Whether you’re gone for a night or a week, being away from your children can be difficult. However, sometimes business travel is necessary. Whether it’s a weekly occurrence or an annual trip, there are plenty of ways to ease anxiety in your children and yourself.
This doesn’t have to be difficult to do. Here are five tips to make business travel easier for everyone:
- Don’t Apologise
Though you may be feeling guilty about leaving your children for a business trip, you shouldn’t show them your guilt, or apologise. Otherwise, your children will perceive that you are doing something ‘wrong’, and this can lead to problems with ambivalence and resentfulness. Instead, you should act very matter-of-fact about your trip. By acting as if business travel is normal, your children are much more likely to take it in their stride.
- Take and Send Them Pictures
Keep your children up to date with your goings-on by taking pictures of different stages of your journey. For instance, at the airport, in a taxi, at your destination, in the office etc. This will reassure them that you’re fine, as well as make them feel like they are part of your work adventure. You can send a little note to let them know you’re thinking of them, and then get on with your meetings.
- Trade Keepsakes
When you’re away for business travel, missing your children is normal. Carrying a reminder of your little ones can help you manage those feelings. If your child is old enough to colour, you could ask them to draw you a special picture that you take around with you in your bag. You should also leave behind something for your little one to hold on to, such as a bracelet, an old T-shirt or a short note. You both can always pull out your keepsake for a quick boost.
- Coordinate With Carers
Routine and structure give children a sense of security and order. Make sure carers know the daily schedule. Think through what’s going on with your family and the things you usually do without even thinking about it, and write it all down. Whether it’s your partner, a nanny or your parents standing in while you’re away on business travel, let them know all the little things you do. Make a list or add items to an online calendar of special things that you do for your children — books you read together, little rituals, games you play — so your little ones won’t miss out on special moments that they look forward to every day.
- Use Technology
Smartphones, Skype, instant messaging and texting make connecting with your children really convenient, even if you only have a quick break between meetings. Schedule regular times to chat with your children once or twice a day, and stick to the schedule. With the aid of technology, you can easily continue traditions such as a bed time story while you’re away for business travel.
- Let Stress Go
Though it’s easier said than done, when guilt bubbles up, you have to let it go. Instead, take time for yourself: read a book you’ve been meaning to start, or enjoy a mindless film or TV. Use this time to recharge.
Remember that the continued sense of connection, even from afar, will ease your children’ sadness about missing you, as well as help reduce your anxiety about the children’ happiness and minimise any guilt you may feel about being away.