Believe it or not, taking a vacation without the kids can be done. It’s a good time to recharge, spend some time with your spouse, and come home refreshed.
Once you have your babysitter situation confirmed, it’s time to start preparing for your trip. I recommend spending some quality one-on-one time with your child before you leave. You should be spending time with them on a regular basis, but this would be a little extra time. You will both be glad you did. Parents often assume that some time away from the kids will be carefree and relaxing, but I found that my first couple days away were difficult because I missed my kids. It definitely gets easier though!
During the days prior to leaving, you will probably be gathering and packing the things you will need for your trip. Even the smallest child can detect an upcoming change. My kids become over-sensitive and needy when they sense these changes. This doesn’t mean all children will do the same thing, but it is something to keep in mind. If your child starts acting out more than usual, try to have a little added patience. This can be difficult when you are tying up loose ends and looking forward to some time away, but it will be more pleasant if you just stop and take a five- to ten-minute break with your child. If you can somehow pack several days early or while your children are at school or sleeping, you may be able to avoid a little bit of the pre-vacation worries, but spending that little bit of extra time with them is really the best thing you can do to reassure them.
Now that you have prepared yourself and maybe even your little ones, the next step is to prepare your caregivers. There are some small, but very helpful things you can do to help the household run smoother while you are gone. Make sure you give your caregivers a medical release form. This ensures that your child can be cared for in case of injury. Create a list of all of your child’s allergies for the sitter as well as a list of your child’s favorite foods. When I have a sitter staying in my home I fill a basket with healthy snacks that my children love. This way, there is always something available and it makes locating a snack much easier for the caregiver. If you can leave a container like this for your caregiver, it will be much easier to locate something when your child is asking for something between meals. You could also create a menu or prepare meals in advance before you go. The more you do in advance to help your caregivers, the more they will appreciate it and be willing to help again next time.