So here is our list of what seems to work best with our our family, pick and choose what you would like. Hope this helps!
- A couple weeks prior to leaving, we begin talking with the kids about where are going and who will be watching them (fortunately it is always Grand Mom). We are strong believers of communication and talking about our feelings, our fears, and expectations. It seems to help put the kid's minds at ease, giving them the opportunity to ask and get an answer about any questions they might have before we leave.
- The day of (or before) we are to leave, try to spend good quality time with the kids. Ask them what special things they want to do that day and prepare a fun dinner the night.
- For my sanity and peace of mind, I leave a general day-by-day schedule for my mom (the caregiver) with the kid's activities, routine, and any important notations. This is a great place to explain a special night-time routine as well. We all know....kids thrive on and love their routine and structure.
- We leave our Itinerary, complete with hotel & flight information and maybe even country codes for phone calls.
- The obvious....making sure the pantry and fridge are stocked with food. Perhaps make a couple casseroles and put in the freezer. Leave cash for groceries and incidentals.
- Leave a copy of the will and the kid's files with social security cards, birth certificates, etc....You never know!?
- We also leave a notarized (most banks will notarize for free) Medical Release Letter (along with our insurance card) to give the caregiver the authority to make any medical decisions while we are away. We also include our emergency contact info., Doctor, and Dentist's phone numbers. I also like to leave a good friend's number as well (just in case).
- Since the kids are a little older and understand what is going on, this year I am leaving a surprise gift to be given mid-week, while we're away. Just when the novelty of having Grand Mom here wears off, I hope this gift will lift their spirits and distract the sad feelings. (The Elf on the Shelf returned for a quick appearance and left a special gift for each child).
- And of course, we talk up the souvenirs we will bringing back to the kids. When we call home to check in (even if we're out of the country) we like to re-iterate the "cool presents" we have picked up in our travels. And keep the calls short and sweet! (If you have access to Skype or Facetime, this might be a great tool to use as well).
What do you think of our list? What tips would you add?