Getting away without the kids is a huge hot fudge sundae to parents. It is a much needed break that should be considered only with adequate planning and preparation. Regardless of who will care for the children in your absence, you need to provide certain key information, including
- Emergency contacts (PDF)
- Detailed itinerary (information on travel, rental car, hotel/lodging, and any scheduled activities so there are checkpoints at which you could be tracked down). Check out our Itinerary While Parents are Away (PDF) for a start.
- Children’s schedule. A typical daily schedule is helpful so your caregiver knows what to expect and can maintain a sense of routine. Also helpful are lists of snacks your kids like and activities/diversions that would be fun. Parents also should put some thought into other routines they may take for granted, but which make the children’s days predictable and comfortable. This provides a sense of security and comfort at a time that can be extremely stressful for them unless managed appropriately.
- Durable power of healthcare – critical so that healthcare decisions can be made in your absence if necessary.
- Warm fuzzies. Creative ways to leave a little piece of your heart at home so the little ones will adjust more readily to a new caregiver while you’re gone. Some ways to stay connected are videotaping or tape recording your child’s favorite bedtime story; writing a different bedtime note to be read each night; leaving notes for the lunch boxes; and calling at bedtime.