For many of us, there are all sorts of circumstances that cause us to be away from our children for some sort of extended period of time--business, conferences, deployments, romantic getaways, etc. This can certainly lead to some worry or "mommy guilt" on our part and for young children, it might be hard for them to understand what's going on.
Almost two years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Australia. After a lot of thought, prayer, and family discussion, it was decided that it would be best for Big Brother (who had just recently turned two and was not yet a big brother) to stay here with Grammy & Grampy. Before we left, I made a little book for him about it (he still sometimes likes ask to read it!). A friend of mine will soon be leaving her 2.5 year old for a long conference and asked me to post about the book so she could make one too.
To make it, I just used a small scrapbook (8x8) that I had laying around. I wanted something on the smaller side that he would be able to handle himself. The page protectors helped prevent tearing of the pages.
For the book, I kept it simple--photocopies of pictures and basic explanations. 5 double-page layouts with a title & end page:
Here's what I included (in this order):
-where we were going (who we'd be with & who/what we'd see)
-some fun pictures of where we were going (in this case, lots of fun Australian animal pictures that I knew he'd like)
-who would be taking care of him & some of the fun things they'd be doing while we were gone (with as many pictures of him with them & the activities they'd be doing)
- that we'd talk to him on the computer (via skype) & feelings about missing each other
- how much we love him
It was a simple project--nothing fancy, but made with love & very meaningful. Grammy read him the book anytime he wanted while we were away. Though I'll never be sure of exactly how much Big Brother understood or if/how much it eased the separation, he did well and still likes to read the book sometimes even now. And, if nothing else, making it was good for this mommy!
So, if you are going to be away from your precious littles for a time, consider making a special "While We're Away" Book!
*Linked to some of these great sites!