ideas needed for "brigding the gap" of an upcoming week-long separation - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 04-01-2013, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?


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#2 of 3 Old 04-02-2013, 07:50 AM
 
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I haven't been there yet but wanted to send some support your way! I think you have some fantastic ideas already. My one additional thought is maybe search your community library for books on leaving/trips to read to your DS to help him understand. It wouldn't need to be super specific, just something about not seeing someone dear for a few days and then how happy everyone is when this person returns. I love the calendar/chart idea and I think he will get a lot out of that. At close to 3 I think he will understand more than you may think but may not be able to express it. My 2 year old DD understands "soon" although that's a completely different thing, 3 hours vs 7 days, I realize. I would start talking to him at good times of the day and count the days leading up to the trip just like counting the days once you're gone. That may help him understand, maybe using a calendar this time too. I would also compare this to any trips daddy may have taken: "remember when daddy had to leave for work and we didn't see him for three nights? Mommy has to go soon for a few nights too but mommy will come back fast too just like daddy did. Until then daddy and oma will take good care of you" or something like that. Maybe give him a special toy and say "every time you miss mommy, give the puppy/whatever a big hug and mommy will think of you and send you hugs" or something like that.. I wish I had more ideas/experience for you. Your DS may have a little bit of difficulty here or there but remember that he is also learning that when mommy makes a promise, she follows through and that it's ok to miss someone for a little while. Good luck to you. I'm expecting baby #2 in July and with my two year old, a week away sounds both tantalizing and a bit scary. You will all get through it fine :hug

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#3 of 3 Old 04-02-2013, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much!

 

I totally forgot about giving him something as a security object when he misses me. When he was having a hard time going to daycare for a couple weeks there, we gave him a shirt of mine, his "mama shirt" ~he still naps with it at daycare~ as well as pictures of me and DH. I will definitely leave him some pictures of me, maybe even make a little album, as well as some mama shirts to cuddle with. The book idea is great too. I'll see what's available or if I have time, make my own.

 

Any other ideas? I can't be the first parent to have a separation from a 3 year old.....
 


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