Before you had children, traveling may have been one of the biggest perks of your job. In fact, it may be one of the factors that made you decide to accept the position. After all, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of all the awesome experiences traveling can offer? However, now that you have children, what once was a perk is now a major drag.
Traveling for work means missed bedtimes, school events, games, and so many other important parts of your children’s lives – especially if you travel frequently. It also means that your kids miss out on spending valuable time with YOU! However, if traveling is a necessary part of your livelihood, there are ways that you can make it easier for your children and yourself.
If you have to travel often for work, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Determine the Best Time to Tell Them
Don’t just kiss your children goodbye in the morning and tell them you’ll see them in a few days. Doing so can make them feel confused, lost, and afraid. Instead, tell them about your business trip in advance, but tell them at the appropriate time.
When’s the best time to tell your kiddos that you’re going to be away? It depends on their ages and disposition. Young children don’t yet grasp the concept of time and they tend to get anxious when a parent leaves home, so telling them a day or two before may be the best option. Older kids understand time and are less dependent on you, so they may not take it as hard. Telling them about your trip a week in advance should be just fine.
Fill Them In on the Details
Let your kiddos know all the details about your trip; the when, where, why, how, and who.
When you are leaving, where you are going, why you are going, how you are getting there, and who you will be with. You may want to circle the day you’re leaving and the date you’ll return on a calendar so they have something concrete to look at, which will give them a better understanding of the time frame. You could also show them pictures of your destination and photos of the mode of transportation you will be using if that will help to alleviate any uneasiness they might be feeling.
Don’t Bend from Routines
This is a tip for the parent who stays at home while the other parent is traveling. Stick to the routine as home. Children rely on routines – and they crave them – especially when something changes in their lives, like a parent going away on a business trip. They may look to their routine to help make them feel more comfortable about the absence of a parent. The mere fact that mom or dad is away is enough of a change to their routine, so avoid changing anything else on them.
Check in with your family regularly. If you can, try to call at least once a day. Video chat is great because it gives the kiddos a chance to see you. When your kids hear your voice and/or see your face, it makes it easier for them to handle your absence. Schedule regular times to talk; for instance, you could video chat before bed, read a bedtime store, and help to “tuck” your little one’s in.
Traveling regularly for work can be hard on the kids. Using these tips, you can make your work trips a lot easier for your little ones – and you – to handle.