Just leaving the room to go to the bathroom can cause your kids to melt down. How will you ever make it out the door on your next work trip without tears? Well, you can try to make it fun for them while you’re gone (yes, really!) These creative ideas that have worked for other traveling moms will show your kids you love them whether you’re one or 1,000 miles away.
1. Leave “hugs” on their pillow.
Place Hershey “Hugs” on your child’s pillow for as many days as you’ll be gone. Every night at bedtime, kids have a visual (and yummy) countdown to when mom comes home and delivers hugs in person.
2. Schedule a video conference call...with your kids.
A live tuck-in using FaceTime or Skype, complete with lullabies and bedtime stories, can happen right from your hotel room using your phone or laptop. Go ahead, kiss the camera!
3. Become a YouTuber.
Time zones and work schedules might not line up to give your kids a live bedtime kiss, but you can pre-record yourself telling a story, reading their favorite book, singing favorite lullabies, or acting out some silly jokes.
4. Print a calendar that shows your trip days and locations.
Put airplane stickers on the days you’re flying (aimed up for take off and down for landing!), and leave a bunch of stickers the kids can put on each day you’re gone. Older kids can write little notes in each day as a journal to tell you what they were up to when you get home. Bonus: These calendar pages become special keepsakes.
5. Plan a special outing.
For the most part, sticking to a regular routine is the most comforting for kids, but if they can look forward to a special date with grandpa or dad while you’re gone, it keeps them distracted and associating your trip with good things happening. Younger kids might enjoy going to a kid-friendly music performance, older kids to a movie. If you can plan it on the day you leave, and they leave first, it helps them feel like they’re the ones going on a special trip.
6. Bring home a treat.
You don’t need to spend a fortune. Going to Phoenix? Bring home a scorpion sucker and dare them to lick it. Heading to Florida? Bring home a stuffed teddy in a swimsuit. Get to the airport a little early to grab something on your way home.
7. Go off the radar.
This tip seems to clash with the rest, but for some kids it’s easier on them the less you talk while away. For some kids, Skyping and seeing videos of you will make them miss you more. For these kids, being “out of sight, out of mind” with minimal check-ins might work best.