Our guy travels a fair amount for his job (though far, far less than pre-COVID at the moment, and we have adored the extra time together). After years of travels and many short times apart, these are three simple things that have made all the difference for our children.
It can’t be a map. It has to be a globe. The girls love seeing exactly “how far apart we are from daddy right now.” In addition, at least if your kids are old enough to understand it, the globe needs to be an accurate one with a fair amount of detail. We used to have a “pretty” globe, but when it needed replaced, I went with this one from Amazon. It is lightweight, seems durable enough for three sets of tiny hands, and the girls use it a lot.
An App for Seeing Their Parent
Technology can be infuriating at times, but in this case, I think it is our best friend, and yours, too. Kids, no matter their age, want to see their dad (or mom), not just hear their voice. Hear me out, if phone calls are working best for you, stick with those. If not, consider downloading a new option to try. The app you choose depends on what will work for you and your spouse, not to mention what time zone they are in. Currently, we would likely just use FaceTime via our phones. If your time zones and your kids’ naps or school hours don’t allow for you to all communicate in-person at the same time, consider an app like Marco Polo. It allows you (or your kids) to send videos much longer than most apps. In addition, you can rewatch old videos, which is great if you want multiple kids to be able to watch them at different times.
The old school kind. Printed. Ones that they can touch, see before bed, smile at. I’ll admit I am not the best at this one, which is honestly a bit ridiculous considering all the easy print options available these days. (And, now I am penciling this into my to-do list. Ugh. See, I am literally like you ladies. Learning and doing as we go). We have a “photo book” with a few photos of their dad when we were much younger. They flip through it often. They also just have a few random photos that they hang on to, at bedtime especially. A number of these are ones they took of each other and their dad with their polaroid cameras. (Maybe add that to your gift list for the future – polaroid cameras are legit!)
If your spouse travels for work, you are definitely not alone in that, though I am sure you feel alone quite often (or maybe not… little people tend to not leave you alone.) Even though I can’t help with the bedtime routines, I do hope you are encouraged to continue seeking out ways to help your little people as they navigate their big feelings when mom or dad is not around.