Long gone is the ideal short commute to a 9-to-5 job. For many folks, the boundaries in which they search for work continue to stretch, including lots of drive time or out-of-town travel. For ?parents facing these types of work-related requirements, staying connected to the home front can be a challenge. If travel is a mandatory component of your career, read on for expert tips on how to remain ?involved at home while traveling ?far away.
Maintain? daily contact
The bond between parents and children must be continually nourished to remain strong, especially during periods of separation, says Elaine M. Hunter, author of Parenting Away From Home: 301 Preparations, Tips, and Reminders and traveling mother of two.
Neglecting to stay connected during times apart can create insecurity, resentfulness, anger and other feelings that can weaken the parent-child relationship. Use all means at your disposal to build your connection, including texting, calls, email or social networking. Reinforce your presence by returning missed calls promptly.
Keep studies ?a top priority
Just because youre on the road doesnt mean that you cant participate with schoolwork. Take advantage of technology and use email, fax machines or the phone to review homework or assist with studying.
For the youngest kids at home that dont yet have nightly assignments, consider making a recorded book with your voice so your little ones can hear you anytime. While listening to you, they wont even realize that theyre brushing up on their pre-reading skills.
Families with regularly traveling parents face unique challenges and must pull together to ensure that the children get what they need in terms of information.
Parents can make separating less challenging by helping their kids understand the reasons and importance of their travels, and by communicating frequently with them while away, Hunter says.
Kids certainly will develop a better understanding as they grow, but their growing may lead to more difficult communication, advises Hunter. She recommends scheduling times to talk and agreeing on the best means of contact. Creating understanding and a plan for communication will help families stay connected.
Invest in good webcam technology or video calling software in order to share important events from afar. Singing a lullaby or reading a bedtime story via your computer is the next best thing to being there.
Face-to-face contact allows families to interact with each other visually and communicate more effectively by observing each others verbal and non-verbal expressions, says Hunter. Seeing each others face is also comforting, and parents can confirm their kids well-being.
Give support ?from afar
Dont let your travels keep you from being your childrens biggest fan. If important activities are scheduled while youre gone, show your support by remembering them and calling ahead of time to boost your childs confidence. Knowing youre rooting for their sporting event, concert or speech even though youre far away bolsters their self-esteem.