Founder Chat: You’re Considering Taking a Trip Without the Kids - Now What?

Hey there! Katy here, co-founder of SlumberPod! I have many wonderful memories of traveling with our kids — much due to SlumberPod — yet I’ve also found it important to get away with my husband without kids so we can stay connected. 

Leaving the kids behind wasn’t easy at first due to feeling a lack of control about schedules and general anxiety about being away. With time, I realized a solid communications plan and thorough conversations would ease the experience for everyone. In other words, it’s very possible to take the trip and everyone be able to enjoy the time! Here are my tips: 

Give Yourself a Pep Talk: 

Repeat after me: "Taking this time for ourselves is important for our well-being and our relationship. Our children are in capable and loving hands, and this experience will help them grow more independent and resilient. We deserve this break to recharge and reconnect, which will make us even better parents when we return. It's okay to feel a mix of emotions, but remember that our love and care are always with them, even when we're not physically present. This trip is a positive step for our entire family, and everything will be just fine."

Preparation is Key: 

We've put together a helpful list of things to do to prepare for the babysitter, grandparent, or friend caring for your kids while you’re away, whether it be for one night or 10 days:

Create a Comprehensive Care Document: 

Print it and walk your caregiver through the details in advance of your departure. 

  • Schedules:
    • Bedtimes and sleep routines
    • Planned activities/commitments with addresses and times
    • Typical meal times
  • Meal Planning:
    • Food preferences and allergies
    • Foods available at the house and kid-friendly nearby restaurants with a food budget
  • Activities:
    • Suggested activities as well as off-limits activities
  • Medical Information:
    • Insurance information
    • Allergies
    • Medications (name, dosage, etc.)
  • Safety:
    • Car seat and booster seat information if the caregiver will be driving
  • Home Logistics:
    • Location of the house key or door code and house alarm instructions if applicable
    • If the children are staying with a grandparent, send along a SlumberPod to make the child’s sleeping space as dark as the bedroom they’re used to at home – and any other “comforts of home” (e.g., favorite blanket, stuffy). 
  • Key Contacts:
    • Where you'll be staying while traveling, including addresses and phone numbers
    • Connect your caregiver with a neighbor or local friend for miscellaneous questions or emergencies
    • Phone numbers of friends for potential playdates
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Guidelines on screen time and what content is appropriate for your children

After building out this information, you’ll have a template you can easily update for future trips!

(Click HERE for an editable template to create your own list!)

Additional Tips and Tricks:

  • Talk to Your Kids: 
    • Discuss your upcoming travels and what they can expect. For younger children, consider reading books like I'll Always Come Back and See You Soon: A Book for Mothers and Toddlers Dealing with Separation Anxiety. 
    • The episode "Grown-ups Come Back" from Daniel Tiger can also be helpful.
    • Channel your inner Dr. Becky and have a mantra and a pep talk ready to share: 
      • Mantra: "Your mommy and daddy are going on a little adventure, but we'll be back very soon. You will have so much fun with [babysitter/grandparent], and we will think of you every day. Remember, we always come back, and we love you very much!"
      • Pep Talk: "We are going on a short trip, and while we're away, you get to have a special time with [babysitter/grandparent]. We know it might feel a little different, but you're going to have so much fun! We will miss you and think about you all the time. We love you so much, and we will always come back to you. You'll have great stories to tell us when we return, and we'll have some stories to share with you too. Everything will be okay, and before you know it, we'll be back together again!"
  • Special Items:
    • Ask your child if they’d like to send you on the trip with a special stuffed animal so you think of them daily while you’re away.
  • Stock Up:
    • Stock the fridge with easy-to-prepare foods you're confident the kids will eat.
  • Video Calls:
    • Be cautious with video calls, as they can sometimes lead to tears. Skip this unless your kids are older and you’re confident the contact will be positive.
  • Pet Care:
    • Consider the logistics of your caregiver also caring for pets versus boarding them. Discuss what your caregiver is comfortable with.
  • Show Appreciation:
    • Make sure your caregiver feels appreciated to increase the likelihood they’ll help you again in the future.
  • Final Days Before Traveling:
    • Remember that the days leading up to your trip (scrambling to prep and pack) and the first day or two can be the toughest, but it gets easier!
  • Embrace Imperfection:
    • Keep in mind not everything will go exactly as planned — that's parenthood, and that's okay!
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