my kids are 4 and 6 years old, we live in Jordan while my husband works in another , country, he comes for a visit every 2 or 3 months, I am starting to feel that it’s affecting our kids negatively, what can we do to make it easier on them and how badly this arrangement is affecting our kids?
Thank you for your question. I am sure it’s not easy for you to manage two young children on your own as well, so your efforts should be praised!
Separation of either parent on children is never easy. However, here are a few things you can do to make the transition a little bit easier:
– Always inform your children when their dad is leaving and coming back; for their age it’s best to do it just a few days before he travels to help them manage their expectations
– Always have your husband say good bye. Never let him sneak out. Make the good bye routine consistent, genuine and short. Have him say how much he will miss them, how much he loves them and that he will see them soon.
– Create an interactive calendar with the children to help them figure out how much time their dad will be away for. They can cross off days or pull off pieces of paper as each day goes by
– Stick to your daily routine day in and out- this should also remain the same when dad comes back home, even though it might be more challenging but consistency is key for children of this age; as it provides emotional security.
– When dad is home make sure that quality time is spent; this means that dad stays away from the TV and his phone during play time. I always recommend floor time imaginary play with children of this age. Involving dad in the routine when he’s home is also very beneficial- making dinner, bath time, bed time routine etc.
– Always stay in touch when dad’s away; now with so many uses of technology the kids can talk, FaceTime, send voice notes etc. It would be useful to set some time aside either daily or a few times a week for the children to check in with their dad.
– Dad can always come up with ways to stay connected; read them a bed time story on the phone or Skype, leave little notes for them throughout the house that they can find when he’s away or come up with a family game you can all participate in while he’s away- this maintains the emotional bond between the children and their father
– As with many other issues related to parenting; it’s so important for both of you to allow children to share their emotions regarding their father’s travel. Even if feelings related to: sadness, frustration and anger are voiced, allow for them to be revealed.
We hope you find these tips helpful!