Working parents want and NEED to stay connected to the everyday happenings in their children’s lives–and that’s especially true when parents are traveling for business. Rather than bringing back trinkets or gifts from various countries–which kind of has the feel of trying to buy your child’s love and/or assuage your guilt–parents can DO something with their children instead!
Yes, there’s a little bit of pre-planning involved, but instead of a business trip taking time away from your child it can actually add to it!
For example, say you’re job has you taking a trip from the US to Australia. Try some (or all) of the following activities related to your trip with your kiddo.
● Post a world map up and put pins where ‘home’ is and where ‘work’ is taking you. Talk about Australia—share the name of its capital (Canberra); discuss the weather and language spoken.
—–° The fact that Australia is in the southern hemisphere means they experience the opposite seasons as people in the US, but like the US Australia is a large country with a variety of climates.
—–° The official language of Australia is English, though it has a much different accent from any of ours!
—–° Depending on the age of your kidlet, discuss the number of time zones between the two the US and Australia…ie, why it might not be as easy to contact you at all times.
●Select some Australian picture books to read to your kidlet via FaceTime and/or Skype. A fabulously fun book: The Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French would be a great way to introduce your kiddo to the different fauna of Australia.
●Moving to the flora side of Australia–Australia has a lot of gum trees–which is a type of eucalyptus tree–so sing: Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree together!
●Have your kiddo use the gumdrops referred to in the Kookaburra song and sort by color. After they’re sorted ask which color has
—–° the most
—–° the least, and
—–° if any colors have equal amounts.
●Add a multicultural aspect to it–Australia’s native population, the Aborigines incorporate a dot painting technique in many of their works. Insure the materials* are on hand at home for your kiddo to let their creativity take off following a reading of a book with illustrations highlighting dot painting such as Why I Love Australia by Bronwyn Bancrof. For more information on some of the symbols used in Aboriginal art here.
*We would use Q-tips in our dot painting at preschool most often, but another option if the paint supply is low, is to use round, colored stickers!
YES, your kidlet will miss you while you’re gone AND you’ll miss not being home, but by doing some of the activities like the ones above, you’ll feel you’re still an active, engaged parent…besides a busy, traveling parent!
A side note: As much as I dissuade and counsel against electronic devices for young children (See Tech-NO? Technology & Young Children) when it comes to parents being able to stay in touch via FaceTime or Skype, I embrace this technology wholeheartedly!
Yours in Play!