Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Leaving the Kids

In two weeks my husband and I will be leaving for our first adult only vacation. My son will be staying with both my mother and mother-in-law. We will be gone for 5 days to sunny Florida! I have left my son overnight, but never longer than that and I have always been within a half hour of driving. I'm a little nervous, okay, really nervous to leave my little guy for five days. We will be able to skype and talk to my son every night before his bedtime and I know he is in very capable hands, but I worry what he will do without mom and dad for five days.


Have you left your children before for an adult only vacation?

How did you prepare them for the separation?

Is there any information you would suggest leaving for the person watching the kids?

Any helpful tips would be appreciated!


Chris and Laura said...

We left our two girls, two years and six months, about a month ago when my husband and I went to Disneyland for a long-overdue honeymoon. They stayed with my parents.

With my 2-yr-old, we spent a lot of time talking about going to Grandma's house, that mom and dad were going to leave, that we would come back, etc. It also helped that we had left her overnight with my parents before, so it wasn't unusual for her to sleep there without us.

We took as much of their normal bedding as was reasonable--all the blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, and such that they usually sleep with. In the middle of the night, those often helped my daughter go right back to sleep without getting disoriented.

Scheduling can go one of two ways--for some kids, it is really helpful to ask Grandma to keep to the normal routine as much as possible. Same bedtime, same meal and snack times, etc. This is how my baby was. As long as she went to bed at the same time and had her bottles at the same time, she did well. My 2-yr-old was the opposite. She would get extremely frustrated if she had to go to bed at her normal time when all kinds of other things were happening. In her case, it worked much better to let her guide herself. It was only for a week--I was willing to let go of routine to make everything run smoother while I was gone.

As far as information to leave, I left a list of basic identifying information and insurance information. Birthdays, address, parent contact information, etc. Anything that is a standard question on a form. I also left a note saying: "[Insert Grandma's name here] has permission to seek medical attention for [insert child's full name here] from [insert dates here]." Medical professionals cannot treat a child, beyond emergency life-saving stuff, without the parent's explicit permission. If you leave this note, on the slim chance that something does happen while you're gone, your child will be able to get the care they need.

I also left an insurance card--my husband and I each have one, so we left one with the girls and had one with us still. If you only have one card, write down name and address of the insurance company, along with your ID or policy number.

If your child takes any medications, be sure to leave written instructions about how to administer them. Don't rely only on verbal directions.

Ummm...I can't think of anything else at the moment. I hope that list helps!

Jared and Delia said...

I wish I could offer some thoughts on this but we have never done this. Good luck!

On The Go Family said...

We take an annual trip without our kids, so we've done this many times. I agree with the first commenter about leaving a note with permission for medical treatment, along with an insurance card. Thankfully ours have never been needed, but I felt better about things having left them behind.

I'm a huge fan of having the help come to us rather than taking my kids out of their usual environment, when possible. We've done it both ways, but for my kids, staying at home in their own beds is definitely easier than transplanting them.

In my experience, being away has always been harder for us than it has been for the kids. Our trips have varied from 4 days to 10 days and they've always been fine without us!

One note of caution: you'll want to be careful about calling home and interacting with your little guy as that may remind him that you're gone and upset him -- especially right before bedtime. I'm not sure how old your son is and therefore how he'll react to frequent calls home, but our kids actually tend to do better without hearing from us. That way they can focus on the fun they're having with grandma and grandpa and not keep thinking about how we're gone. (I'm sure that differs kid to kid, this is just been our experience.)

As for the caregivers, I normally make a little schedule, listing favorite foods, a general routine, etc. I also list phone numbers of the other individuals who know the kids best. I've even set up play dates for my kids before while we were out of town just to keep things normal for them and give them some interaction with friends. Of course this depends on your caregiver's level of comfort with this. Our parents have watched our kids so many times that they're open to this.

Above all, I say have a good time on your trip and remember how good it is for you to get away. Your marriage will be richer and you'll be a better parent when you return. Try not to feel guilty about getting away and don't let it interfere with your ability to relax. Everything at home will be fine. And being reunited with your child after a short break is such a sweet experience!