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DH going on a business trip for 2 weeks
How to prepare the kids

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#1 amabanana

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:23 PM

DH is going OS on a business trip at the end of the month (over Easter too  sad.gif ).  DD5 is really upset and he hasn't even gone yet!  This is the first time the kids will have been without DH for more than a couple of nights.  So, for all the pros out there, how do you prepare the kids for their parent going away and how do you make things easier when your partner is away?  
Thanks for your suggestions!

Edited by amabanana, 28 February 2013 - 07:23 PM.

#2 Coffeegirl

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:42 PM

Mine has always travelled, so the kids have grown up knowing that Daddy went away, then came back. Mine's off to Hong Kong twice next mth for a week each time.

Skype and Facetime are good things for the kids now as they can still see and talk to Daddy and tell him about their day.

Maybe Daddy can ensure he gets something special for the kids if they are good? Even if its something kitchy from the airport.

As to things being easier when partner is away.  I love it when he's gone!  Easy dinner for the kids.  I often just have eggs on toast or something simple.  Everything is done and put away by 7pm so kids and I got more snuggle time before bed when they were younger.   I got to watch all the stupid girly shows I wanted and the remote was ALL MINE original.gif

Keep to a routine.  Explain that as Daddy is away, DD needs to 'take his place' and help Mummy as much as she can.  Give your DD some extra responsibility.  Take the garbage bag out to the bin, or help set/clear the table.   Even load/unload the plastics from the dishwasher.  

#3 *LucyE*

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:49 PM

Hmm, DH just tells the kids he will be gone for x number of nights when he says good bye. He tries not to rush the goodbye but we also don't make a big deal out of it. We don't discuss it endlessly before he goes because it doesn't seem to assist our children with it.

We focus on when daddy will be home. We have done the calender crossing out thing and DS is old enough to work it out himself. DS2 is too young to grasp the concept of time so we don't dwell on that, it would just be a 'daddy's home on wed' sort of thing.

I have found where possible, breaking them from the home routine to help with missing DH. Now that the older two are in school, we only go away during school holidays. Last time DH was o/s, we went to visit my parents and I filled many of the days with activities so they were too busy to miss him.

ATM he is away 4 days per week. I find a tight routine helps me get everything done but having it different from their normal routine helps them somewhat eg. We eat dinner at 4:30/5pm when DH isn't home. I read to DD and spend time talking to DS in bed. I keep DS2 awake over his afternoon nap so he will sleep earlier. That gives me time to spend one on one with the other two. It means he wakes earlier which is a pain but such is life.  Basically, we just get on with it.

I prefer them to FaceTime or talk on the phone earlier in the day rather than later. Bedtime calls are hard because they have the goodbye emotions just before sleep which seems to work up my kids.

I also find the reintegration to be hard on DH. We are in our groove and he comes home wanting to pick up where he left off but everyone is at a different place. Coming home from a long haul flight is hard. Usually DH is exhausted and needs rest to combat jetlag but the kids are all over him like a rash. These days, DH prepares himself for the initial greeting, then we allow him time to rest (I take the kids away). Then the kids are like Velcro on him and we plan family activities. We've learned that he can't back up from a trip and flight and be ready to go straight back to work. It comes at the expense of either his health or the kids.

#4 The 8th Plum

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:52 PM

When I was a child both my parents would go away for long periods of time (my dad for up to 3 months at a time & my mother up to 1 month). They used to leave activities for us - for example once when my mother went away she left me a treasure hunt - a series of puzzles to solve and at the end would be a little present, like some colouring things or a new book or a craft project. It was great fun and made you feel as though they were thinking about you even though they weren't there.

For me now, DH is away 5 nights out of 7 and the nights he is home he usually gets back after DS has gone to sleep. DS is almost 4 - he calls DH on the phone when he goes to bed to say goodnight, and we talk about what DH is doing during the day. When DH does stay overnight he spends the morning with DS, so they have one on one time and I get a break.

#5 Pop-to-the-shops

Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:03 PM

We FaceTime.

We also look at you tube videos of places he is going, and of planes and the inside of planes!

My girls love planes and airports. (Dh travels a lot, he's on a plane right now)

Oh and he often brings home chocolate.  rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif

#6 amabanana

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:05 PM


I think we are going to wag school on the last day before holidays so we can take him to the airport - my girls love planes so want to plane watch and DD is only doing the morning anyway so only missing 3hrs of school.  Then it will be school holidays so I think a road trip is what we'll do for the first 5 days or so!  Then my parents are going to come and stay for the second week - lucky me! (No sarcasm there.  Promise.   biggrin.gif )
Good idea to do Facetime in the morning rather than bedtime.  Due to the time difference it will also be easier for DH as kid bedtime will be in the middle of his working day.

