Traveling WITH kids is hard. What to pack, how to keep them entertained, what stroller(s) or babywearing carriers to bring, what hotels are best, what activities to do with toddlers…. I’ve seen countless blog posts on every topic. But what about when mom or dad is traveling WITHOUT kids?
It can be very hard, too. It’s a change in routine for the kids that can be difficult to adjust to. They miss mom or dad. They’re staying with grandma and grandpa and aren’t in their own home. And maybe the hardest of all—mom or dad misses THEM!
I travel fairly often for my job. I’ve been out of state without the kids 3 times so far this year. I’ve gathered some tips on how to help keep everyone comfortable when traveling WITHOUT the kids.
Prepare the kids
Talk about your trip in advance. I start about a week before and by the time I have to go, my 4-year-old is like, “yea, yea, yea, we KNOW, moooom.” It’s not the most heartwarming goodbye for me, haha, but it is way better than crying and disappointment that I’m leaving. They’ve had some time to adjust to the idea and they know it’s coming.
Leave the kids something of yours
I’ve heard of sleeping with a blanket for a few days before you go so when you leave it with your kids, it smells like you. You could also do this with your favorite t-shirt. But my FAVORITE is the RecordablePal from Elli & Nooli. It’s plush so you could sleep with it, too, before you go, for that mom-smell.
When I was little and my mom had to travel, I remember she left us recorded tapes with her singing our favorite songs. I’d listen to them on repeat. So that’s exactly what I do with my kids except it’s in a fun, soft & huggable “Al the Owl.”
They are OBSESSED. You can make it extra special by only pulling him out when you’re gone. It’s hard to get it away from my kids though, they like to take it with them even when they go to grandma’s for the day (and I try to ignore the fact that everyone I know has now heard me sing “You Are My Sunshine,” haha).
Really, I’d love to have one RecordablePal for each kid. When I recorded one time, Rebecca (my 2-year-old) started singing with me and it was the cutest EVER. That’d be a nice thing for her to keep while I’m gone and then Ryan could have a different one with HIS favorite song. My mom and husband will send me pictures while I’m away of the kids hugging the Owl and it makes me feel better <3
Bring something of the kids’ with you
It’s a two-way street here! Mom (or dad) misses the kids, too! I usually stick with their photo in my purse rather than a singing stuffed animal that goes off at my business meeting… although that would be pretty cute 😉
Call (or video) home
Depending on your travel schedule, calls home can be hard. Time changes or business meetings and non-stop schedules don’t leave much time. Try to get in a “good morning” or “good night” phone call—even better if you can use Facetime or Skype!
Leave a countdown
Show the kids on a calendar what day you’ll be home—color it in or draw a big happy face. Create one of those “countdown calendars” with the kids before you go. Little ones don’t have the best concept of time so if they have rings they can remove one at a time each day, they can visually see how soon you’ll be home… and it makes it FUN!
Even more fun? Make it a treasure hunt—one new clue provided each day. The find on the first day? The RecordablePal! On the last day? YOU!
GIVEAWAY: one lucky reader will win their own RecordablePal from Elli & Nooli! Please fill out the form below to enter. Good luck!