're down there. Enjoy your trip!
     

    Magical2017

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2016
    Good advice from pp! One of ours was bouncy, as well (and he was a runner--loved to run away from us). I prefer not to use the word hyperactive when describing active children, but it was very worrisome. Being pregnant with YDS while ODS was a very active toddler was tough, but that is how we did our first family Disney trip. The play areas were great. We did have a stroller with us for when he was tired but he loved to walk around and explore. We brought bubbles small snacks. The longest line we waited in was for Dumbo (before it was refurbished). We did have a little backpack/leash that he loved but it was too crowded in the parks to really use it. He was actually pretty fascinated with all there was to take in and did not try to run off. Our younger child never ran off and stayed with us, so as they got older, Disney trips were pretty easy.
     

    Mmouse1588

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 16, 2018
    We only have one child who is exactly like your second. My family nick named him the 5 minute baby from like 3 weeks old bc every 5 minutes you had to do something different to entertain him. He is now 2.5 years old and I am constantly having to redirect him. I get weekly reports from daycare how he wont stay off or away from areas he is constantly scolded for going to. I was super nervous flying with him. I did a lot of research and we have flown with him at 18 months and 2 years old as well. We are flying again to Disney this summer when he is 3. But for past flights i made a busy bag. In it was special snacks that he loved and new interesting ones. I brought 3 different drinks he isnt normally allowed only as special treats. I bought about 10 small toys he had never seen before. I brought a portable dvd player. I also brought lolly pops as a last resort. It went pretty well considering. I just kept on him i would hand a toy or snack and watch and right before he lost interest id switch out. We survived.
     

    tinkerjo

    Crazy Disney nut
    Joined
    Nov 25, 2005
    Boy he sounds like my oldest grandson. Never sleeps and always on the go. There is a plus!! He is super athletic!!!! At 4 he can ride a bike without training wheels!!! BUT he pushes boundaries constantly which makes it exhausting. I find that having a well thought out plan helps a lot with him. If we plan out our day and keep him busy either physically or mentally our day goes better. Everyone has good ideas here so all I can do is wish you luck. It does get a little better over time,I think, either that or you just get better at dealing with it.
     
  • bdiddy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2008
    We had a lot of issues with our son as well. Who was also our second child! Lol...from the time he was about 18 months to 4 yrs was the hardest of my life! We went to Disney for the first time when he was 2 yrs 3 months and I was so worried about how he would be and shockingly enough he had never been better behaved in his life! I don’t know if it was just sensory overload or what but he was SO much calmer just taking it all in every second.

    He also napped every day like clockwork in the stroller from 1-3 which was really unusual because he had given up naps by this point. His brain was (and still is) constantly go-go-go. Sleep doesn’t come easy to him. I think all the commotion and things to see and activity at Disney just really wowed him and wiped him out!! And maybe he was calmer too because he was actually getting more sleep, who knows?

    So, you never know, maybe he’ll be ok!
     

    bdiddy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2008
    We only have one child who is exactly like your second. My family nick named him the 5 minute baby from like 3 weeks old bc every 5 minutes you had to do something different to entertain him. He is now 2.5 years old and I am constantly having to redirect him. I get weekly reports from daycare how he wont stay off or away from areas he is constantly scolded for going to. I was super nervous flying with him. I did a lot of research and we have flown with him at 18 months and 2 years old as well. We are flying again to Disney this summer when he is 3. But for past flights i made a busy bag. In it was special snacks that he loved and new interesting ones. I brought 3 different drinks he isnt normally allowed only as special treats. I bought about 10 small toys he had never seen before. I brought a portable dvd player. I also brought lolly pops as a last resort. It went pretty well considering. I just kept on him i would hand a toy or snack and watch and right before he lost interest id switch out. We survived.
    That sounds EXACTLY like how my son was as a baby and toddler! He’ll be 13 in June and it does get better! He’s actually my easy child now whereas my super easy going baby/toddler/child daughter has turned into a nightmare teenager.

    Our son though was the same way with having to do something new with him every 5-10 min almost from the time he was born. It was exhausting!! He had such a hard time with transitions too and following directions. And he never slept well. Even now at almost a teenager he still wakes up in the 6 o’clock hour. The kid couldn’t sleep in if his life depended on it. We had so much trouble with him we actually had him evaluated at 3.5 because we had to pull him out of preschool because it was a disaster. But they said he was just stubborn, strong-willed and had social anxiety and to hold him back from Kindergarten because he had a June birthday. Which we did and it really helped but he still struggled in K. The teacher thought he may have ADD but we had him evaluated again and they said his anxiety was causing the issues, not ADD. I guess a lot of the symptoms overlap. We tried some different things for a few years and finally put him on medication in 2nd grade and he’s been on it since. Every year it gets better and better. He still has some quirks and is really emotional but nothing like he was when he was little.
     

