Helping Kids When Parents Travel
When I first began travelling for work in the beginning of 2009, I was more concerned with being away from my children than I was about speaking engagements or the logistics of travel. How would I be able to handle two or three nights away from my babies, and how would they possibly get along without me? The fact is that my kids enjoyed the extra time with my husband as well as with visiting grandparents, and they continue to enjoy the change of pace when I leave for my semi-frequent but thankfully brief trips. One way that we've managed to make travel easier for the kids is by doing our best to keep their routines the same right down to a song from mom at bedtime, albeit over the phone.
But what about long trips that might include a change in time zone making contact difficult? My family experienced this very scenario earlier this month while my husband travelled to multiple locations in time zones half a day and half a world away. We looked to technology to get us through with "face time" coming in the form of Skype chats and continued to stay in touch as co-parents through email updates as often as possible. We also scheduled daily phone calls that while brief, helped the kids to have that daily moment talking to their dad.
Another key to helping kids get through extended time away from a parent is helping them understand where that parent is during their time away. In this most recent case, we needed to get out a map of the world and spend time talking about the different locations. We also encouraged our kids to create their own countdown calendar creating pictures of the various locations to help them remember exactly where daddy was and what he was doing each day. A final idea to make the time pass quickly and with a fun flair is to plan special projects with your kids while the other parent is away. My kids and I worked together to clean the garage to surprise daddy making good use of his time out of the house and his return home that much more sweet.