22 April, 2012

Business Trip Tips

opinion 1
I need advice. I'm a nanny to a 3 year old boy N and a 12 month old girl. I work m-f about 55 hours a week. The mother is going out of town for a business trip for 5 days, and I will be there the whole time. I know the kids are going to have a cry hard time. The mom works from home so the kids are always around her and are very attached. She is the most hands on mom that I have worked for, and the kids have never been away from her for that long. The little one is still nursing too, and is going to have such a hard time. I want to keep the kids as busy and distracted as much as possible so they're not thinking about mommy being gone too much. Does anyone have any ideas on what fun activities we can be doing. We go on trips to parks, and go to the mall, we do tons of baking and cooking and some crafts already on a daily basis, but I want to do new fun things while mommy is gone. Any ideas?

4 comments:

Nannyof2 said...

Little home made story book explaining mommys trip and when she'll be back can be good for the older one. It's been helpful in the past for someone I know.

Is the baby taking a bottle at all? That will need to be worked on before mom leaves, and make sure ther is plenyt of breast milk stored up.

Just be compassionate towards them, if Mom is as great as you say they will miss her no matter what you do. Keep their routine going as much as you can and love on them so they still feel safe.

ericsmom said...

I agree with the above poster. Keep their routine as normal as you can. You can do all the actitivies in the world. But I am sure they are still going to miss their mommy terribly.
The baby is 12 months old now. So he really doesn't need the bottle. Maybe, a sippy cup??? If she is pumping and he is not use to the bottle it will be a nightmare. May be easier to put the milk in a sippy cup. I had a baby like that wasn't use to the bottle. She was only 7 months old I had to take a baby spoon and put the milk on it to give her. It was a long process!!

How do you feel about Skype? Can the mom Skype with the kids? Maybe, a certain time out of the day she can go online and talk to them. All kids are different so not sure if it will make them happy or upset them. I think the older child would be fine with it.

Good luck!

Village said...

Get a bag of little toys they have never seen, or can't remember. Pull one out when you see an upset coming. Little kids are like the very rich, I swear. They both like shiny new things they have never seen before.

With the 3 year old, when she comes unglued, get down on her level with your arms outstretched, and ask, Do you need a hug? Children are so used to being scolded or hushed when they have a tantrum, the offer of comfort may shock and surprise them so, they run into your arms, perhaps crying, but the yelling is over. (This is not an original idea. I stole it from a mother who uses it to quiet her child while shopping.)

I hope you are getting big bucks for this. Good luck!

Logical Skeptic said...

The surprise bag is a good idea, but I wouldn't pull it out everytime the 3-year-old's lip begins to tremble (the 12-month-old is going to feel abandoned and won't know how to deal with it no matter what, so my advice her is mostly for the older child). I've been reading a lot of Janet Lansbury recently, and I can't decide if she's a crackpot or not, but her philosophy is that if you distract a child from being upset or sad or missing mom or whatever, you're telling him that his feelings don't matter and that he shouldn't (bother) express(ing) them. Of course it's awful when a kid cries, and we're practically hard-wired to make it stop, but maybe it's ok to let him own his sadness for a little while. If he starts to cry or mope, tell him in a neutral but caring tone of voice that it's ok to miss his mom and to be sad. Reassure him that she loves him and that she didn't want to leave him, but that you love him too and that she'll be back soon. Don't tell him that she needs him to be brave and not cry while she's gone. Don't try to distract him by telling him about all the fun things that you're going to be doing while she's gone--he won't care at that moment. Let him know that if he wants a hug, or to sit and look at books or some other quiet activity while he recovers, he is welcome to do that for a short period of time. Don't ask him what he wants to do. He doesn't know. Offer one or two options, not as questions, but just as gentle suggestions, and then see what he does. And be sure they're both well-fed and -rested the whole time; hungry, tired kids are much more fragile and sensitive (but of course you know that!). Keeping to a known routine and schedule is a big help. Maybe a small ritual of crossing off the days on a big calendar every evening, along with a surprise from the bag at the same time (just once a day, at a prescribed time, because if you use it whenever he's bummed out you'll run out of stuff half way though the second day, trust me--and if it's once a day the treats should be a little more notable/expensive/special than just quick-fix trinkets...maybe talk to Mom about this?), would help, since bedtime is going to be tough.

However, I predict that after a day or two he'll be a little less upset about it all, and that's when you want to try to do one or two outings that are super-fun and VERY out of the ordinary: a trip to an aquarium, an amusement park, the beach, something that isn't normally on the agenda AT ALL, will give him something to tell his mother when she gets back AND get him out of his head a little (but not in the your-feelings-don't-matter way). Make sure there are breaks. Take lots of pictures. Go to the mall with him and pick out supplies together to make a little album of those pictures to give to his mom the day before she gets back. Have him help cook something special that you know she'll like, and maybe decorate the house a little for her return, but...

BUT--and this is my last piece of advice, I promise(!), in general, do NOT make too big a deal out of his mother's absence. Kids are very sensitive to our moods, PLUS they look to us for how to behave and deal with things, so if you project any anxiety about the week, or project any indications that HE should be anxious about it, guess what will happen? Try to be calm, neutral and upbeat about it; acknowledge that it's a bummer and don't try to jolly him out of it when he's sad, but don't tiptoe around him and spoil him because he's sad, or he'll think he HAS to be sad (or, more frustrating for you, he'll play it up to get more attention/treats, etc.) You never know--he might surprise you and be pretty ok about it!