It can be difficult to be apart from your kids for longer than a few days, but sometimes, you just need to take a step back and not be ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ for a bit.
Going on a child-free vacation is a great way to reconnect with yourself—the part of you that is not a parent—and take a well-deserved break from the endless trips to school, lunch boxes, and after-school activities. It can also be an amazing opportunity to rekindle the fire in your relationship if you’re going with your S.O.—or perhaps let loose with your friends just like in the old days.
But before you go on that much-awaited vacation with your kids, here are the things that you may be forgetting to do in preparation for your trip:
Call the school or daycare
If your child is going to daycare or school, be sure to call the office so that they would know you’re not the one picking them up. Some child care facilities require you to submit a form or a document that authorizes someone else to pick up your kids on your behalf. Don’t forget to do this before you leave. Otherwise, the person you leave to take care of your kids may run into problems while picking them up from school or daycare.
Talk to your kids about your plans
It may be difficult to talk to your kids about a vacation that they are not a part of, but it may be a good thing when done right. Tell your kids about the purpose of your trip to help them understand why you are going somewhere without them. For example, say that you are going on a trip to nurture your and your spouse’s relationship. Or maybe you could tell them that you are feeling down lately and are taking a vacation so that you’ll be more fun to be around when you come back.
It’s normal for kids to be upset or sad upon the news, but it is important that they know you are being honest with them. However, if it is likely that they are going to be severely unhappy or anxious about you going somewhere without them, it may be better to tell them right before you leave. Telling them earlier may just lead to them spending more time upset, which can also make you upset when you should be excited about your trip.
Make an information binder
You most likely already plan to tell whoever you are leaving your kids to about the basics; dinner plans, appointments, after-school activities, etc. However, it may be difficult for the caregiver to remember everything if you only tell them verbally. So, instead of going over everything they need to know through conversation, prepare an information binder that contains:
- A guide to daily routines (bath times, meal times, food preferences, food allergies, medications, etc.)
- Instructions on where to find the kids’ medication, if there are any
- Contact information of schools, teachers, little league coaches, grandparents, neighbors, doctors, etc.
- Important documents such as birth certificates, insurance cards, immunization records, etc.
- Addresses and phone numbers of emergency rooms and walk-in clinics
- Passwords to parental controls on devices, if necessary
- Instructions on how to operate the home security system
Check the security system
Right before you leave, double-check your home security system to ensure that it is in perfect working order. If you have security cameras or nanny cams in the house, make sure that they are all operational. Don’t forget to check your remote access to the security system so that you can keep watch on the house from your phone while you’re gone.
You can entrust the grocery shopping to your kids’ caregiver, but it’s better to do this yourself to ensure that everything is in the right brand, quantity, and variant. It may also be a good idea to stock up on your kids’ favorites as a little treat to make them feel better about you leaving without them.
Don’t forget to stock up on necessities as well, such as diapers, toilet paper, kitchen towels, toothpaste, and everything else that’s running low in the house.
Don’t spend your entire vacation stressing out about having left your kids at home. With the right preparation, you can ensure that your kids have everything they need before you leave. Furthermore, it is unlikely that they will be upset for too long—kids can cheer themselves up quicker than you’d expect, especially if you leave them with someone whose company they enjoy.