How to Stay Close to Your Kids When You Travel
By Sandy Schroeder
If you have small kids, and a demanding job that requires travel, you may not see your kids enough. Finding ways to bridge the gap beyond weekends and bedtime stories could start with some simple steps.
Little rituals and special connections may keep you close even when you can't be there.
Recently DumbLittleMan.com talked with a dad who had two little girls and a very busy travel schedule. He worked it all out with a few steps that he recommends as tried and true ways to stay connected. These strategies might work well for busy parents who are in town, but have to work a lot of long hours, too.
Check in with a daily video - Set a time and stick to it to talk with your kids in a short video. When they are small, this will be a reassuring pattern for them. Time is often harder to measure for small children, but that daily appearance will become a familiar ritual that they can depend on. It will give you a chance to see how they are doing, and it will give them a chance to ask you questions or tell you about their latest adventures. Do your best to stick to the same time every day.
Set up a treasure hunt at home - Before you leave hide a favorite item and create some clues for your kids to help them look for it. Each time you call you can give them a clue or leave notes with your spouse to pass out at dinner. This little treasure hunt will add some excitement to your calls and help them enjoy the whole process of your travels.
Call them every morning, or at dinner time - If a daily video chat simply does not work out with their schedules and yours, do a daily call instead. Talk with them about their plans for the day, or what has happened if you reach them after dinner. Either way, make it an upbeat positive discussion that is all about them. They will catch on to the idea and soon have a whole list of things to tell you.
Ask them to help you pack - To make the trip seem routine and real, ask them to help you pack your bags. As you travel, they will get used to seeing the bags, and begin to accept the whole idea. Let them pick out items to take along, and provide suggestions for the trip.
Bring them little surprises - Each time you travel, bring them small gifts when you return. This might be a good time to start collecting something that appeals to them, such as souvenir rocks, pins or keychains.
You may already have some travel patterns started. Whatever works to keep you in touch with your kids will go a long way to keep all of you pleased and relaxed while you are traveling.
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