Last year my husband and I spent our first weekend away from the kids. I knew the older ones would be fine but the littlest was a few months shy of two years and I didn’t know how he’d be staying with Grandma overnight. Turns out he was totally fine, didn’t miss us and didn’t even ask where we were!
This month my husband and I will be gone for 10 days traveling to Europe and we’re leaving the kids at home with the Grandmas again. My mother and my husband’s mother live next door to each other and they will be splitting time taking care of our three children. I’ve mentioned a few times to my little one (he is 2 3/4 years old) about our going away. I’m trying not to make it a big deal or give him undue stress about our leaving. I do want to prepare him though, so he doesn’t wake up one morning and we’re just gone! I have told him that he is going to be staying with his Grandmas while Mom & Dad take a plane and that we’ll be back with a present for him. Naturally, he’s two so he says, “No! Dillon go on plane with Mom and Dad, too!”. Hmm…what a difference a year makes!
Here are a few things that I’m doing now to help ease the transition while we’re gone.
Making a list of meal ideas that can be prepared that all the kids will eat. This was created at Grandma’s request so there is no more confusion about who wants mayo on their sandwich, ketchup with their chicken nuggets and who won’t eat peaches. I’ve listed a brief outline of fruits, veggies and snack ideas as well as some lunch and dinner ideas.
Printing out some pictures and putting them in a simple album. I’m taking one with me and leaving one behind with the kids. It’s specifically for the little one, he likes looking at family albums and recalling memories.
Writing a letter to each child. My husband and I will each write a letter to each child that they can read while we are gone. Just something short and sweet that tells them we’ll miss them.
Making sure everyone has an itinerary. I want my family to know where we’re going to be not only in case of emergency but so they they can track where we are each day on a map.
A property installed car seat. Both the Grandmas will have a car seat in the center of the back seat for any travel with the little one.
Leaving contact and emergency info, including insurance cards for each child.
Packing up the “blankie” and special toys and books. The Grandmas will take good care of him while he’s gone but given that he won’t be sleeping in his own bed each night, I want to make the bedtime transition as familiar as possible.
Leaving behind a special gift that they can use while we are gone. I have purchased one special new treat for each child to play with while we’re gone. My hope is at least they won’t be bored…for a few hours!
And once we’re gone…
Keeping in contact, within reason. Our cell phone plan has unlimited international texting and calls are 20 cents a minute. I think we’ll try to call once a day (timing that when we’re half a world away will be a challenge!) and maybe send a few texts and phone pictures.
Skype. I won this vacation from Skype on a Pinterest contest, so it’s only fitting that we use it on the trip to keep in touch with family back home!
Do you have any tips you could add to the list with your own experiences? Please comment below and I’ll add them!
Babble – How to Travel without Your Kids