Most moms will probably agree that no matter how much we love our children, a trip without them sounds a lot like luxury. If it’s a trip that won’t require us to pack the whole house in our luggage, you bet we’ll be smiling from ear to ear. But of course, being the moms that we are, it will never be easy, especially the part when we have to say goodbye to our little rays of sunshine who suddenly turn out to be unhappy balls of sadness at the thought of being away from us–and we all know sad kids will only make a sad mom too. So how do we prevent them from feeling all gloomy, so we can be all jolly in our booked trip? Here are a few ways to kick those blues away.
Although it may be given that some kids will still wail on the day you have to leave, informing them in advance helps to gradually prepare them emotionally. This way, they are given an idea of what’s going on, which will help them have a better grasp of the situation. Constantly talk to them about your trip, where you’re going, why you’re leaving, who will take care of them while you’re gone, and most importantly, when you’ll be back.
Make sure to leave them with someone they are very comfortable with. Since they will surely miss you, it is best to leave them with someone who can offer them comfort whenever they feel sad that you are not around.
Children find comfort and familiarity with routines. Make it a point to inform whoever you’ll leave your kids with, to follow their routine. Having a sense of familiarity may help ease their separation anxiety.
Constantly excite them with the activities you’ve lined up for them, and assure them they will still have fun even if you’re not there. You can schedule and organize a trip to the museum, a play date with their friends, or maybe even some art lessons while you’re away. Give them something to be excited about so they won’t focus on the fact that you’ll be gone for awhile. You can also prepare small but interesting activities they will surely enjoy and will keep them busy each day you’re out. “I prepare an envelope for each child. Inside are their story books, activity books, and crayons/markers for them to work with everyday.” says Eica Martina Ong-Co, preschool owner, businesswoman, and mom of two.
Ani De Leon Brown, coach, triathlete, and mom of two, makes videos for her babies for every single day she’ll be away. Making videos for them to watch anytime of the day can help in comforting them while you’re gone. You can also make short videos so as not to break some of your routines–like singing your morning songs together.
Lucky for us, our smartphones can now do so much whenever we would need to travel without our kids. Video calls are easier and can be done any time of the day too. Let them know you’re thinking about them while you’re away, and give them something to look forward to at the end of the day. Assure them that you’ll call them before they go to bed, and ask them to tell you how their day went.
Make sure to prepare all the necessary information about your kids (food they’re allergic to, important emergency contacts, medicines and where to find them, etc.). Nothing cuts a lovely trip short than emergency calls that may sometimes be prevented if such details have been prepared beforehand.
You may feel guilty about spending time to reconnect with yourself or your friends, or have some precious quality time with your husband, but don’t let that guilt make you underestimate your children’s level of understanding, and their capability of independence. Having “no mommy time” may actually help develop their sense of self. As long as a good understanding of your absence has been established, this can be a great exercise for independence.