5 TIPS FOR PARENTS WHO TRAVEL FOR WORK
For most of my career, I have had to travel for work. Many may see this as a fantastic perk, but I see it as a perk. A parent who travels for work is a parent who spends a significant amount of time away from home in order to work. They may be travelling for business and may stay away from home for weeks or months at a time.
Business travel may be to visit their company office in another city or country or to clients, and it can be for pleasure too, like company team building getaways. Let’s explore some tips as a working parent that travels for work.
1. STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR KIDS WHEN YOU TRAVEL
Our kids are online more than ever before. So, even when we as parents travel, our kids remain connected to us 24/7. Share virtual meals, or moments as you explore the city. It’s important to stay connected to our kids when we travel as some kids may suffer from separation anxiety.
2. FIND THE CITY ON THE MAP
When Darren or I am travelling we like to find the city where we are travelling to on the map and share it with our son. We show him where we will be based, and mark this plus the places we will visit while we’re away. I have found that our son uses this information when sharing it with his mates.
3. PLAN A DATE NIGHT
When there’s a parent who travels for work, it can take a toll on the parent that stays behind. They will have to not only manage their own parenting expectations but those of the travelling parent too. The parent remaining at home will keep things as “normal” as possible. So it’s very important to have a solid support structure while you are travelling.
It’s important that the parent who remains home with the kids receives appreciation and affection when you return. Praise mom or dad that stayed home in front of the kids and a day or two after you’ve returned take your spouse out for lunch or dinner, where it’s just you two (no kids).
4. FAMILY TIME
While you were away on your business trip, you may have missed out on school activities or other quality family activities. It’s important for your child’s mental health and security, that when you return you schedule quality time together as a family. Go hiking together, or have a pizza-making evening at home.
5. SPECIAL SURPRISES AND FEELINGS
Who doesn’t love a special unexpected gift? When I travel I like to leave hidden small, inexpensive gifts for both Darren and our son. If I don’t get time to get them something, then it’s a special note in the lunchbox for my son and a message on WhatsApp just before I switch my phone off on the plane.
I also like to stop at the Duty-Free shop in the Arrivals lounge and buy a small gift for them. They will love the fuss.
When I first began travelling with our son around, I felt I needed to speak to him and explain what was about to happen. Separation anxiety is real. Kids can feel anxious and sad. So, I encourage you to sit your child or children down before your first work trip and let them share their feelings with you about your trip or write it down for you to read on the plane if they feel shy.
Travelling for work can be an emotional experience for the whole family, those that are travelling and those remaining at home. Make it a little easier and create special virtual moments for the whole family to enjoy. There are many ways to make sure that your kids are cared for while you’re away.