Leaving The Kids Behind: What To Do Before Your Trip

By in Parenting on 10 November 2010

If it’s your first trip away from the kids, are you feeling all giddy with excitement or are you already feeling guilty even if you have not gone past your driveway? Whether it’s a long overdue excursion with your partner, or a much needed business trip elsewhere, your thoughts will surely linger on the kids. For many parents, it is common to succumb to feelings of guilt especially if they haven’t spent a single day away from their kids. But if you can leave your kids in the care of loving family members, or with somebody you can really trust, stop putting off your plans. With a little planning, you can make your presence felt even if you are miles away.

First, decide on who will take care of the kids while you and your partner will be away. They are better off with somebody whom they can trust, so grandparents and close family members are the best choices. Second, create an activity plan for the kids. They will not be able to feel your absence if they go on with their routines and if they have other fun activities lined up for them. Hence, schedule a fun day at the park or a trip to the zoo because these activities will surely entertain any child. The more fun they are having, the less likely they are to feel that you are not around.

It’s also crucial that you talk to your children about the time that you will be away from them. Help them understand why they could not be with you and why other family members will be caring for them temporarily.  Reassure them that the separation is brief and that you will be in touch the entire time you are away. Explore how your kids feel about the whole thing and if they have any qualms concerning their guardians. If you can address these concerns, you can better prepare them for the short separation.

It may also be good for the kids if you prepare surprises for them while you are away. Leave short letters with their guardians and have him/her read the notes to the kids. Since you already know how their day will unfold, you can use that to your advantage by writing short notes or even safety reminders, which they will receive as they go about their day. This will surely make them feel that even if you are not around, you are still making sure that they are doing alright.

Make the waiting period fun by creating fun calendars that you kids can put stickers on before bedtime. This will serve as creative reminders as to how long they will have to wait before they can be with you again. And the most important thing that you need to do before leaving is to research on how you will be able to make those precious phone calls during your vacation. Never head out the door if you haven’t figured out how you will be able to regularly update the kids because it’s important that they feel secured regardless the distance.

When it’s your first time to leave the kids behind, you will certainly feel as if you are leaving behind a part of yourself too. But separation is part of healthy relationships, and at times it may bring out the best in people – yourself and the kids included.

At what age were your kids when you finally had the strength to leave them behind for short vacation or a business trip? How did you make things easier for everybody?

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Dottie Reed says:

    My husband and I left our children, ages 3 and 7, for ten days when we attended a wedding overseas, and my parents came to stay with them in our home. I took ten of our brown paper lunch bags and in each put a tiny little treat for each child (lollipop, package of crackers, etc), and one little activity that they could do together (puzzle, little “golden Book”, etc) and a silly joke written on an index card. I wrote “10”, “9”, “8”, “7” etc on each bag, and placed them along our fireplace mantle. While it took a little planning and then looked overwhelming at first, it served as a visual and fun calendar and countdown. It also became a special time for our children as siblings, as well as a time to share with their grandparents.

  2. Jane Heiza says:

    What a fantastic idea! I guess your hard work paid off each time your kids excitedly opened a bag. I will surely use this strategy the next time hubby and I go away for a trip. Thanks for sharing!

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