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Over the Road Parenting

Posted in News  
Friday, May 18, 2012

As a working mom or dad, finding the time and energy to spend with children can be difficult, even if they see their kids on a daily basis. For parents who support their family on the road, long-distance parenting can seem especially painful, but the key thing to remember is quality rather than quantity. It is very important to make the time count when home from working days or weeks at a time. There are also things that can be done while on the road to make up for lost time.

Maintaining A Bond While On The Road

Children bond with parents when they feel a special connection is made. If more than one child is in the family, there are ways to give each child individual attention. Some ideas to help your child or children know you are thinking of them while you are away include:

  • Send cards or postcards while you are on the road. If you send cards, take silly pictures of yourself and interesting things you see to include in the card.
  • Start a specific collection for your child and each time you are on the road, add to the collection. For boys, this could be model cars or comic books. For girls, this could be puppy figurines or a certain type of doll.
  • While you are driving and something important crosses your mind or when having certain experiences during the day, write them down to take home with you. You can turn these into life lessons or entertaining stories. If you must, keep a voice recorder with you.
  • Create a special code word or handshake between you and your child.

Another way to maintain a bond while on the road is to participate in video chat with children every day. There are many services like Skype, Google Talk and iChat that allow for video sessions. This can be a more personal way to connect to your kids on a regular basis.

While spoiling them with gifts is not a substitute for quality time, it is okay to send a gift basket once in a while if you are on the road for a long stretch with a note letting them know how much they mean to you.

Making The Time You Have At Home Count

After being on the road for a long period of time, it can be easy to just want to relax. However, this is when you want to make the time you have with your children count. It doesn't have to be exhausting. Get your kid(s) to relax with you. Buy some movies to watch with them soon after you get home.

During the time you are at home, it can also be a good idea to have a schedule made of how you will manage your time. Setting goals for activities to do with your children can be a great way to keep the time from slipping away and will help keep your priorities in check.

The activities and parenting also depend a lot on the age of your children. For younger children, keeping parental discussion on a level they will comprehend is important. This usually involves using stories to get the point across. Affection is important for all ages. It is vital to let your children know how important they are to you and to genuinely enjoy the time you spend with them. Kids are smart and they can tell pretty easily if you are impatient while doing things with them. It will pay off in the long run to live in the moment and enjoy yourself. Older children tend to be more independent, but there are still ways to get quality time in with them. Depending on the gender, you must get creative and participate in activities that are of interest to them.

-From the Families & Relationships Forum at: