Parents Who Travel Without Their Kids
Whether you travel for work or pleasure, there are times when you simply cannot take your children with you on your journey. What do you do when you must travel without your children? What plans do you need to have in place prior to your departure?
If yours is a two-parent household, and only one parent is traveling, the parent who remains at home may be able to handle the increased parental responsibility without assistance. However, for many such parents, juggling work and the job of mom AND dad … well, that’s just a lot of work and stress. The solution? Hire a babysitter short-term. (Tips for selecting the right babysitter for your family can be found at Care4hire.com. Caregivers can be chosen through Care4hire.com and may work for the period of time that help is needed. When the help is no longer needed, the babysitter’s job is done. In essence, the babysitter has a temp job. Information given to the babysitter, and advanced planning (prior to the parent’s departure), are handled in a manner similar to any other babysitting arrangement. The babysitter would need to know how long his/her services are needed, how to contact the local (or other family member) should circumstances warrant, what circumstances warrant such a contact (i.e.; what is an “emergency”), what doctors the children are accustomed to seeing and for what conditions, how to reach those doctors, what the children’s routines are for the time they are in the care of the babysitter, etc. You may also wish to give the babysitter your airline name and flight number, the name and telephone number of the hotel where you are staying while you are traveling, etc.
If yours is a single parent household, or if both parents in the household are traveling at the same time, some additional planning is necessary when bringing on a temporary caregiver. For example, depending on where you live, you may wish to have a medical power of attorney authorizing the babysitter to make medical decision for your children in your absence. If a medical emergency arose while you traveled, the babysitter would need to have the authority to address the needs of your children, including authorizing any medically necessary procedures. You will need to stock up on groceries and children’s daily sundries (diapers, wipes, etc.)to cover the period of your absence. If you carpool with other parents, you will need to communicate to those parents that your babysitter will be responsible for any driving you would have done had you been present…or you may switch turns with one of the other parents in the carpool. You may wish to contact your children’s schools to let them know that you authorize the babysitter to pick up your children in your absence. If there are other people (i.e., your neighborhood watch neighbors, your children’s club and sports team representatives, etc..) that may need to know about the babysitter acting on your behalf in your absence, then you would be well-advised to notify those people or organizations prior to your travel.
Once you have prepared all the tangibles, it is wise to prepare emotionally as well. You may experience feelings of guilt and anxiety about leaving your children. This is natural but it should not necessarily deter you from your travel. Travel well planned may actually benefit your children. If you spouse will be in the home with your children, your travel may provide your children an opportunity to bond with your spouse in a way that is not usually provided for in your family’s normal day to day interactions. If you hire a temp babysitter, your children may meet new people ) i.e., the babysitter) that may expand their socialization and teach them new skills.
In addition to your emotions, your children may experience travel-related emotions of their own: they may be angry, and they may act out before, during and for a brief period following your travel. However, the acting-out behaviors are short-lived and will diminish if you continue to travel periodically thereafter. You may also prevent some of the acting-out behaviors by giving your children information and assurance up front: when you have your travel dates and destinations set, sit down with your children and inform them of your plans. Tell your children that you love them, that you will miss them and your reunion with your children when you get home will be joyous. (Note; you may want to bring some small gifts home with you for your children. The small gifts could be representative of your travel destinations and in keeping with your children’s interests.)
To lessen your anxiety (and that of your children as well), plan thoroughly (as noted above), communicate with all parties involved (especially your children) about your travel plans, and ensure that you have thoroughly planned for and communicated about all foreseeable contingencies. Additionally, you may want to video teleconference with your children via Skype, call, text or email your children, or use social networking sites to keep in touch with your children while you are traveling. With proper planning and communication, traveling (with the children at home) can be a positive experience for everyone involved.