Traveling away from my wife and kids is always so hard. It’s especially hard for me knowing I’m going to be away from O and Jake. Of course, I miss my wife but she knows I’m leaving, she’s knows I’m coming home soon and whether it’s through Facebook, email, texts, or phone calls we can always count on being able to talk to each other any time of day. My kids on the other hand are a different story.
O is of the age where she gets that you’ll be leaving for a while and that you’re likely coming back in short order. Jake, however, is a different story. He’s still just 22 months and while he may vaguely understand you’re leaving I’m not convinced he really knows what that means or what the impact is.
I’ve found the best way to help ease any anxiety children might have about parents leaving is to communicate and communicate often. Of course, this will differ depending on the age of the child. For my two little ones, 3 and under, I’ve found a good little heads up that a trip is forthcoming helps. About a week out from my trip I’d reach out to the kids letting them know that I would be taking a plane somewhere. Both of them are familiar with planes as they recently flew to Israel so I think that helped put a familiar and positive thought in their mind. I would do the same the days leading up to the trip as well. On the morning of the trip I’d remind them that we’re going to talk every night and hopefully even see each other (via Skype). I think letting them know that we’re going to talk and/or see each other real soon shortens the amount of time they feel they’ll be “away” from you.
While I’m away I make it a point to call them even though sometimes they’re so preoccupied with things they don’t seem interested in talking. I love snapping a picture of myself and texting it to my wife’s phone. They can see what I look like right then and there. Often times I’ll make a funny face so I can still “play” with them even if I’m not right there. Of course, my wife returns the favor by sending me pics and/or videos of those little ones. Below is a recent video of them that my wife sent me.
Traveling can be very hard and I know every time I leave I just miss them so very much. While the tips I mentioned were meant to be designed to help with the anxiety children might feel when a parent leaves town, I’m beginning to wonder if they’re not really meant for me instead! I like to think they’re helping my children but I do suppose they could be just fine all along and the real baby is this Daddy missing his family when he’s away.