3 Tips to Help Your Child With Additional Needs Cope While You Travel for Work
The last five years, I have done quite a bit of traveling for work requiring me to be away from my family for various periods of time. Traveling is something I immensely enjoy and one of the reasons I accepted my last two professional positions. It can get hard and exhausting, but I appreciate the opportunity to get to see new parts of the world, meet new people and represent the companies I work for in positive ways. It doesn’t hurt if I get to hit a couple of great restaurants or shops along the way or travel with fun colleagues!
I know I could not do this without the help of my spouse and immediate family as caring for my boys who have additional needs while I am away can be a challenge.
Here are three tips for traveling for work when you are leaving a child with additional needs (or any child for that matter) at home.
1. Prepare as much as possible before you depart.
This seems like a no-brainer, but there are a lot of things we can forget. For example, I try to make sure all the laundry is done, food is in the house for quick meals, transportation plans are made and back-up care providers are secured. I also note any changes to our regular routine with my spouse and make sure the boys understand how many days I will be gone, where I am going and how and when they can get a hold of me.
2. Once you are gone, you are gone.
I learned this one the hard way. I used to call and check in as many times as possible. This only resulted in disrupting routines, tears, and frustration among all involved. Now, I try to check in once per day and in the morning before the kids head out for the day. Everyone is generally in a good mood, nothing terrible has happened yet and they are excited to start the day.
Evenings proved to be bad for my family because the crabby factor was in full force coupled with exhaustion and the overall “I miss Mom” mentality. This did not help my spouse with trying to complete the bedtime routine and left me sad and angry I was not there.
3. Take the time to enjoy yourself and do good work.
Being selected to travel for business can be a privilege and a great way to display your strengths and dedication as an employee. Do your best work! Be the one they want to go to because you are the natural choice to represent the company.
You can also have fun. I see business trips as the perfect time to get to know colleagues in a way that sometimes does not present itself within the confinements of cubicles. Go get a great dinner together, explore something fun about the city or just take the time to learn about your colleague on a more personal basis sitting in the hotel lobby over a glass of wine.
What are your tips for successful business travel when you are leaving little ones behind? Is it something you enjoy or dread? I think, in the end, it makes us all better people and more equipped to be better parents. As we all know, there is nothing better than the big hugs and kisses you receive when you return. Oh, and don’t forget the shouts of, “What did you bring me?”
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