3 Year Old Misses Her Daddy While He Is Working Away from Home

Updated on November 10, 2008
K.G. asks from San Diego, CA
19 answers

Hi Mothers,
My 3 year old daughter loves her daddy to death and they are until recently unseperable. Four months ago, he took a job about 3 hours away. He had to relocate for his job and will hopefully be coming home in a month or two. Our daughter has a very ahrd time understanding why her daddy doesn't live with us and why she doesn't see him everyday anymore. I have tried to comfort and reassure her that her daddy loves her very much and that he is working very hard so we can be together again. His project should only last another month maybe two but that is a long time to a 3 year old. We drive out to see him when he has time off which isn't often. Is there anything else I can do or say to help her understand and know that he is coming home soon and he loves her very much? She wakes up in the middle of the night sometimes crying for her daddy and when she gets upset or introuble she asks for him. Our family has never been seperated for any length of time so this is new for all of us. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I second, Susan's suggestion!!!

It's how we keep in touch with Grandpa while he is away on business and that is actually in a whole other country. Since, my son has never known Daddy as a staple in his daily life, my own Dad has become the key male person in his life and they are like two peas in a pod!! So, I know what it's like to not be able to answer those questions and feel like you're doing something wrong.

We have 'video playdates' with Grandpa that we schedule throughout the day so, that my son can have his Grandpa time and he will get him things from where he's at and show him on-line...then, he'll tell him that he's sending him something and when the box arrives it's addressed to my son and from Grandpa!! It's awesome...

Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would invest in a Web-Cam, that way she can see Daddy and talk to him. Provided there are 2 computers available either lap tops or desk tops.

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answers from Reno on

First let me start by saying that I have never experienced this, but I can imagin just how difficult it can be. My Husband and I live very far from our parents and the rest of our extended Family and we use a computer camera to call eachother, this way Grandparents can see the kids and vise versa. Maybe you guys could work this out and then Daddy can do story time via video conference! ;) Seeing his face more frequently just may reassure her that Daddy will be there!
I hope your Family is under the same roof again very soon!
Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, K.,

Because my husband is a touring musician/roadie (moves from city to city almost every day), my husband and I have been geographically separated for approximately 2/3 of all five years of our relationship . I doubt that he will stop until he is over 60 as he thinks that all desk jobs are unpleasant. To help my kids cope with his absence, we talk over iChat on any days he can access iChat on his bus or in his hotel room.

I wish that I could offer more advice. You're fortunate that the end of the separation is near. I am struggling, depressed, and not attracted to my husband. I have read a LOT of relationship books and talked to my husband about marriage and am getting counseling. I have been contemplating divorce for a couple of years.

Good luck
Lynne E

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I understand your situation. My husband is in the military and he is about half way through a 12 months away.

-Have him video himself talking to the kids/reading books.
-Write letters back and forth.
-Send her art to him.
-Daily email is great!! Add photo attatchments when possible.
-Make a paper chain and cut one link every day.
-Make a photo album (for her) with pictures of him and of them together.
-Since you aren't too far apart phone calls can make a huge difference.
-Skype is a great free "phone" and video call program.

When she misses Daddy let her know that Daddy doesn't want to be so far away. Daddy is working hard to take care of her. He is earning money so that she can have a place to live, food, clothes etc. Daddy misses her.

What we've found very useful is finding some way for the kids to innitiate contact when ever they miss Daddy. So when I hear "I miss Daddy" they'll hear "Do you want to write Daddy an email or draw Daddy a picture?"

Good luck being patient.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Via computer, get a video "eyeball" camera... and you can then "meet" online and see each other and talk. (but your Hubby will need one too)
We use "Skype." It's free, and its a video thing where you can talk and see each other at the same time. It's great! *Oh and since you are "talking" online, it's free and you don't rack up long-distance phone bills either!

Here is the link:

Set up "dates" with Daddy and you/daughter for when you can have your meetings.
Also, Daddy can be sure to get her special little souvenir gifts for her... from the place he is at, so she has something to look forward to.

Also, maybe she can sleep with a favorite pillow or t-shirt of his?