DD is happier about DH going away now she knows she'll be getting an ipad when he gets back.   rolleyes.gif

It will also be our wedding anniversary while DH is away so I wonder what he'll bring me?    tongue.gif

#7 Feral Madam Mim

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:54 PM

We just told them he was going away for work and while he was away he called them every night to say goodnight, DD got upset and really missed DH this last time, a week on and she still worries that he isn't going to come home from work, am hoping she will settle down soon  sad.gif

#8 amabanana

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:22 AM

QUOTE (mad madam mim @ 28/02/2013, 11:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We just told them he was going away for work and while he was away he called them every night to say goodnight, DD got upset and really missed DH this last time, a week on and she still worries that he isn't going to come home from work, am hoping she will settle down soon  sad.gif

That's why I'm trying to prepare as much as possible.  DD1 in particular is very sensitive and misses DH terribly even if he's gone for one night.  DD1 has a psych appointment in the middle of DH being away so that worked out well!  I think the key will be to keep busy, wear them out and reassure them that Dad is coming back.  I'm a bit nervous but trying to hide it well.  happy.gif

#9 Accidental

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:46 AM

My DH is away regularly. Here's how we do it: http://the-accidental-housewife.blogspot.c...s-away.html?m=0

#10 *LucyE*

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:53 AM

The other thing we found was the younger children don't have the skills/patience for a long phone call.  They would often talk over the top of each other or be so enthusiastic about sharing their day, DH wouldn't have a chance to tell them about what he was doing.

DH now videos himself with a little spiel about where he is and what he's doing.  He emails that to us daily so the kids can then watch it again, and again, and again.  It is handy when they were missing daddy during the day, they could just watch his videos and over the course of the trip, they can see that it is fewer and fewer days til he is home again (DH would always say good bye with a 'see you in x number of sleeps').

#11 amabanana

Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:56 AM

QUOTE (theaccidentalhousewife @ 01/03/2013, 11:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My DH is away regularly. Here's how we do it: http://the-accidental-housewife.blogspot.c...s-away.html?m=0

I love your idea of getting Daddy to read some stories.  That is the kids' favorite part of the day so it would be really awesome to get DH to do that before he leaves.  Thanks.

QUOTE (*LucyE* @ 01/03/2013, 11:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The other thing we found was the younger children don't have the skills/patience for a long phone call.  They would often talk over the top of each other or be so enthusiastic about sharing their day, DH wouldn't have a chance to tell them about what he was doing.

DH now videos himself with a little spiel about where he is and what he's doing.  He emails that to us daily so the kids can then watch it again, and again, and again.  It is handy when they were missing daddy during the day, they could just watch his videos and over the course of the trip, they can see that it is fewer and fewer days til he is home again (DH would always say good bye with a 'see you in x number of sleeps').

Also great.   original.gif

#12 Sweet like a lemon

Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:20 AM

DH makes a point of phoning DD in the morning to say good morning and in the evening before bedtime he will natter to her about his day and her day and so on. He also always brings those little shampoo bottles and what nots back. She loves that. I remember my dad doing the same thing when he was away for extended periods.
I think the build up is hardest. Once he's away they can start looking forward to him returning.

#13 Anemonefish

Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:01 PM

My DH is away for 1-2 weeks at least a couple of times a year and he's been doing this since the kids were little so they are used to it. It has become easier as the kids have got older (they are now 9 and 4). The worst time is usually just after saying goodbye at the airport, so I usually have some treat lined up to cheer the kids up. We talk to him on the phone or Skype every couple of days, though on some trips there is no contact at all as he doesn't have phone or internet access (out at sea). We count down the sleeps, and the kids sleep with me (I sleep better with them close), on the condition they go back to sleeping in their rooms when DH comes back (DS still joins us sometime during the night anyway). He usually brings presents back for them, which the kids look forward to.

I let the kids watch TV more than usual, especially in the evening so I can cook dinner in peace. I cook simpler meals and make double the quantity so we can have leftovers some nights. DH usually does the kids lunchboxes and makes me coffee in the mornings ( wub.gif) and the one thing I find tough is getting everyone/everything ready to leave the house on school/daycare/work days. I make and freeze sandwiches whenever I have the time to, and I get as much ready as possible the night before so there is less to do in the morning.

Good luck, OP, it'll be fine!

#14 JKTMum

Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:54 PM

DH went overseas for work for four weeks when DS was about 9, DD1 was 6 (she has Aspergers and had just started school that year) and DD was just about to turn 4 (he was actually away for her birthday). He'd never been away from them anything more than overnight from when DS was born.

We kept with the positives as much as possible, talking about that DH could chat to them on the phone (skype wasnt really available back then but this might be a possiblity for you), he said he would bring them back something special each from some of the places he went, so that made it exciting for them.

