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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Traveling Parents

Helping Kids with Traveling Parents
by Mary Ann X Meddish

We have all had a traveling employer at some point, be it a parent traveling for work or both parents getting away for a special trip.
As professional nannies, it will change our work hours but our concern is: What about the children? How do we help them deal with their parents absence.
It’s very helpful to sit down with the parents and work with them on some suggestions for things they can do before they leave, to help the children through those hard times when they start missing them. You could ask the parents to videotape each other reading their childrens' favorite stories. Then they can burn a DVD that can be used over and over so they can still read their children bedtime stories. Another idea would be to record little messages to each child on their own CDs so if they are missing mom & dad they could hear their special message. It is comforting to know that mom and dad are thinking of them. Special things that mom and dad can hide for the children to find, or surprises that the nanny can leave in their rooms while they are sleeping go a long way to alleviating those feelings of sadness.
Here are some ideas for things you could leave, depending on the age of the children.
Note cards with lipstick kisses and short messages,
Special notes on stationary with perfume,
Hershey Kisses or little bags with their favorite color M&Ms.
You can also:
Put things on the bed post,
Leave notes for lunch boxes,
Leave a small item like a Matchbox car wrapped in tissue in their child’s shoe.
Gift wrap a book about where the parents are traveling to be left in the stack of mail.
Follow the parents travels on the map or the globe.
Learn about the country they are visiting.
The nanny can plan some fun activities such as:
Party in a Box kits - you plan a little party and send out invites without telling the child and on the given day the child gets a box to open with everything that is needed to decorate for the party and then their friends appear.

Be creative, one dad of a boy that loved puzzles bought a 1000 piece puzzle of where he was going and secretly did it himself and then took it apart carefully making 100 piece envelopes so each 100 pieces went together into a square and on the 10th day he came home and watched his son finish his first 1000 piece puzzle.

Paper chains are another great way to count down the days. The children remove one link for each day waiting for someone to come home or you can make homemade story books where you write and illustrated a page a day about the child's life to give as a gift to the person coming home or arriving for a visit.

You could also plan a coming home party for arrival.
Each day you could make something for the party. You could make party hats, signs, placemats and cupcakes for a tea party.
Or you could just make a big Welcome Home banner.

When parents are traveling it is also a good time to do special things like make a tent out of the dinning room table or have a backwards Saturday where you wear your clothes backward and eat dinner for breakfast starting with the ice cream and then have pancakes with chocolate chips for dinner.
If the parents are gone over a Saturday ask them if you can plan a special half day, all day, or overnight excursion. How about a camping trip? Or a day trip that you couldn’t normally take.

These are just a few ideas that have worked well for me as the nanny for parents that traveled. I am sure our readers can add a few of their own.

Just remember:The important thing is to make it fun so the time flies for everyone.


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