    Betty Rohrer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2010
    Some background:

    Our fist son was probably the easiest baby in the world, and is now probably the easiest toddler in the world.

    We probably realized it after our second was born, characteristically a few weeks too early - literally a born trouble maker ;-)

    He’s kinda the “white sheep of the family” - always cheerful, always happy, while the rest of us - my wife, my older son and me - look more like Tim Burton characters... happy in our own mellow, chillaxed, almost-melancholy kinda way... :-)

    The thing is, he also has the energy of the three of us combined. We adore him and love every minute with him, but we also tend to get exhausted really fast.

    His curiosity is crazy and when he sets his eyes on something, he will do anything to get it, including stuntmen-like feats - climbing, jumping, and sort of baby-violence... (hair pulling, pushing, shrieking)... whatever it takes.

    It got to a point where we got asked to pick him up from day care one day cause they just couldn’t handle it.

    Fortunately, our eldest was such an amazing kid it really allowed us to allocate as much energy as needed so far. We even survived two 12-hour flights with them last year.

    But now that he’s just over 1.5 years old, it’s getting out of hand. He just started walking, and he also started climbing which makes things more exhausting than ever, he climbs EVERYTHING.

    The biggest problem is he’s taking our “NO!”’s as a positive re-enforcement, enjoying the attention whenever he does something bad, rather than stopping, so being cross with him only makes it worse.

    I’m starting to get worried about our upcoming vacation, especially the long flight.

    Any tips - for traveling, and otherwise - would be very very appreciated.

    Has anyone had experience with that kind of thing?
    with that long of flight I would start working as soon as possible with short car trips in carseat and increase the time of ride. also I would not plan on a lot of time walking in plane because what happens if that is your plan and the seatbelt sign stays on for a lot of flight. I would get him his own seat and bring his carseat. yes I could be a hard flight but where do you draw the line between making him happy and his safety plus the safety of those around you. I would also be talking with his doctor for any advice he/she might have
     

    ahutton

    WDW Bride Dec 6, 1996
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2000
    For our kids - they knew they had to (and would) stay in their car seats while in the car. We took that to the airplane - you are in your car seat, this just carries more people than our car. They sat in their car seats for the flights. We were lucky at longest it was about 5 1/2 hours, but since they don't get out of their seats in the car, they didn't try on the plane.
     
  • 2019TripIdeas

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2018
    We just did Disneyland with our 18 month old son. I absolutely wouldn't consider him hyperactive but he is a champion climber, super curious, and really good at figuring out all the child locks/gates/etc (that we didn't even need to begin with with his two older siblings- it's been an adventure!). That said, I'd also despite all of those things, my guy is calm and mellow, even-tempered, so maybe these things might not work as well for you?

    Whenever we travel with him, we have to immediately go in and make the room safe for him (remove breakable objects, move things/electronics up high, put things in the closet or out of sight). I'd do that with your hotel room before even opening the door to him. I found that in the parks, our little guy was generally fantastic- he hung in the stroller, took it all in, and I'm assuming that's because it's so visually stimulating, there is always background noise/music.

    We don't pay for an extra seat for our guy on our flights- it's just a cost we're not willing to add on with how often we fly. Was it easy this last time? Nope. But once it's over, it's over... I did find he was not at all interested in coloring books or stickers (which his siblings were fantastic with at that age, so I'd counted on it!) and the only thing that held his interest was tactile stuff... little figurines, silly putty and playdough. We're doing a 12 hour flight with him in a few months so I'm going to make an effort to get him more engaged in the quieter activities between now and then (or find more non-messy tactile stuff if that fails).

    Without having a seat for him, if we're flying on a plane thats 3 seats on each side of center aisle, we actually have found it's better to NOT sit where he can see the other adult (i.e. across the aisle). His siblings are 2 and 4 and amazing on planes, so we put one adult and one child on the window/center seat and the same scenario in the row behind. We switch off who deals with him on what flights ha, but either way he's with a sibling he shares a seat with, aside from during takeoff and landing. It's way more "out of sight, out of mind" type deal if the other parent is behind him and it helps a ton.
     

    DisneyCowgirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2004
    With mine, I always got them their own seats, and as long as I could, brought the carseat. When I couldn't bring the carseat anymore, I got the CARES harness which fastens like a carseat. Somehow they knew carseat meant stay in your seat. (Not sure what the rules are now on bringing the carseats onboard.) I would also go to dollar tree and Target dollar spot and buy a bag full of toys--must be things you are OK just saying good bye to if they fall on the floor. Then I had a steady stream of interesting objects the kids had never played with before.

