Traveling without the kids can be stressful for parents and for kids, but that can be reduced. In fact, some time apart can be good for both sides. Moms and dads can get a break and some perspective on their child rearing, and children gain important coping skills.
Traveling Without Kids Tip 1, Good Travel Prep
Good preparation can help tremendously with traveling away from the kids. Here are some ways to prepare for a trip:
- Schedule special time the day before the trip. This can be a dinner out, a special outing to a local children’s museum, family game night or any other activities that will keep all the parent attention focused on the children.
- Explain that you will be leaving, what the children can expect, why you are leaving, why they are not going, and anything else that will help the children understand both that it is temporary and that they are not the reason you are leaving.
Traveling Without Kids Tips 2, Mementos
Even with the most indulgent vacation for the parent and the most fun-packed time for the kids, they will miss one another. A great way to ease that is to create mementos for everyone, such as:
- Have photos of the kids for the parent, and of the parent or parents with the kids for the children. For small children, babies and toddlers, there are some wonderful plastic, baby-friendly photo albums that can be found at stores like Babies ‘R Us. Older children and parents can use photo albums, the computer, mobile phone pictures or mini digital photo frames.
- Leave and take multimedia memories. Record yourself singing a bedtime song to the children, and record a song by the kids to take with you. There are ways to do it mobile either on a phone with voice mail or voice memo. Leave and/or take a slideshow of images or a video clip, which can also be done if the phone has video recording capabilities.
- Create a memento. Handmade crafts, cards and artwork from the kids can be a great thing to take along with you. This project, Kissing Hand Necklace, is a wonderful way for both parent and child to have a memento during the trip.
Traveling Without Kids Tip 3, Communication
Even though it can be hard for parents and children to be apart, there are ways to continue to feel connected. Consistent communication is key.
- If the travel schedule will allow it, plan a specific time to call daily such as right after naptime, right before dinner, etc. Look for a time when the children will not be in meltdown mode or especially emotional.
- Keep calls as short and upbeat as possible. If the child begins to get extremely upset, focus on the positive: souvenirs you will bring back, what you will do when you return, or when you will call next.
A trip away has its ups and downs. Fortunately, there are many steps such as these that can make the process easier for kids and parents. In fact, after your trip ask your children what helped them the most to build on for the next trip.