I will be going on a trip for a full week next month, leaving my almost 3 year old with his Papa and grandma. It was a tough decision, but after much thought, feeling and discussion with my husband and good friends who know us all well, we decided that DS will be okay. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I have already booked everything. I am not asking about if I should do this (so if you think it's a bad idea please no need to share, this is a made decision I need support with), but about ideas for helping get my boy through that week without me; "bridging the gap" of my absence. He's very close with his Papa and Oma and I have no doubt he's in great hands and I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't all that hard for him. He'll also be sticking to his regular schedule of preschool. But of course I'm worried he's going to get really upset missing me as the days go on.
We'll be using skype but due to time differences and our conflicting schedules, not every day.
In addition to having Papa and Oma keep him as busy as possible, here are the ideas I have so far:
~ To make a chart on a colorful poster with a square for each day, and on the day I return a picture of me and him together. At the end of each day before bed he crosses off one more day and can see how many more days til Mama comes back.
~ Wrapping a tiny gift for him to open for each day I'm gone.
~ Recording some videos of me reading stories (I will not be able to skype around his bedtime), and perhaps some video messages for him as well.
Has anyone else spent several days away from your toddler and / or have other ideas to bridge the gap?
Also: when should I tell him about this? I thought maybe about a week before I go. Any tips on how I present this information to him in a way he might understand? I think toddlers' sense of time is very different and I don't know how well he'll understand that I'll be gone seven days and nights. Any ideas how to better help him understand in advance, or is that even helpful at all?