    I have an idea of what you are going through--our kid#1 is quiet and a rule-follower. Kid#2 is hyperactive and defiant. It is so hard and exhausting!
     

    Disneyfan754321

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 19, 2019
    My dh always says if we had our youngest first, he would be an only child. You are so not alone.
    I dont know what I would have done with out his nabi tablet. I hated being the mom that gives there toddler a tablet. But I had to do what ever works.
     

    Mmouse1588

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 16, 2018
    That sounds EXACTLY like how my son was as a baby and toddler! He’ll be 13 in June and it does get better! He’s actually my easy child now whereas my super easy going baby/toddler/child daughter has turned into a nightmare teenager.

    Our son though was the same way with having to do something new with him every 5-10 min almost from the time he was born. It was exhausting!! He had such a hard time with transitions too and following directions. And he never slept well. Even now at almost a teenager he still wakes up in the 6 o’clock hour. The kid couldn’t sleep in if his life depended on it. We had so much trouble with him we actually had him evaluated at 3.5 because we had to pull him out of preschool because it was a disaster. But they said he was just stubborn, strong-willed and had social anxiety and to hold him back from Kindergarten because he had a June birthday. Which we did and it really helped but he still struggled in K. The teacher thought he may have ADD but we had him evaluated again and they said his anxiety was causing the issues, not ADD. I guess a lot of the symptoms overlap. We tried some different things for a few years and finally put him on medication in 2nd grade and he’s been on it since. Every year it gets better and better. He still has some quirks and is really emotional but nothing like he was when he was little.
    Oh boy. He starts preschool this fall. He turns 3 this june. The preschool is very hands on though. I did a lot of research. They have a lot of physical activities and move rooms every hour rotating around a two story building. I get ao discouraged at times. He is only 2 but always testing the boundaries and everything seems like a fight. He is so strong willed its unbelievable at times. Yes i know toddlers are known for testimg boundaries but he takes it seriously lol. The doctor said he is a difficult toddler but that with his determination and willl these are great characteristics in adults that will serve him well. I have a feeling we will get to know his teachers very well as he grows.
     

    Baduist

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 5, 2016
    While we’re at it... any of your LO’s preemies by any chance?

    I was told there might be a connection. Ours was born week 32.
     

    MouseMamaToMany

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2015
    Have you considered one of the wrist leashes? It might be a way to give a little freedom but still remain safe and connected. My 7yo is beyond hyperactive, and there’s no way on earth I’d take her to WDW without one. (Still haven’t taken her for this very reason, in fact.)
     

    Childs1stTime2Disney

    *A dream is a wish your heart makes*
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2012
    Some background:

    Our fist son was probably the easiest baby in the world, and is now probably the easiest toddler in the world.

    We probably realized it after our second was born, characteristically a few weeks too early - literally a born trouble maker ;-)

    He’s kinda the “white sheep of the family” - always cheerful, always happy, while the rest of us - my wife, my older son and me - look more like Tim Burton characters... happy in our own mellow, chillaxed, almost-melancholy kinda way... :-)

    The thing is, he also has the energy of the three of us combined. We adore him and love every minute with him, but we also tend to get exhausted really fast.

    His curiosity is crazy and when he sets his eyes on something, he will do anything to get it, including stuntmen-like feats - climbing, jumping, and sort of baby-violence... (hair pulling, pushing, shrieking)... whatever it takes.

    It got to a point where we got asked to pick him up from day care one day cause they just couldn’t handle it.

    Fortunately, our eldest was such an amazing kid it really allowed us to allocate as much energy as needed so far. We even survived two 12-hour flights with them last year.

    But now that he’s just over 1.5 years old, it’s getting out of hand. He just started walking, and he also started climbing which makes things more exhausting than ever, he climbs EVERYTHING.

    The biggest problem is he’s taking our “NO!”’s as a positive re-enforcement, enjoying the attention whenever he does something bad, rather than stopping, so being cross with him only makes it worse.

    I’m starting to get worried about our upcoming vacation, especially the long flight.

    Any tips - for traveling, and otherwise - would be very very appreciated.

    Has anyone had experience with that kind of thing?
    Thanks for writing this. I am going through this with my 2 year old !! Has been the case since day one also one month early!!!
     

    Childs1stTime2Disney

    *A dream is a wish your heart makes*
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2012
    Have you considered one of the wrist leashes? It might be a way to give a little freedom but still remain safe and connected. My 7yo is beyond hyperactive, and there’s no way on earth I’d take her to WDW without one. (Still haven’t taken her for this very reason, in fact.)
    I had to get one for my toddler. I cannot possibly outrun my toddler and this has been a lifesaver (but you do need to be careful using them, they aren't exactly safe if it wraps around their head, etc).
     

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