It's natural for a 3 year old to "not" understand...just do your best, and it will pass. But, just make sure she is consoled and comforted. But it is hard.

Also, if possible, let your daughter call him at night to say "goodnight" to Daddy. Or, let her leave "voice-mails" on Daddy's phone.

Also, have your Hubby send your girl postcards... almost daily, so she has something to look forward to. And, she can send him pictures/drawings too.

But I think that regularly having online "meeting dates" with Daddy on the computer will be great. Lots of families do this when they live far away from each other.

All the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Luis Obispo on

I would suggest two things: Let her call and talk to him if possible. Maybe they can start writing each other letters. She will get to tell him how much she misses him and draw him pictures or whatever and he can write her to reassure her. Plus when you take her to the mailbox she will be so excited to get a letter from him.



answers from Los Angeles on

I would try to have a little letter/book/small gift or something "arrive" from daddy each day or as often as possible. (Even if you do this yourself), just put something in the mailbox/on the porch and then "discover" it together! Maybe starting with a special stuffed animal that she could then snuggle with at night when she misses daddy. I love what someone said about marking the days on the calendar! She may not completely understand that but it's something you could use as one tool to show her that we really are going to see daddy again soon! :-)



answers from San Diego on

My husband is in the military and we have two boys, ages 3-1/2 and 2-1/4. They are both crazy about him, but my older son seems to miss him the most when he is gone (that may be only because he is more verbal, but I'm not sure). One thing that really helps is that they talk on the phone - every day if possible. When my husband is home, we always do the bedtime routine together as a family, finishing with prayer and a song. So when my husband is away, if he is available, he prays and sings with us over the phone then they give "kisses" over the phone.

The last time my husband was gone, it was only for 2 weeks and I tried a new "experiment" with my 3 year old. I gave him a brief explanation of the calendar (not quite sure if a 3 year old can really understand it) and outlined each day that Daddy would be gone in alternating colors, telling him that each box represented one day. Then as each day went by, I marked a big X through it and we counted down the days until Daddy came home (the day of his return was an especially colorful box). He seemed to love this "game" and talked about it for quite a while even after Daddy came home.

Other than that, we just talk about Daddy all the time, and I tell them how much Daddy loves them and how he is working hard to take care of us. Everytime I praise them for something, I also tell them that Daddy is very proud of them, and that seems to make him more a part of every day (even when he is "home" he often works very long days). I tell them how our comfortable home, our cozy beds, our fun toys, yummy food, etc. all come from Daddy working so hard to take care of us. We also look at pictures of times when we have been all-together; anything I can think of to keep Daddy as a part of our day.

As a military family, the separation is fairly new to us, we only had our first separation beginning about a year ago (since the kids have come along). But my boys have dealt with it pretty well. Even though we don't get to see Daddy every day, he is very much a part of our days through our talking about him and talking on the phone whenever we can.

It is not an ideal situation, but I hope you get some helpful suggestions here and I hope it helps you get through this! I wish you and your family all the best!



answers from San Diego on

My friend has a daddy doll, that families of military men and women use. It's a full size picture of the parent, the picture is transferred to material add a backing of your choice (like camo) and stuff it. It's about a foot long. When daddy is gone your little girl can carry daddy along with her, or sleep with daddy until he gets back home.



answers from Los Angeles on

HI K.,

Yes, it's tough, isn't it? I have a threee-year-old and a husband who travels frequently for weeks at a time. The sugggestion from SH is what we use, too: a Skype connection and a camera at each end. My son loves his "computer phone" calls with daddy!

If your schedules are too different for this to work, have him record her favorite books, songs, etc so she can hear his voice. He could also call whenever he has a chance and leave her a message on your answering machine if she's sleeping when he's off.

Another thing that might help is to make a calendar and mark the day that you'll see him next and then count down to it by crossing off each day with her.

