About to head off on a vacation sans partner and kids? If this is the first time you’ve jetted off without the family, this is likely to be both an exciting and anxious time. If you’re feeling a weird mix of guilt and anticipation, rest assured this is totally normal!
One of the things that may be concerning you is how your other half and kids will fare while you’re away. Use the guide below to help navigate this time so that everyone involved can come out the other end happy and stress-free!
Create a Timetable
If the parent being left to look after the kids isn’t usually the one who is, let’s say, most in the know about the kids’ schedules, then creating a timetable before you leave is a great idea!
As well as adding all the clubs or after-school activities your children regularly attend, don’t forget to pop on any pre-arranged playdates or other events. You could help your partner out still further by incorporating reminders about what days they need to take a sports kit or an instrument to school, too.
Make sure, too, that your partner has all the contact information they need for everything from the kids’ dentist to the hotel where you’ll be staying. Hopefully, they won’t need this, but you’ll likely be able to relax more knowing they have these details.
Stock up on Snacks and Lunches
If there’s a chance your other half will be so busy with the kids and work that he/she could struggle to get to the shops while you’re away, it’s a good idea to stock up on things like fruit, snacks and items to pack in lunchboxes before heading off.
Make use of the freezer to add to the convenience factor: why not grab a bag of frozen berries from the store and an extra loaf or two of bread to put in the freezer for emergencies?
Make Meal Times Easy
Mealtimes can be a flashpoint: fact. Book a meal delivery service to help things run more smoothly while you’re away. As well as having the peace of mind that everyone will be eating a healthy diet, this will likely be a huge help to the parent staying home, eliminating the hassle of figuring out what to make and shopping for ingredients.
Many delivery companies offer cost-effective packages tailored to your needs. Take a look at My Patriot Supply for one option, which offers meals that come in at just $1 a portion. Choose a company that either delivers completely prepared meals that you just need to heat up or meal kits, so the kids can get involved with the cooking without the inevitable kitchen carnage that results!
Keep the Routine Going
In general, kids love routine. While they’ll likely be unsettled with you being away on vacation, keeping their usual routine in place is an effective way of limiting any upset. It may be tempting to let the schedule slide in an attempt to make kids happy, but this could backfire.
The best approach is to keep morning, evening, and bedtime routines as consistent as possible. Not only will this make for more settled kids, but you’ll avoid the dreaded over-tiredness, too!
Leave Some Notes or Photos for Your Kids
Your child will love it if you leave a few little notes or messages for them to find when you’re away. If they’re missing you, these will be a comfort and also an opportunity for your partner to reassure them about how much both parents love them. For very young children, you could leave some photos of you, and of you and them together, to enjoy looking at while you’re away.
How often you call or facetime the kids – if you do so at all – while you’re on vacation will depend on your children’s unique temperaments. Some will love seeing you and chatting about their day and your adventures – while for others, seeing you and hearing your voice may upset them if they can’t be with you. You know your kids best: if regular calls will result in upset kids and the home parent picking up the pieces of a meltdown, it may be best to leave out this side of things.
Don’t Pack the Guilt in Your Suitcase
Finally, you may feel a few niggles of guilt – especially if this is the first holiday you’ve taken without the kids and your partner. However, it’s important to overcome this to fully relax, enjoy, and get the most from your vacation.
Being happy, energized, rested and having the opportunity to experience new adventures are all great things for coping with the demands of parenting and help you to retain the vital sense of self. Plus, you’re providing your other half with a great opportunity to bond with the children and spend quality time together. And if you’re worried that this could be an exhausting experience for your partner? Perhaps that’s no bad thing, either, and you may find you come home to an other half that’s significantly more appreciative…!