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A weekend away…

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map and keysI was away this weekend, leaving my husband and the troops at home…

It can be difficult for any child when one or both of their parents is away but, for children who have had significant separations and loss in their life, even a short and well planned absence of a parent can be stressful. Some of the things that can help are:

Before you go

  • time when you introduce the idea carefully – if you do it too early they might get more stressed in the build up to the trip, and this could affect behaviour. But if you wait too long, it may come as too much of a surprise
  • talk about where you’ll be and how you’re travelling – this helps build up a picture of where you’ll be. Show them on the map or show a photo if it’s somewhere they’ve never been
  • talk about what you’ll be doing, who you’ll be with – again this helps give them a picture of what you’ll be doing when you’re not with them
  • talk about what you’ll do when you get back, plans for the week etc – this helps reassure any anxieties that you might not come back!

I sometimes leave post it notes or a note with my phone number on it – this gives something physical to hold to reinforce the message, they can take it to school etc and also gives a bit of security that they can phone you if they need to.

While you’re away

  • make sure you ‘check in’ when you can throughout the trip – chat on the phone, text or email
  • let them know when you’re likely to phone and try where possible to stick to the schedule.

When you get back

  • don’t be surprised it you’re given the cold shoulder, or if after the initial welcome home, a bit of rejection or button pushing sets in
  • they might be a bit clingy and not let you out of their sight, just keep things as normal as possible and reassure them by talking about what’s happening for the rest of the week…

Visual cues with weekly planners, calendars, diaries all help and physical things like notes, photos, comfort blankets or a tissue with your perfume (or after shave) on it all give reassurance on more than just a talking or language level.

How does your child cope if you’ve been away? Add your comments below on what’s worked for you.

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Written by adoptresources

January 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm