4.) Pack Together. Let your child/ren pick out a special stuffed animal or token you can take with you. One mom I spoke with has her 3-year old pick out a special hair ribbon to tie on the suitcase, and it changes with every trip. BFF bracelets, or other special things that both you and the child will have while you’re gone, help them feel connected to you.
5.) Create a Ritual. If you’re gone often, ask the caretaker to do something with your kids that’s extra special and only happens when you’re away. It could be going to a special place or as simple as getting to sleep in sleeping bags on the living room floor.
6.) Be on the Lookout. Place special notes or cards in the children’s room, on their car seats, in the arms of their favorite stuffed animal, and other creative places they’re sure to see.
7.) Get Some Lipstick. If you won’t be gone long, put on bright red lipstick and give the kids a great big kiss on their tummies – no one will know it’s there but them! A preferred method for most dads: let the kids pick out a temporary tattoo and put it on them as a special reminder of you.
8.) Be Silly with Skype. With videoconferencing, you can play peek-a-boo, I Spy, read stories, or look at the calendar you made together and talk about when you’re coming home. Have fun!
9.) Call Early. So often it’s hard to catch the kids in the evening, with meetings running late or business dinners. Kids are often already asleep before you can make the call. Instead, call when the kids are just getting up. That’s when they’re in that lovey, snuggly mindset and you can start their day off with a smile. Kids won’t talk? Try reading them their favorite story (be sure to pack a copy of the book in your suitcase!)
10.) Capture Their Minds. Show the child/ren where you are going and tell them how you’re going to get there. Your goal is to position the trip as an exciting adventure you can’t wait to tell them about when you get home. Once back, don’t forget to share the fun -- spend time talking about the famous or typical things you did in the area of the country/world where you were. Go over the maps again, pull out your camera, or bring home some postcards and really capture their imaginations.
Once the kids feel better about you being away, you’ll feel better. As you head out the door for your next trip, feeling more relaxed and focused (thanks to these tips) you’ll also start to see a glint of business travel’s silver lining. Whether it’s the fact that you’ll get an uninterrupted night’s sleep for once, or that the kids and their caretaker get some important bonding time, or that you’re modeling for your kids how to handle a busy, successful career, there are lots of benefits to being away for a few days. What’s critically important is that parents remember to position work always in a positive light -- not something that is taking you away from your kids -- as these young hearts and minds will eventually enter the workforce themselves one day.