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This one is about: When Mom or Dad Goes Away - Preparing the Troops for Your Return

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When Mom or Dad Goes Away: Preparing the Troops for Your Return

By Joanne Green

I have to leave my kids for conferences, etc, all the time - - since they were small. Here are some of my tricks:

1. Make a calendar that shows the day you leave and the day you will return. Put it up on the refrigerator with a magnet he can use to move from day to day while you are gone. Let him know that when the marker gets to the last day, you will come home.

2. Videotape yourself reading books to him. Read one book for every day you will be gone. Have the books available for him to read along - - make it interactive by telling him when to turn the page, etc.

3. Hide a special surprise - one for each day - in various places around the house. When you call him each day, you can tell him where he can find the next surprise (My kids actually look forward to me leaving now so they will get these surprises  :o/ )

4. Let him know you will call him every day. One time my kids cried when I called them, so the next day, I called them from my cell phone in a gift shop and let them help me decide what to buy for them. It worked wonderfully.

5. Make sure he has the phone number where he can reach you on a piece of paper that he can hold onto. He will not use that number, most likely (one year Jacob did, but they usually did not). But having the sense of being ABLE to reach you if he wanted to is very powerful.

6. Give him a job to do while you are gone. Not sure - use your imagination. My kids are older, but once I had them keep a journal of what they did every day that I was gone. (Really funny stuff when I got back, btw). Maybe he can color a page a day for you in a color book - - or draw you a picture of what he did that day so you know what went on while you were gone.

7. Let him help to plan your welcome home. Give your mom a long sheet of printer paper (or butcher paper) and have him color you a welcome home banner. (My husband  always takes responsibility for organizing this). On the day you are expected home, he can help to hang balloons, and get the banner up for you.

8. Have him fix you a snack for when you get home on the day you are coming back - - a plate of fresh fruit and crackers is fine, but knowing that this will be his "job" cements for him that you are going to come home (after all, you would not let a plate of food go to waste, would you? lol )

Anyway - - these are a few of the things that I have done. I think they have worked out well for the kids.

Joanne Green is director of Wide Smiles
She can be reached at

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