Like many parents, the anticipation of a week away from the kids can cause both excitement and a whole lot of anxiety. After all, as moms we go through every possible scenario that could potentially gone wrong. Despite the fears that may creep in, do it. Go.
My husband and I go on an annual mission trip to Haiti together. 2016 was our first trip and also the first time we had ever left all of the kids for more than a night or two. It was the first time either one of us had traveled internationally since having kids (ages 8, 6 and 4 at the time). Chances are if you are heading to a third world country, or going on a cruise, or hiking Mount Everest, you may not have very good cell reception, if any at all, only heightening the anxiety about leaving.
And Mom and Dad won’t be the only ones having some anxiety. Our kids will experience some as well. Here is a checklist for both mom and dad and the kids to help count down the days until everyone is united again!
Mom & Dad’s Checklist
Let’s get the important stuff out of the way. Make a folder for the kids’ sitter that includes the following:
- Updated and notarized will
- Medical / dental / prescription insurance cards
- School contact information, teacher’s names, class schedules
- Carpool routine information (what time to leave the house, where to pick up your child)
- Carpool tag
- Doctor contact information: address, phone number, helpful tips to navigating appointments
- Nearest hospital, police station, fire department
- A paper that states who the guardian is for the week signed by both mom and dad to be used for school and emergency purposes
- Copies of birth certificates, passports and social security cards for both parents and for the kids
- Your trip itinerary: flight information, address and phone number of where you are staying, day to day travel schedule, additional contact information
- Phone numbers of friends or neighbors in case of emergency or assistance
- Cash for groceries, planned activities, school lunches, emergencies
- Kids’ schedule for the week including club meetings, practices, games, etc.
- WiFi password
For the Kids
Here are some things you can do to help the time away from Mom and Dad pass more quickly for the kids:
- Make a paper chain (one link for every day you are gone). The kids remove one link every day that you are gone.
- Draw out a calendar for the week on a poster board. Write down what you will be doing in one color and what the kids will be doing in another color.
- Plan activities for the kids and write them on the calendar so they have things to look forward to. Don’t overload the schedule too much, but every few days have the sitter plan a trip to get ice cream, jump at a trampoline park, go to the movies or out to dinner.
- Give each of the kids journals for them to write notes to you throughout the week.
- Write notes for each day that you will be gone for the sitter to give to them each morning. Try to include what you will be doing for the day in the note.
- We always pray with our kids at bedtime. Write out a nightly prayer for them to read aloud before they go to bed.
- Call when you have down time and service!
- Let your kids’ teachers know that you will be out so they are prepared for any new emotions, delayed homework, distracted kids, etc.
- Make sure your sitter is the emergency contact for school.
- Pay all bills and make sure they clear your bank before you leave.
- Introduce your sitter to your neighbors and have them swap phone numbers.
- Purchase enough dog / cat / goat / chicken food for the week (I have a small farm, y’all).
- Plan meals for the sitter (or meal suggestions) with as much meal prep as you can do before hand.
- Set out clothes for school for each day you will be gone.
- Call your bank to let the know you will be traveling and using your debit card along the way.
- Add an international phone plan if necessary.
And then you need to pack your bags. I know, I know. It’s overwhelming! It may be easier just to take the kids with you! But in the end, you will have some much needed time away to relax, clear your mind, rekindle that romance with your hubby, and have some fun without the added responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, laundry, and being at the beck and call of the littles who want your undivided attention. So, open up that calendar and start planning for your time away! Who is ready???