A weekend away without the kids? Yes, please!
I strongly encourage one weekend away per year so you can remember what it was like to lay in bed, spend two hours at a restaurant, and not have to plan sex around bedtimes.
While I would probably plan your weekend away for you (I HEART planning!), this post is not a list of where to go or what to do. Rather...
Here are 7 tips for preparing your kid and his caregiver for your weekend away:
1) Don't lie. Don't say, "Mommy and Daddy* will be right back" when you won't be. Be honest: "Mommy and Daddy are going away for ___ days. We're really going to miss you!"
2) Practice going away. If you both work, your kid will be used to you going away. If not, you may need to practice. Ideally, have the caregiver who will be watching your kid come by while you run errands.
3) Repeat, "Mommy and Daddy always come back." Before you leave, prepare your child: walk him through the day so that he knows what to expect. If you think he's too young to understand, do it anyway so that YOU form the habit. It's truly a trust building exercise when you say "Mommy and Daddy always come back," and you do just that.
4) Write out a schedule. It's a comfort to human beings to know what's coming next. Your kid is no different, and probably more dependent on his schedule than you realize. As for the caregivers, even if they've spent a lot of time with your child, it's helpful to have it written down.
5) Leave a new book or toy each day. Lucky for us, we went away the week after Christmas. I went to Barnes and Noble, used the gift certificate from my mom, and bought four paperbacks. Then, I went to the Dollar Store and paid $4.57 for a new gift to unwrap each day. $5 spent and TWO surprises to open! My mom commented on what a difference it made to have two new activities every day. Plus, it lets your little one know that you're thinking of him, even when you're not there.
6) Plan fun activities to look forward to. My parents took lil' man to Home Depot, the library, and the Botanic Gardens (the only field trip that cost money). Junior and I leave the house every day to go to the Y or run errands, so he's used to being out and about. It's important to maintain your child's routine, because, again, knowing what to expect is comforting.
7) Fill fridge and cook dinners. Knowing that dinner is the most difficult meal to prepare with a little one around, I cooked and froze spaghetti, pastitsio, chicken picadillo, and chili. The fridge was stocked with breakfast and lunch fixings, so that my parents wouldn't have to go grocery shopping.
During this polar cold, warm up with thoughts of a weekend away, and start planning!
* Mommy and Daddy are synonymous with Mommy & Mommy and Daddy & Daddy. ;)
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