Yesterday I sat down with Uplift's user researcher, Zan Clark (no relation), to learn how she gracefully flies solo with twin toddlers and a one-year-old. Here are her top tips:
Lower your expectations. Your goal is to get to the destination alive, not to have a quiet or enjoyable flight. It's also unreasonable for a kid to sit still for 8-hours. Knowing this takes off the pressure.
Find the helpers. On a plane full of people there will be at least one (if not 10) who want to help you. She will hand her baby to helpful strangers while taking the others to potty. Once she returned with her baby asleep on someone, who held him for the rest of the flight thrilled to be cuddling a baby. No one is stealing your kids. You are on a plane.
Keep them occupied. Bring non-messy snacks (fruit leathers, nuts, raisins). Read books -- everyone around you has headphones in and won't notice. Also, a roll of painters tape is hours of creative fun.
Pick the hills you are going to die on. Chose your top 3 rules for the plane -- hers are no kicking, running or yelling. Then let everything else go. For the three days before the flight, talk about these rules and how it's hard to sit still on planes.
Wear them out beforehand. Get to the terminal in time for them to run around or find a play space.
If she can do it, we can all do it.
BTW, if you want to be entertained, follow her on Instagram to see how she's raising the kiddos on a ranch. It's delightful.