I know it can be hard; just keep reassuring her how much he loves you both and how much he misses you all.
good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

* Write him letters when she misses him, and let her address the envelope and put it in the mailbox. Have her decorate the envelope with stamps and stickers too.
* If she is in school, have her send him some of her crafts. My daughter loves to mail her grandma her crafts and "homework" papers from school.
* Have your husband read a few stories onto a cassette tape and she can listen to him read her a story every night! Or have him read a story into the camera (or video camera) and put it on the computer so she can see him too.
Hope the time goes by fast and your husband is home soon!



answers from Las Vegas on

Do you have a web cam? These can be a great way for her to be able to see her daddy everyday even though he can't be there. I bought everyone in my family one for Christmas last year as my brother recently relocated his family to England, my sister and I with our families live in Nevada, and grandma and grandpa live in Minnesota. We can still see all the little ones growing up and they can see their grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins...try it! The one we have only cost about $30 and the service (skype) is totally free as long as you have an internet connection.



answers from Los Angeles on


Sometimes pictures and little drawings from dad could help with this. I can't think of how much her little heart aches but I imagine hearing his voice should help.

Good luck and my heart goes out to you b/c I know if my husband wasn't home everyday our son would have a very big hard time with this.

If you are religious, may the Lord bless your family.




answers from Los Angeles on

Hello K.,

I am sort of in the same situation as you and your daughter. My husband has been working a lot of overtime. He leaves before we get up and comes home when we are in bed. He works in the AeroSpace business and can't say no to the overtime. I can tell the change in my son's attitude, by the way my son is 3yrs old as well.

So, we try to call Daddy during his lunch hour, which is is normally working through. If we don't reach him, Dean leaves a message. Dean also colors pictures, paints, makes little notes and we put it in Daddy's lunch bag the night before.

Maybe your Daughter could mail her Daddy some art work, I am sure she would love to do that and her Daddy would appreciate and love the stuff she sends.

Don't know if he has access to a computer, but do a webcam talk every other night or day if possible.

Don't know if the place where your husband is has anything fun for a 3yr old, but when you make the trip out to see him, maybe go a day early or stay a day later and do something fun with the kids and stay in a hotel so you could do dinner that night with her daddy.

I know it would be hard on you as well, but let one of the days that you go and visit him to be just a Daddy and Daughter day, or let him take her out for ice cream or something, just give them some alone time.

Oh yeah, make a calendar and let her (maybe when she gets upset) mark off the days till Daddy comes home.

If you have a Video Camera your daugther can record a message and mail to her Daddy and if your husband has access to a video camera he could do the same.

Just some ideas, well my son is yelling he wants to go outside so I better go.

Good Luck and how your husband comes home very soon,



answers from Los Angeles on

My husband commuted 3-3 1/2 hours each way every day. Ask your husband to try it for a week or for half of every week so that he can be homes more. 3 hours is not very long and you should(if not working) make an effort to drive to him more often for dinner or something.



answers from Los Angeles on

Record some DVD's or audio cassettes of him reading her fave story, singing songs, etc. that can be used when he is not available by phone or via computer. Watch home movies too.



answers from San Diego on

Hi K., I know just what your are going through, when my daughter was a toddle we re located to Sasebo Japan, the ship left for 3 nmonths, and it hit my daughter really hard, she was a bout 2 1/2 at the time, we woukd sit down to eat dinner and she would scream saying we can;t eat with out daddy, she had a thing about Richard Simmons swetin to the oldies, I would put that on the music seemed to heal her long enough to eat, but we went through the same thing night after night, my husband made a tape cassette tape, ( this was 17 yers ago ) for each one of the kids, and she would play that over and over, but it helped her to hear daddy's voice when ever she needed, sometimes to feel asllep listinng to it, he also wrote letters to the kids almost everyday, and I helped them write letters to him as well, another thing when did care packages and I let my daughter and her 2 brothers make cookies, and treats for daddy, drae him pictures, the key thing is to try and keep things as normal as possible, but keep her busy, let her help you write letters to daddy, let her color him pictures, make all these things exciting, that's was help my daughter when she was little, today she is 19 and her and her dad are very very tight, she says she wants to marry someone just like him. J. L.

PS congradulations on your new baby coming up.



answers from Los Angeles on

Sometime our husband have to travel distances for work to do what is best for our families, mine goes to NY for 2 months every year. Our 4 year old girl misses him very much and so do I. What helps is video conferencing, do you have a camera on your computer?? We use AIM chat. We love it. Good luck

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