“By the time you finish up school on Friday, I’ll be home.” Or “By the third sleep, I’ll be home tucking you in.”
What words have you used with your kids to assure them that your business trip will soon be over and you’ll be right back where they want you – at home?
I have overheard so many of these conversations, and have had too many to count myself.
To help make the days away from home seem to go faster, and to add some fun into the time when business takes you away from your kids, try these simple and fun ways to engage your kids:
- Ask your child to draw a calendar of the days you’ll be away from home. Tell them about the climate, food or culture about where you’re heading so they can draw in these items into their calendar. Attach this to the refrigerator and move a magnet forward each morning when they wake up. One more day closer to having you home!
- Keep them busy with creating their own ‘postcards’ of what they did while mom or dad was away. Each day have them take a 4”x6” or so piece of paper and draw a picture about something they did. If they’re old enough, have them write a few sentences on what they learned or what fun they had. Have them address it to you and draw a stamp on it like it’s a postcard. They can add these ‘postcards’ to the pile of mail that’s awaiting your return.
- Have your child decorate a small box (a shoe box works great for this) and cut a slit in the top of the box. Have them write on index cards or note paper with events that happened during the day, words they’re feeling, or things they want to do once you’re back home. Then when you call or Skype with them each day, have them pull out a card or two to share. The rest of the cards are great for sharing once you’re back home. Kids love the anticipation of sharing these cards with you when you connect.
- Ask your child to be the planner for your first evening back home. Let them select the dinner choice and what you’ll do together – and let it be ok that it might stretch your normal rules. Just have fun together and unwind from the days of being gone from home.
Select one or more of these ideas based on the age of your children. For even more ideas, check out my book Business Travel Success: How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel With Confidence! And do share in the comments below other kid-engaging activities that have worked for you or travelers you know.