Work travel is becoming more commonplace as employers go global. Here’s how to make it work when you have a family.
Travelling to exciting destinations, staying in good hotels – everything you’ve dreamt about when you got your first job, right? But, fast forward about a decade and, well, every time you have to leave home, it’s like pulling teeth.
When you’re in your 20s, being on the road was simpler; trips were fun, fun, fun. However, as you got older it became more of a known upset. You miss your partner, the kids and the pets Business trips can present extra challenges to family life and when you have kids, traveling for work can feel like a downside.
Balancing work (especially if you travel a lot) with family presents unique parenting challenges. And, to make everything just a little harder, decades of research and hundreds of studies have proven that the more involved a dad is, the more successful his children will be. Recent studies show that a father’s influence can determine a child’s social life, grades and future achievements.
There’s no doubt that this lifestyle choice could impact on your kids, so you’ll need a parenting plan.
This is how you can make it work:
- Have daddy days. Do a few special one-on-one things with each of your kids before you leave. Build up a reservoir of time and go to the zoo, on a hike or have a picnic in the back yard.
- Wake up when they do. This is a tough one, but when you’re at home, wake up early and play with them for a couple of hours. They will love it! It’s like filling the bank account, the memories get withdrawn later.
- Make a colourful countdown calendar. Show your kids when you will be leaving and when you’ll be home.
- Decorate a special box together and have your child keep special items, such as drawing and photos) in it to share with you when you return.
- Don’t miss out. Have someone videotape a game or a performance that your travels may cause you to miss. When you get home, make a big event out of watching it together.
- Prevent tough goodbyes. To make parting easier, give your little one a hug and a kiss saying, “I love you, I can’t wait to see you when I get back, but I know you’re going to have fun.” Then leave.
- Use the technology to check in every day. Skype, Facetime, MMS, pics, text and so on. Maybe, create a blog just to upload videos for the home team.
- Leave daddy reminders. Put a photo in easy-to-find places like a toy box or a favourite shoe.
- Keep trips as short as possible. Squeeze in a late meeting and fly home instead of waiting another day, if possible.
- Bring them something. Just a small token to say that you’ve missed them. Get creative, maybe buy a magnet board and pick up a magnet every time you’re away.
So, dad, if you’re away from home more than you’d like to be, be intentional about making sure that you don’t lose sight of what’s important. And for now, keep on rocking at work and loving your kids with all you’ve got.
This post first appeared on Fedhealth.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.