Don’t get caught short. Pack like someone is going to vomit or get the runs for the entire duration of the flight and you will be well-prepared.
For me, that means I pack clothes that will fit several of them. If I bring gender neutral size 5 clothing, in a pinch most can wear them. Aside from dressing in layers, each child packs one spare outfit in a plastic freezer bag. Generic sizing allows for flexibility.
Hand out the Pull-ups. A 24-hour flight is no place for accidents. Evenmy older children have to be pretty persuasive to get out of wearing a Pull-up on a journey of that length.
Need help getting children to go to sleep? Learn your drugs and don’t be afraid to use them – with the guidance of your friendly neighborhood pharmacist, of course!
Bring food. I don’t think my children have ever eaten anything served on a plane, other than a piece of bread; even those kid friendly meals have a bit to be desired.
Invest in a hand-held video game for older children. Gadgets are a mother’s best friend on a long flight. For the smaller children, have a bag of tricks handy. Periodically pull out something new and entertaining like stickers or books.
Find yourself a young backpacker to help you on the flight. Slip the backpacker a few bucks and you’ve got someone who will happily playcrazy eights and do color-by-numbers for hours.
Take a deep breath – my ultimate survival tip – and remind yourselfthat at the end of it all, it’s really only one long bad day. We can doanything if it’s just one day, right?
No matter how the flight unfolds, my experience is that I’ll arrive at the baggage collection exhausted and emotional and be met by an angel. She’s normally found in the form of an elderly woman who touches my arm and tells me that my children are gorgeous and so well-behaved. I know she really means she considers herself lucky not to have been seated near us on the plane. But in the bleary, travel aftermath, it’s exactly what I need to hear.
As a bonus, I get to spend the next month with my in-laws who will pamper me and take care of the children. It gives me time to rest up for the flight home.
*Julie Cole is one of the founding mom entrepreneurs of Mabel’s Labels Inc . and the proud mother of five. She is pregnant with her sixth.