As an Aussie expat living in the UK with two children under six, the London to Sydney long-haul flight is now about as familiar to me as a manky old pair of slippers. So with the school holidays upon us, I thought I'd pass on a few survival tips for those new to long-haul flying with kids. Here are my top 10 tips.
A few days into the holidays and reality sets in. In daydreams everyone is always laughing and smiling but in real life there is a constant low level whinge coming from at least one of the children, occasionally punctuated by a totally out of control and VERY LOUD tantrum or two.
What's the best way to keep toddlers happy on holiday? With their newfound mobility, pent-up energy and growing sense of adventure, tots can make family travel particularly stressful.
Last year there wasn't a week that went by without a parent uploading a dash-cam video to YouTube of them singing along to popular songs with their kids - and these videos have clocked up tens of millions of views.
For the English schools, we are about to head into the long summer holidays, those of you who read in Scotland or America, you are already headlong into them! We all know how wonderful the summer holidays can be: A time to be free from routine! However, it can also be a time when we hear a record amount of times, 'I AM BORED'!
Parents at her children's school have been shocked by the developments. "We always knew she wasn't the most organised or involved of mothers but this is a shock," said one who did not wish to be named.
No, I am not talking about The Wonder Years series on Channel 4 with Fred Savage when we were little... I am talking about the 'Terrible Two's.' I am calling them 'The Wonder Years', as I wonder how you ever survive them?!
Reading to your baby helps build vocabulary, imagination and communication skills. Not only this but it obviously gives your baby a head start into the world of letters, numbers, stories, colours.
Up all night, covered in filth, ears constantly ringing... When you think about it, a weekend at Glastonbury is pretty damn close to life at home with toddlers.
Drink plenty of water. So you can enjoy the moment your toddler gives you the three second warning that they NEED A WEE RIGHT NOW, RIGHT NOW MUMMY, NOW as you're in the middle of breastfeeding, on a pebble beach, with about 90% of the world's baby equipment spread out on a picnic blanket in front of you, at least half a mile from any kind of public loo...
Every year there are the same old debates about whether the school summer holidays are too long and could be spread more evenly around the rest of the year. But that doesn't deal with the essential issue of parents' holidays not in any way equalling those their children get, even if each parent takes them separately.
When it came to booking our first family holiday, I didn't hesitate to go abroad - in fact staying at home didn't even come into the question. We did our research and decided on Sardinia. A two-hour flight away, with Caribbean style beaches - just the tonic after a crazy year.
How many times do we see parents look over at their kids with heads down on devices and hear them say, with both relief and guilt, "what did we do before iPads?". The tablet obsession may have had its day though according to recent reports.
It's funny really, because we all like to think spending time with our friends and family is the most precious thing in the world. It's what we all strive for. It's what matters. Yet finding time to do so almost feels impossible. Of course, we try.
Frequent flyer programmes have been around for many years, and now gaining children's loyalty is beginning to gather more momentum, with some airlines promoting this service amongst many other child friendly initiatives.
With three kids that have enough energy between them to run a duracell power station, I intend to fill the garden with as much entertainment as possible to help survive the summer before school starts! Here are my top picks for garden toys that have been tried, tested and approved by three VISP's (very important small people)...