This last week my husband and I were lucky enough to get away for a few days sans kids. It was nice! It’s not the first time we’ve left the kids, but I was a little more anxious this time, maybe I just didn’t feel like I needed as much of a break. Whatever the reason, I started stressing before we left and didn’t want to stress while we were gone.
Do any of you stress and worry about your kids while you are travelling without them?
Here are 5 ways I prepared before we left so I could rest assured the kids were fine.
1. Create a calendar and schedule.
Kids need their routines. If you make the babysitter aware of their routines, they will be more adjusted without you there and won’t become as frustrated. You won’t have to worry about whether or not Suzy is making it to ballet on time, or if Bobby wasn’t laid down at the right time for his nap. Here’s a sample of what I created for our babysitter (aka grandma). Even though it was grandma this time, she doesn’t live here and doesn’t know exactly what the kids schedules are.
I had four different sections on the calendar. One for school, one for our home, and one for each of my boys. School calendar items included drop off and pick up times, what to pack for lunch, what items he would need that day, and information about contacting the teacher/school. Our home calendar items included garbage day, plant watering schedule, dinner options, etc. The boys’ calendar items included swim lessons (time and address), bath night, bed times, etc. What would you add to your calendar sections?
2. Set specific times for “check-in” calls.
How often you call will depend on your children. How will they adjust without hearing from you every day? Will calling everyday make them more anxious? When my husband and I traveled in February I only called twice even though we were gone 4 days. This trip we were gone 4 days as well, but I talked to someone at my house once each day. I called the first three and my oldest called on our last day (I would have called anyway to let them know about on-time departures).
Set a time that everyone will be available without disrupting what you have planned. Take into consideration the difference in time zones.
If you are going to be gone for a week or longer you may want to set up a skype time so you can see each other.
3. Leave notes for the kids to find.
I used the cute secret message carrier owls I created here, and rolled up a little note for each of my boys. I knew when they felt sad they could find those notes and remember that we were thinking of them. In fact, that’s what I wrote on the bottom of the owls, “Owl be thinking of you”.
4. Bribe them with a souvenir.
Yeah, yeah, I know it’s taboo to bribe your children, so maybe that’s not the right word. We encourage our children to behave for the babysitter and in return they will receive a reward from our trip. Our oldest loves getting souvenirs! We never spend more than $5 on his souvenir, but he always thinks they are super cool! Most likely you will buy something for them anyway, just use it to your advantage by encouraging them to earn the reward.
5. Leave money, insurance card, and doctor’s office information.
These items are the “just in case” stuff. You really hope the babysitter won’t need to use this information, but they will have it just in case. This will help you feel more comfortable that emergencies can be handled quickly without your presence, and in case you aren’t immediately available via phone.
Following these steps helped me feel more at ease while I was gone. Hopefully they will help you too. How do you qualm the worries that come before leaving your children?