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Does anyone travel for work with a toddler?

(12 Posts)
TheBeanpole Fri 13-Nov-15 10:36:55

Hello

DC is almost 2. My work takes me away every couple of months for a week or so at a time. I've had several trips this year which have been ok for her (harder for DP) but as she's geting bigger she's becoming more aware of the passing of time and gets the concept of 'missing' now.

If you travel away for work with young toddlers what makes it easier for them? We've been avoiding FaceTime etc as we thought it might upset her more, and the time zones I travel to don't always facilitate an early evening call. I'm also often in places without a reliable internet connection for some of the time.

She's very well settled in nursery and DP does a lot of the morning/evening anyway as I work longer days, but she is still breastfed which I think makes it harder.

I've heard of people doing countdowns etc, looking on the map, but she might be a bit young? Any tips welcome.

boopdoop Fri 13-Nov-15 14:31:15

Not really any suggestions myself but interested to see what people suggest. My DS is 20 months and my DH works away a lot, he's away more than 50% of the time, and it's totally random so he'll be home for a few days, away a week of two, back a day, away again, then back for a while etc.

In the last few weeks DS has just started to know when DH is away, get upset etc.

I had thought countdown of how many sleeps till he's home, map showing where in the world he is (often abroad), but I think he's not quite old enough for that yet. One idea someone suggested was a video of him reading stories in the iPad, so might try that.

I don't know how to help him and it's hard when he's so sad that dadda is not here. He has a photo of him that he kisses, waves at and says "bye bye dadda". Cute but really sad.

So really interested to hear any ideas or wisdom.

DorothyDove Fri 13-Nov-15 22:58:45

DH and I both travel for work, although he tends to go further and more frequently than me. DS is two and is pretty ok with it, he'll says 'Daddy in China' etc but doesn't really understand the concept!! We do tend to Skype/FaceTime when we're away as he's grown up with grandparents overseas and understands how it works, but we don't do it just before bed or any other time when we wont have time to settle him. Lots of cuddles, special treats or trips out with the parent at home and a bit of understanding about him being unsettled when we get back has helped us (I made DH park outside the house and wait in the car after his last trip because he was due back 10 mins before we left for nursery and I knew it would be too hard for DS to see him briefly then go away again).

I think they're more adaptable than we think. It also helps that DH and I both do all of the childcare jobs at any given time so it's not totally unusual for mummy to put him to bed or for daddy to do dinner etc.

TheBeanpole Fri 13-Nov-15 22:59:05

Think it's definitely harder for the parent at home, boop. You have to deal with the fallout...

strawberrybubblegum Sat 14-Nov-15 22:52:50

From about 2.5, even fairly short trips away with one parent (3-4 days) became difficult for DD. What really helped was skyping - I thought it would make it harder, but actually it was really good.

I think she didn't really understand why she couldn't see DH, and was worried that he'd gone for good! Seeing him, and having him chat with her normally, seemed to reassure her.

Kennington Sat 14-Nov-15 23:05:56

FaceTime is good
A map and explaining where you are and where you are going.
A grandparent or a play date on one of the days as a distraction.
I bring back a very small trinket or treat too.

winchester1 Sat 14-Nov-15 23:09:47

We just explain and break it into small amounts of time. So mums at work now but you'll see he at breakfast or dads at work, lets have lunch and then you can talk on the phone before bed time
We've always done this though so its bot a new though which I guess helps.

winchester1 Sat 14-Nov-15 23:11:34

We never bring back presents as we dint want that to be a thing. We go to work sometimes that's over night. That's just hoe it is.

MrsLittner Sat 14-Nov-15 23:30:22

DP and I both work away regularly and have done since DC was a baby.

We've always talked about where we are going, what will happen (e.g. Daddy/Mummy will pick you up tonight) and how many sleeps it will be.

FaceTime etc. can be great but try not to be disappointed when you don't get much interaction. It's not personal, sometimes DC is tired or distracted with other things. We learned early on not to promise anything as often work means that you can't call/Skype at the promised time. We text, leave messages and phone when we can. I often catch DC in the car on the way to school,

Postcards, messages left under the pillow, little notes all work.

DP and I both agreed that we wouldn't bring gifts back when we were away. Occasionally we spot something special to bring back but we didn't want to start a habit/expectation that we always came home with a present.

Marmelised Sat 14-Nov-15 23:38:13

We both travelled when the children were small. We had a map of the world, one of Europe and one of the UK so whoever was home could point out where the other was. We didn't bring presents back unless we went somewhere new. Then it would be a tiny souvenir or some local sweets.
If away for some time I did leave notes, one to be delivered each day - this was well before family email let alone face time or Skype.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Sat 14-Nov-15 23:45:08

Sorry, no help at all as I packed it in! I was as miserable as the children!

TheBeanpole Sun 15-Nov-15 08:51:51

Thank you- lots of good tips here. We've been avoiding Skype but are going to try this time. An actually about to take off on a plane now so can't write more but will properly digest later!
Trying not to get in the presents habit as well especially as I am often places where shopping is a bit rubbish and not sure toddlers appreciate a load of dates from a ME layover....

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