When I was little, my dad had to travel often for work. I can remember standing at our glass door watching him leave the driveway. I don’t know if it affected my sleep (I’ve left a message to ask my mom), but I do remember that he always gave me his t-shirt before he left. I got to hold onto it until he returned, and if I missed him I got to wear it.
These days it seems like there is so much more travel for work. So how can you protect your kids sleep while your partner is away?
It might be tempting to let your child stay up later or sleep in your bed with you while Mommy or Daddy is away. Stay on track with your bedtime routine and schedule; staying up late can lead to an overtired child and he might be a little more sensitive. Keep things as close to normal as you can while you are solo parenting.
Leave them something of yours:
I didn’t need to wear my dad’s t-shirt, but I knew it was there and I loved knowing that I had to take care of it until he returned. You can leave anything, a t-shirt, a photo or let them drink from your favourite cup.
My son bought my husband a teddy bear for his birthday. When he travels, my little guy gets to take care of the bear.
Record a message:
All kids are different, we know this. For some kids, seeing you on a video chat can be confusing and could upset them more. If that is the case, record a voice message that your partner can play when they wake up or before bed.
We spent a week with my sister last summer, and every night she sang two songs to the kids before bed. When we arrived home, my son said he missed those songs – so she recorded them and sent them to me. It made their night when I played it before bed.
Write a story:
If you or your partner are creative, write a short story that can be read during the bedtime routine. A fun story about travel or something that you like to do together etc.
If your little one is okay with it, plan a time to video chat while your partner is away. Keep it a surprise from your child – in case you have to skip it for any reason.
When your partner returns home, plan on them doing bedtime for a few nights. You can take a break if you want to and it lets your child and partner reconnect.
You’ve got this!