It's only normal for traveling parents to worry about leaving their kids. Nightmare visions of a young Macaulay Culkin as frantic Kevin McCallister in the movie "Home Alone" come to mind. But Kevin was left home by mistake. Parents who have the chance to plan should be able to keep their kids as safe as they'd be at home.
Parents worry that their kids will get upset at the thought of being left alone. If a little one has separation anxiety, it might be better to wait until that phase is over before you travel. Choosing a sitter the child knows well and having the child stay at home might solve the problem. In the meantime, make sure the kids know your plans, especially when you'll return. Arrange daily phone conversations with them while you're gone. Be prepared for children to feel resentful when you return. In fact, they may misbehave until they settle back into the normal routine.
Choosing the right caregiver arrangement is essential. If you've chosen someone you can trust and given that person all the necessary information and resources, things should be fine. A fire, medical emergency or other disaster can happen no matter who's in charge -- including the parents. The best protection is preparation.
In fact, once they've prepared the kids for their departure, traveling parents need to focus on themselves. It's not just the stay-at-homes who might run into danger. Disasters can happen to the traveling parents as well.
Just in case, parents should prepare for the worst. They should talk with a lawyer and have wills in place that name a willing personal guardian for their children. It's also a good idea to name an alternate, just in case. The guardian should be chosen with careful thought about his or her ability to raise your children as you would want.
Parents may name another person as financial guardian. In any case, parents should make sure that they will leave adequate life insurance or other resources to provide for their children.
Lastly, parents also should arrange for situations in which they might return from a trip later than expected. If the caregiver wouldn't be able to continue for an extended time, the parents should have someone else reliable ready to step in. If they've decided to leave teenagers alone for a few days, they should have some other arrangement in place in case of a delayed return.
Traveling without the kids requires some thought and preparation, but it can be done. Bon voyage!
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