Couple time is essential for a healthy relationship so get your babysitting plans in order and start planning a child-free trip – minus the guilt.
WORDS SAMANTHA TAN
Taking a trip with just your partner is something you shouldn’t have to give up just because you have become parents. If you have been putting off that romantic getaway for ages because you feel guilty or worried about leaving the kiddos behind, shake it off and start planning for your trip right now because you definitely deserve it.
Choose a Capable Sitter
Perhaps the most important thing on the list is to make sure that you have chosen a capable sitter that you can trust while you are away. Usually, grandparents or relatives are the first on the call sheet for vacation babysitting as they are trusted family members. However, if you are relying on a non-family member or friend, perhaps a dry run or a sleepover before the actual trip would be a good way to gauge if the situation will work out.
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This will help you feel like you are in control even while you are away. Make the list of every doctor you have and all the emergency numbers so that it is readily available if it is needed. You can also make sure that all their normal medications and emergency medications are well-stocked and on hand. Other than that, give grandma and grandpa a list of your child’s favourite activities or places to go.
You can also keep ahead with their daily meals if you want
to and stock the pantry with their favourite foods or prepare
their meals ahead of time and freeze them in batches in the fridge.
Keep in Touch
Keeping in contact is important but do keep in mind that you should only allow yourself only a certain amount of phone calls each day during your vacation. If you decide on two calls per day, keep it at two. After all, you have chosen a capable sitter and they will know to call if there is an emergency. It can be tough, but while you’re away…be away. If you are constantly worrying, the vacation can backfire and make you even more stressed. It really depends on each individual child but while calling every night might make you feel better, for your children, it may be a reminder that you aren’t next to them – and that can sometimes be harder than if you hadn’t called at all.
Work on a Countdown Chart Together
Before you leave, a fun activity to do with your children is to create a countdown chart together so that they can cross off each day that you are away. This will give them something to look forward to. You can explain to them that once they cross off the last day, you will be back. Leave the chart on the fridge or hang it up somewhere.
Sweeten the Deal
Incentives – or bribes – if you want to call it that, are a great way to encourage your children. As most kids will quickly realise, mum and dad will usually come back with gifts after being away on a trip. This simple fact could easily be the reason they don’t mind that you are going out of town. The gift doesn’t have to be a super expensive one. If you are feeling particularly generous though, you can also get them toys. Just be sure to clarify with them that this is a special treat and that they will only get it if they are well-behaved.
Prepare for Fun!
This is no time for surprises. The earlier and more often you broach the subject, the more time everyone will have to get used to the idea. It is crucial to stress that you are not “leaving them,” but that they are “having a new adventure.” Impress on the positives of their activity and how much fun they’re going to have by framing up this vacation time like it’s the best thing ever. Talk about the fun things they can do with their grandparents or caregiver while you are away.
Gradually build up the excitement so that when it’s
go time, your children will be so excited that your
leaving won’t be such a huge blow.
Keep it Short
If this is the first time you are going away on a parents-only holiday and you have never left your little one with anyone, start with a weekend away and then slowly increase the length of your holidays. These incremental steps will help to build a foundation of trust that will increase your – and your child’s – confidence and comfortability in you being away from home. An overnight with a grandparent or family friend is a great place to start testing the waters.
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