My family and I just returned to Australia from a 5 week trip visiting family and friends in America. While it was really nice to see everyone, the trip and the type of traveling we did really pushed me to the limits. All of my parenting knowledge was put to the most extreme test. I’ve been reflecting on everything I learned over those five weeks and I wanted to share my experience with you.
Secure the house
When you’re away for as long as 5 weeks, at some point someone is going to notice that your house is empty, especially during the festive season. Houses are usually glowing with warm lights and bustling with visiting friends and family at this time of year, so a dark, quiet house is going to stick out like a sore thumb. If a passer-by notices your house is empty, a potential thief is going to notice too. Burglars actually go around neighbourhoods at this time of the year looking for empty homes to break into, so as you leave for your holiday, make sure your windows are closed, your alarm systems are turned on and your doors are locked.
In the weeks running up to your holiday, make your neighbors aware that you’ll be away. Tell them when you’re going, when you’re coming back and where you’ll be. This way, they’ll be able to keep an eye on your house. If you’re on good terms with them, make sure they have a key so that they can get into your house in an emergency. You can also ask them to pick up your post so that it’s not obvious nobody is home to pick it up. Additionally, tell your neighbors to feel free to park in your driveway so that it looks like somebody is home. This can be especially useful if your neighbors are planning to have their own gathering where friends and family will be visiting and they need more parking space. If you have lights on timers, make sure your neighbors are aware of this too, otherwise, they may think someone is inside. Finally, make sure your neighbors have your phone number so that they can call you if needed.
Mentally prepare the kids
Briefly explain the logistics of what’s going to happen, how and when. As much as you may want to rent a private jet and travel in luxury, this isn’t an option for most of us. There’s no avoiding the hassle of commercial flying, so you need to try and manage what your children will experience. If you sense any fear or anxiety, fun role-playing can help. If you know you have to do something that your child will not enjoy (long plane ride, meeting strange relatives, sleeping in an unfamiliar place, using public toilets, etc.), you can do role playing to help lighten the blow. Read the rest of this entry