Some parents are firm believers in taking periodic vacations without their kids. Whether it’s for a weekend, two weeks or a month, this time away can recharge your batteries, rekindle romance and recharge your spirit. It is perfectly okay to be selfish about this time. It may be the glue that binds the next leg of parenthood together.
It may surprise you, if you’ve never done this before, that travelling without kids actually consumes more logistical planning time and organization than travelling with kids.
What you have to do, as a parent, is set everything up for success. Here are a few tips to assist you in your planning. Your stress levels will be greatly reduced with the right kind of preparation.
Keep your kids at home, if at all possible. Kids like routines and the familiarity of their own home, local spots and toys.
PREPARE THE KIDS
Start talking about your trip, and their big adventure without you, well in advance. The information and how it is presented, depends on the age of your child. The main point here is, no surprises. Forecast it as a new and exciting event for the whole family. Tell the kids how long this adventure will last.
PREPARE THE CAREGIVER
You may have a caregiver who is familiar with your routine but prepare an info packet so that nothing gets missed. Your package or binder should include immunization records, medication information, BC Medical numbers, typical schedules, food preferences and allergy information, a local activity guide and favourite outing spots. Include all contact numbers (doctor, dentist, schools, neighbor, relatives and all emergency numbers). Include your itinerary. Don’t forget to tell your caregiver about favourite toys and stuffed animals.
Leave your caregiver with a full tank of gas, a well stocked pantry, library cards and recreation centre passes or tickets.
Prepare a letter authorizing your caregiver to pick up your kids from schools and activities. Give a copy to the schools and leave a copy for your caregiver in the info packet.
Arrange check-in times with the caregiver before you go. You will be able to call, text or email. Do this regularly. Your kids will look forward to hearing from you. Mark your vacation dates on a calendar to help young children understand how long you will be gone.
Sure you’ll miss your kids and they will miss you. Keep in mind that this is a great way to grow your child’s independence. Every kid is entitled to a little time off from their parents too.
A dose of separation can make you a better parent and your children will appreciate you more when you return.
Enjoy your travels!