I kept the routine as well as I possibly could, DH left early in the morning by taxi to get to the airport (think 4am) so they said goodbye the night before. I think it may have been harder for the kids if they had to say goodbye at the airport, I would have had to deal with three upset kids getting them back to the car. The first week was a breeze really we had a great routine going. I'd told their school and kinder teachers that DH would be away so they could keep an eye on them if they seemed a little out of sorts. Second week we celebrated DD2's birthday and then a few days later everything hit the fan because DD2 ended up getting ill very quickly (ie fine and at kinder in the morning to almost comatose with a febrile convulsion by late evening) and required a trip to the hospital and an overnight stay. Fortunately we had great backup from my parents who pretty much took over with the other kids so I could focus on DD2 (wasnt too serious and she was well on the mend a few days later, but certainly stressful at the time). Hardest thing was that DH was so far away and I didnt want him stressing so we kept the fact that DD2 was ill from him until she was home from hospital and much better.

The last two weeks we did fine too, but my parents certainly gave us that extra support those two weeks due to us all being a bit rattled after DD2's illness. We were certainly very excited to see DH when he got home. He again was on an early morning flight but we decided to surprise him by going to the airport to meet his flight (he was expecting to get a taxi home). The kids were really excited and made a welcome home Daddy sign for him, it was quite cute. Funnily enough DH's conecting flights across the USA had been delayed due to bad weather so although he made his international flight home (they held the flight for him), his luggage didnt so the kids had to wait until the following day for their presents, when the bags were delivered to our house. They didnt mind in the slightest, they were just glad to have him home.

#15 Feral Madam Mim

Posted 01 March 2013 - 06:20 PM

Oh I should add one thing that did help was counting down the sleeps until he returned and he always brings them back a little something wub.gif

#16 Snot stew

Posted 01 March 2013 - 06:38 PM

My kids have grown up with it too.  We just let them know when he's going away, and when he's coming back.  If it's a long trip (like, more than a few weeks) we might skype once or twice.  

One thing that does help if they are missing him - we have a globe, they like looking at which country/city he has gone to and tracing a line with their finger from us to him, and they like to guess what time it is there, and what he might be doing.

But mostly life goes on as normal, we keep to pretty much the same routine etc.

#17 IsolaBella

Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:21 AM

My kids have grown up with DH away or working super long hours ( ie out before 5am and back after midnight for weeks on end.... That is how I got 5am wakers they wanted to try and see daddy).

We don't do airport as they find that too traumatic. I hate holidays as we are away from normal routine. To survive I plan out my time. Park, activities, special new toy (Lego set to build), puzzles etc.

We research and talk about the country where DH is going to. Like PP it is better that DH sends photos and clips of himself and where he is than talk to the kids each day. His last trip was 2 wks in Dec..... Missing DDs birthday as well as the kids Christmas concerts.

Daddy bringing back a special toy has been great.

My dinners are usually toast and smoked Salmon or Ham/bacon.

You survive. It is harder when you are worried about their safety. DH has a trip to West Africa coming up (you know warlords, kidnappings etc) so that plus health (Ebola virus etc). I am not too happy about that trip. His upcoming trip to Indonesia I am not as worried.

#18 amabanana

Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:21 PM

DD went to the library today and got the Lonely Planet for the country DH is travelling to.  She's giving him suggestions of places to visit. Too cute!
We are also going to the same country a few months later so DD is learning all about it.  It's really calming her to look at the globe and draw the flag etc.  We'll see how we go over the next few weeks.
Thanks for all the great advice everyone!  original.gif

You survive. It is harder when you are worried about their safety. DH has a trip to West Africa coming up (you know warlords, kidnappings etc) so that plus health (Ebola virus etc). I am not too happy about that trip. His upcoming trip to Indonesia I am not as worried.

I don't know how I would cope with that IsolaBella.  That must be really hard.

Edited by amabanana, 02 March 2013 - 08:26 PM.

#19 BornToLove

Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:39 PM

DD is almost 3 and both of us travel for work. I travel once every other month, for an over night/interstate trip. DH travels 3-4 time a year, but usually overseas so he's gone for at least a week.

Our solution isn't ideal, but we give her a gift of some sort. A few new books, a puzzle/craft/game. Nothing ove the top or pricy, but a special activity that she gets to do with one parent while the other is gone. DH was away last week so DD and I got a craft kit and made necklaces.

We talk about what the other parent is doing while away and when they will be back (2 more sleeps). If we can, we will Skype, but we don't go out of our way to do it, it can be upsetting for her sometimes (usually for my overnight trips). sad.gif

#20 Jenno

Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:53 PM

I used to mark the days off on a calendar after dinner each night.Thay way they could see how many days to go.

Now they are so used to it I just say he will be back in x days.

Or when he is on tours we look. Each day at what he has on and where he is going, and look up the atlas so they can see where in the world he is!

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