I recently wrote an article for the MotherhoodLater.com newsletter and I wanted to share it all with you. The topic was very timely for me since I had to take a business trip recently and I was thinking of how I could make my absence more fun for the kids. MotherhoodLater.com is a great site for Mom’s who started a family later in life and want to connect with other Moms like themselves. Go to their site and sign up for their newsletter because there are some great articles … for Mom’s of any age, really.
Staying Connected:Tips for Staying in Touch with the Kids When You’re On the Road
Sue Kirchner, Contributing Mom and Business Woman
With teleconferencing and a bad economy, traveling for work has decreased in the last few years, but the occasional trip does come up. While quite a few moms relish the nights away from home – ordering room service, indulging in a bubble bath, or watching TV uninterrupted – it’s still hard to be away from your family. There are some fun ways to stay connected to your kids even if you have to travel, so when the room service trolley has been pushed to the corner, the movie is over, and the tub is drained, try some of these tips to stay close to home:
Write some notes: Before you leave, write a few love notes or jokes for your kids and hide them. Tuck them under their pillows, lunch boxes, backpacks, sock drawers, or toy chests. Your kids will feel connected to you as they find these little surprises.
Bring a bedtime story: If your kids have a favorite bedtime story, get an extra copy at the library and bring it with you. When you call home to say goodnight, you can read your kids their bedtime story while they follow along at home. It’s a nice way to keep the bedtime ritual going even if you aren’t there.
Take a friend: Ask your kids if you can take one of their favorite toys or stuffed animals with you to remind you of them while you travel. Your kids will love to help YOU not be lonely. While traveling, you can take pictures of their friend in cool places to share later. Try taking some funny pictures too: Have the stuffed animal or doll sit with you in a restaurant like you’re out to dinner together; or how about a photo of the toy in the bathtub, or sitting on the toilet. Bring that digital camera or cell phone with you so you can email the pictures home and have something to giggle about over the phone later.
Send a postcard: I always send a postcard to my kids. Even if you’re home before the postcard arrives, kids just love knowing that you were thinking of them. They also want to see where you’ve been (try sending the postcard from your child’s stuffed animal. More giggles. They’ll love it).
Map it: If you have a large map at home, get it out and show the kids where you are going. My kids always want to know where, and how far away, I will be. Looking at the map with them and showing them your travel destination helps them feel connected. No matter what age your kids are, they miss you when you are gone. Just take that little extra time and make it an adventure for the whole family.
Skype it: If you haven’t used Skype yet, this is the perfect opportunity. If you travel with a laptop, make sure it comes equipped with a webcam (if not, they are not very expensive). Make sure you have 2 web cams: hook up one to your home computer and take the other on the road with you. Download Skype onto both computers (it’s free). Skype allows you to make a video “phone call” over the Internet so you can talk to your kids “face to face” whenever you want. You will have to set up a time in advance so the kids know to be online for your call. Technology makes staying connected a lot easier!
Sue Kirchner is the founder of www.ChocolateCakeClub.com, an e-boutique that offers busy moms products to help them get organized, encourage kids to be more self-sufficient, and distinguish them as Moms-who’ve-got-it-together with must-have gifts and parenting tools. She writes the blog, www.ChocolateCakeMoments.com. When not working, she’s home having fun with her husband and two children.
Tell us, how do you stay connected with your kids while on a business trip?