This blog post is in collaboration with Aptamil Toddler.
Having time away from your kids is good for you, your relationship with your partner and your children. But how do we go from being attached to our child every waking moment of the day to being brave and taking the leap of having a night or 2 away? I mean, as caregivers we deserve it right?
From early on my husband and I made the effort to make sure we had time away from Max both on our own and together. In those early days it can be easy to feel like ships just passing in the night. It is important that we make time to reconnect with each other. This builds a strong family foundation and helps to keep the lines of communication open.
I still remember my first night away from Max like it was yesterday. It was just before he turned 1. My stomach was in knots and the thought of leaving him made me tear up. But with a little preparation we were able to leave him confidently knowing both Mum and baby Max would be just fine!
Second time around we found it much easier to be away from the kids. We had the first hand experience and hindsight of knowing we really needed the time away to fill up our cups so we could be the best parents we could be. Of course we still felt the pang of guilt and anxiety, but we had much more awareness around where it was coming from. We knew it was normal to feel this way and the reason we had these feelings was because we love and care for our children deeply.
Below are a few tips to help you prepare yourself, your partner and your child for your first night away:
Start Small – Start with an hour apart, then a few hours away from your child, and slowly build up to having your first night away. This not only helps to build your child’s confidence in your absence but yours too!
Relationship building – Growing a trusting relationship with other caregivers is an important part of ensuring you and your children feel comforted and safe when apart. Don’t expect these relationships to develop overnight. Allow your child time to build these bonds with your chosen and trusted caregivers.
Put a plan in place – Write a list, create a spread sheet, laminate it if it makes you feel at ease! You know your child better than anyone else. You know their routine, needs, their likes and their dislikes. Make it really simple for the caregiver in your absence and spell out how you would like things to run while you have time apart. Think about everything from food, the sleep environment, favourite books and songs, favourite toys, comforts, emergency contacts etc Being over prepared will give you the peace of mind and calm to ensure you can enjoy your time away without worrying about the minor details.
Dropping your child off – You do not want to leave your child hysterical, or yourself for that matter! You want to make it a happy parting so think about the timing of your drop off. Pick a time of day where you know your child will be most as ease. Maybe in the early morning so they’re not tired or hungry. Allow your child and the caregiver time to settle in together before heading off on your night away. This will give them time to ask any questions so they can be confident with your child in your absence.
Finally take a deep breath and let go – Just know that the first night is always the hardest. You are not alone in the way you are feeling. Just know that you have put your trust in your chosen caregiver and you have planned and prepared everything you need for your child to have a happy and enjoyable time away from you. Take a step back and acknowledge any emotions you are feeling being away from your child for the first time and give yourself a big hug. Know that it will get easier over time and these feelings are all a part of being a loving parent.
For more helpful articles on the importance of “Letting go” head over to Aptamil Toddlers Parents’ corner
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog,