January 20, 2009,
E.S. asks from Waterloo, WI on January 18, 2009
Taking a Vacation Without Our 2 Year Old
My husband and I are taking a trip to Mexico in April. We are not taking our 2 year old. We have never been away from our daughter for longer than overnight. She will be splitting the time between my MIL and my parents. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to make it easier for everyone involved? I am already stressed out about it.
M.P. answers from Minneapolis on January 19, 2009
Good for you - that sounds like a great time. It is very hard to be away from your kids, but it is a much needed break. Is it possible to them come to your house to watch her? I know that made it much easier for us. Also, get some calling cards and figure out how to use them before you go. That was one hard part for us - we couldn't figure out how to call home. Try to keep her on her routine as much as possible. The beginning and the end of our vacation was the hardest for us. The couple of days in the middle were so relaxing and we just enjoyed our time together. Have a good time - don't stress out too much. She will have a great time!
S.G. answers from Rapid City on January 19, 2009
I am sure she will be having a good time and all will turn out ok. She will miss you, probably mostly at bed time if she hasn't spent the night with them before. My granddaughter stayed with me for 3 weeks while my son and his wife were away with my daughter in laws sick father. There were times that she would really miss them and a phone call helped a lot, at least for her.
I also was a stay at home mom and my kids always seemed to do fine when we would leave them for a few days with grandparents. I remember telling my daughter at 3 "you are going to spend lots of nights at Grandma Eda's then we will be home" I called and checked on them and everything was going good... I was missing them more then they were missing me, I am sure. When we got home, 10 days later, I was so excited to see them again and my daughter seeing me started crying and said "You said I could spend LOTS Of nights with Grandma!" She was having so much fun at Grandma's that she wasn't ready for it to end!
M.C. answers from Minneapolis on January 18, 2009
We traveled with our 2 year old for the first time too and found to have lots of activities for the vacation, something they are attached to and maybe sleep with you. I found our trip was real hard because we had to wake them at 5am and they went to bed at 11pm. I'd advise against that. If you can stick to her normal schedule that'll be better. There may be time-zone differences but you can figure that in or just put that to the side.
T.F. answers from Minneapolis on January 19, 2009
My husband and I recently took a four day trip without our 18 month old. A few things helped. We did a practice overnight the weekend before and spent lots of time with her grandparents on weekends. My parents took pictures of me down, so that my daughter wouldn't see them and request me. We stocked their house with foods she likes. We packed all of her favorite stuffed animals and blankets. We sent text messages back and forth each day so that I could be reasurred that she was okay. My daughter did suprisingly well and I was able to enjoy myself.
P.L. answers from Minneapolis on January 19, 2009
Good for you for getting away with hubby!! That is something you need to do at least once a year.
As for your daughter, I would suggest making a tape of you reading her favorite bedtime story so that she can hear your voice every night as usual. When my little one was 4, we went to Japan for two weeks, and he stayed with my parents. My husband and I both made a tape with stories, songs, etc., that were a part of our daily routine. I also added our home address and telephone number as though I was teaching him these things. By the time we got home, he knew all of his personal ID information!! He continued to listen to that tape for years after that trip!
K.C. answers from Davenport on January 19, 2009
I realize that not everyone is comfortable in not speaking to their child when they call home, but for us, it has always worked well. As a child, as long as I knew where my parents were going and when they were coming back, I was fine. It was when they called home and talked to us that I 'remembered' how much I missed them and would be miserable the rest of the time until they came home. If I didn't speak to them, then I enjoyed my time with my grandparents as we always considered this time with them to be 'our' vacation from mom and dad!
When my (now x) hubby and I traveled, we would call home and check on the kids, but not talk to them. Only one time did I talk to the kids and my daughter, who upon hearing my voice remembered that I wasn't there, begged us to come home and cried the rest of the day and became difficult to handle for a couple of days. When I have been gone and not spoken to her, she has done wonderfully well.
Something that my parents did with us that I also do with my children (yours may be too young for this but you might find a way to age it down) is to show us on a globe where they are going, tell us where they are staying, their flight numbers, when they are leaving and when they are coming home and what they thought they might go to see. They would also check out a book from the library (pre-internet days lol) and we would pour over the book before and while they were gone, wondering what they were seeing in person and what they were bringing back for us as they always brought back something for each of us (they bought according to us individually, not group gifts or the same gift for everyone). My brother still has his wooden marionette puppet and I still have my soft wool blanket from way back when we were in elementary school!
If you feel you can't do without talking to your child, another suggestion is to find out where they have webcams set up in the area you are going to. I know of friends who find where these are and set up a specific time and day to go stand in front of the camera and wave to ppl back home. Some of them hold up messages while others call home and talk to ppl while in view of the camera. (I love to view the cams lol I call it a poor mans vacation!)
Whatever you do, be sure to relax and enjoy yourself and know that you've left your child in good hands.
K.C. answers from Des Moines on January 19, 2009
i have done this with my daughter and it helps everyone all around. Just let them know it is a guideline & not a strict schedule. I will list a day to night schedlue from waking uo routine , naps, snacks, lunch, palythings they like, foods they will & wont eat, bath, night time routine & bed. Make sure you take several toys , blankets & comfort things your child loves. also, if you give advice on what you do to calm your child when they are upset or having a temper tantrum. Also take any and all medicines with specific instructions if necessary, a thermomter, doctors information & a signed release for for both grndparents to seek medical attention in your absence along with medical card & blank check or cash for emergencies.
C.H. answers from Minneapolis on January 20, 2009
She'll do great...and so will everyone else. You're splitting up the time, so that is a good thing. We left my son for 10 days this past year when we went on a trip to Australia--the toughest part was leaving, but after that, sure i missed him, but it was nice to be alone with my husband! You can always suggest a few things to do or places to go while you're gone, like to a community center play area or the Children's museum, or to Chuck E Cheese's.
J.H. answers from Minneapolis on January 19, 2009
First you need to go and have fun!! She is in good hands. When we have gone on vacation without the kids - we pick a standard time to call each day and we only call once. The more you call the more you stay engaged in what is going on back home vs focusing on relaxing and being on vacation. Remember your parents raised you and they can figure it out so ENJOY yourself.
Just remember it is good for you and your husband to get away and it is good for your daughter as well.
Just relax and enjoy the sun.
M.C. answers from Des Moines on January 19, 2009
First of all, congratulations for having some "alone" time with your husband.
One thing we did when we took a "vacation" without the kids...was to make a "countdown" for them. Once, i had a sheet of paper divided into days and taped a Hershey's hug and a Hershey's kiss on each day. I told them they could have a hug and a kiss from us each day and when they ran out, we would be home.
You could also do something with stickers, a paper chain, etc. It is just nice for little ones to have some way to keep track of time.