Saturday, 9 April 2016

Countdown Calendar - An activity to help kids cope when parents travel


Steve travels a lot for his work. At least a week away every month. You would think Harvey would be used to it by now, but I guess he is just a sensitive kid. Ever since Harvey was young, he didn't like either of us leaving. Be it for work or dropping him off at Nursery. The thing we found that helped was doing little activities like waving goodbye at the window. Or through the letterbox slot through the door.

Now Harvey is almost 5 and will be starting school in September (if we get into a school) I am apprehensive how he is going to settle in! He never really liked the being dropped off at nursery, and he only stayed from 8 till 1 for three days a week and still he hasn't accepted it. So how is he going to deal with being at school from 9-3 for five days a week!!!?!?!? But I digress. This is a subject for a whole other post!

Right now Steve is away for ten days and Harvey has been more upset than usual. At bedtime he was crying and calling out for Daddy, in his sad little voice. When I went to comfort him, he said he couldn't stop the way he was feeling. :( I couldn't have felt more helpless!

The next day I suggested we make a Calendar so Harvey could see each day go by, bringing him closer to seeing his Dad. First we needed a theme. I suggested a rocket countdown or something to do with a plane and clouds with numbers. But Harvey came up with the idea of our "America House" and Daddy in the UK and a path in between. Perfect. (Kids have the best ideas :D).

Harvey drew the pictures, and I added the 10-day pathway. And as each day passes he would cross off a day.

Our America house and the big office block Daddy works in look very similar here 

So far as soon as Harvey would wake up he would go and cross off a day (to Harve as soon as you wake up that day is over!) and he would come and tell me how many days were left before he would see Daddy. On the first day he was very sad and complained it was too long. But now we are over halfway he comes to me very excited. So I guess it is working!

Steve's traveling doesn't seem to affect Seb, but maybe it is because he is more attached to Harvey and maybe he is just more of a mummy's boy? Or we have this all to come later!

Do you or your partner travel a lot? What do you do to help your little ones deal with separation anxiety? Would love to hear your tips and advice!



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