Leaving the kids at home while you travel can be stressful but unavoidable at times. As parents we didn’t leave our kids home often but when we did, we worked hard to make it a pleasant experience for them and their grandparents who were caring for them. Taking time for some advanced planning will give you peace of mind, and help make your time away fun for them, you, and the grown-ups caring for your kids. Here are some tips and ideas to make your travels special for you and your children.
Creating peace of mind for you and your child when you travel:
1. For medical care leave phone numbers for your health care provider and copies of your insurance cards. Complete a medical release form for your child so that medical decisions can be made in the event of an emergency. Include in this document a list of medications, allergies, and diagnoses for each child. Check with your local authorities or personal lawyer for further details and what would be needed in the area that you live.
2. Print a calendar and note when you are leaving and returning. This will help your child visualize when you will be home. At the end of each day they can mark off the day.
3. Create a schedule so that the folks who are providing care and your child know exactly what to expect each day. Include the times of events and activities along with address of locations so they can find their way.
4. Make an outline of the daily routine with the times to get up, go to bed, when school begins and is out, and anything else that is unique for your family.
5. Provide a list of favorites: foods, toys, blankets, games, pacifiers, and any other favorites that will help your child and the care provider have a good day together.
6. Describe bedtime routines. Bedtime can be such a challenge for young children and sharing expectations and routines will make the end of the day more enjoyable.
Making Each Day Special for Your Child
We thought it was important to make each day special for our kids. Choose one or two of the following ideas to create something for your child to look forward to each day:
7. A short daily letter to describe what you are doing on that day and what they have on their schedule for the day. The letter might include one of the following:
- An inexpensive gift card for a treat such as going to Sonic for ice cream or a soda
- Hints to find a gift that was hidden in the house (see number 8)
- Tickets to a game or movie
- A coupon for an activity such as going to the pool or park
- A book
8. This is a great time to crack open a new app for the iPad, x-box game, or a new movie for an evening of fun. We would often hide these in the house and leave a hint in their letter.
9. Hide post-its around the house and in their drawers with encouraging notes for them to find throughout the week
10. If possible, schedule a time to call, Facetime, or Skype with your children. Having a predictable time to chat with you and share each others adventures.
Wishing you safe travels and your children a fun time at home!