Coping with Leaving Your Kids Overnight

A couple weeks ago, I went on a mini weekend vacation with my husband. It was childless, and it was wonderful. It is so nice Reconnecting With Your Spouse! It isn’t easy to just pack up and leave the kids, and there is always a bit of anxiety before leaving them. Who do I trust to watch them overnight? Are they going to be okay watching them? Will our sitters follow our routine? What if my kid’s aren’t okay?

No one is better suited to parent then you are, but that doesn’t mean that others won’t do a good job too. Sometimes it’s good to expose your children to new people. So, how do you learn to trust a sitter and cope with leaving your children?

Trusting a Sitter

One of the biggest parts of being able to leave your child overnight is finding a sitter that you trust. It’s best to pick someone who has done babysitting for you in the past and knows your kids. It makes it a little easier leaving when you know your kids are comfortable with the sitters and your sitters are well acquainted with your kids. Jarrett and I use grandparents, but the important part is to just go with someone who knows your kids.

It might also help to find two people. We always have two people watch our kids, because there are three of them under three. They can be a handful.Even if you only have one child, it is nice to know that there are two people who can switch on and off and have someone watching the kids at all times.

Before You Leave

It can be really hard leaving your children overnight, as there are lots of things that you want babysitters to remember. Something that I found really useful was writing a Survival Guide for my sitters. That way, I know if they have any questions, it is outlined in my paper. They may use it, they may not, but they have it if they need it. Things you can cover are:

  • Basic schedule with times to follow. If you are a stickler for times, then mention that. If you are flexible with times, and that this is a general guideline, you can mention that too. But this way, the sitters have a general idea of how your day works. Here is an example.
    • 12-2pm – Nap
    • 3-5 – playtime. This is a great time to get out and play outside if you want
    • 5pm  – Eat Dinner
    • 6:45 – Bathtime
    • 7 – Bedtime
  • Mealtimes
    • any allergies
    • foods kids like
    • tips for getting them to eat
  • Bathtime Routine
    • outline any special games or ways you do bathtime
  • Bedtime Routine
    • Everyone has different bedtimes, you can let your sitter know what to do to get your child to sleep, and how to cope if they are upset.
  • Toys/Activities
    • If you really want, you can mention any favorite games, toys, books that your children enjoy.
  • Health Care Stuff
    • Make sure sitters know where all your medication is in case of allergies or they need pain medication for some reason.
  • Contact Information
    • Leave some emergency contact information and health care numbers just in case they need to contact you. You can also leave information on where you’re staying.

When You’re Gone

Alright. You have a sitter you trust. You’ve told your sitter all you can about life in your household. Now it’s time to leave. You are always going to miss your children when you’re gone, but there are some things that you can do to reduce worrying and looking at your phone every minute.

Do Things That Are Going To Engage You

Try to pick things that you really enjoy doing. My husband and I love going to the mountains and doing hikes and other outdoor activities. When we are engaged in these activities, we are focused on enjoying ourselves and we tend to think of the children a little less. This may work, or it may not, but at least you are doing something you enjoy, nonetheless!

Set Specific Times for Talking

Set up chat times with your kids, so you know when you are going to talk to them. That way you have something to look forward to, instead of constantly thinking if you should call them. You can also give one person the job of holding the phones. If you know you are going to constantly check your phone, give it to your partner. That way, they are in charge of checking it and you don’t have to obsess over if you should call or not.

Things To Remember

The important thing to remember when you are going away is that this is time for you and your spouse. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Take that time to remember the two of you as a couple, without kids. It probably doesn’t happen very often! (At least it doesn’t for me!) If there is a problem, your sitters will call, but your leaving will be a great experience and adventure for your children. Have fun!!

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