Creative Ways to Keep in Touch with Your Kids While Traveling for Work

One of the best parts of being a working mom is the chance to travel for work. Conferences or meetings in a different location mean a chance to get out of your office and out of the daily grind. Plus, while traveling for work, there are no kids’ meals to prepare, no pint-sized bosses yelling for you every five minutes, an entire bed to yourself and control of the hotel TV remote.

But the flip side of such freedom is missing your mini each time you’re away – their hugs, cute stories about their day, the quirks that make them yours. The separation could be hard on your children, too, especially if you’re planning to be away for more than a few days or if you’re a frequent-traveler working mom.

Sure, you can call your kids while you’re traveling and working or bring them gifts from your destination, but there are more creative ways to let them know you love them when work takes you away from home. Here are a few ways for working moms to bridge the miles when traveling for work:

Learn about your business destination with your children

Involve your kids in your trip by learning about your destination together. Going somewhere with an interesting history? Almost every place has a unique past or a current attraction. Go to your local library and check out some age-appropriate books about your destination to read with your child. They’ll enjoy seeing pictures of the sights you’ll see while you’re away, especially if your kids haven’t been there, and you can introduce them to some historical events specific to another location.

Find your destination on a map, and have a mini geography lesson: How many miles/kilometers from home is Mom’s conference? How long does it take to travel there by plane/car? What’s the weather typically like there? Is Mom’s meeting in a different time zone? Does the landscape at Mom’s destination look different from our home?

If you or your kids aren’t bookworms, check out some movies or documentaries that feature your destination. This could be fun before or after your trip when you’ll be able to point out any landmarks you visited or scenes you’ve seen in real life.

Send a postcard

Email might be king of communication, but everyone still loves getting snail mail. A postcard is an especially kind and inexpensive gesture that lets your kids know you took some time out of your busy work trip to think about and “talk” to them.

To save yourself time, buy postcard stamps before you leave home so you don’t have to spend time finding a post office at your destination. The USPS sells Forever postcard stamps, so don’t worry about using them up before the next price increase.

Buy a postcard within a day of arriving at your destination airport or hotel. If you studied up about your destination with your child before you left, choose a picture of a landmark you talked about to reinforce what you read/watched/heard. Write a quick note about your trip so far and how much you’re looking forward to seeing everyone at home soon, and plop it in the mail ASAP. This way, your child has a chance to receive it before you’re home. If you’re only going to be away for a day or two, send it through the mail anyway. Every child loves getting mail addressed just for them.

Send your child a postcard from your work trip to show them where you went and that you're thinking of them.
Everyone loves getting mail!

Schedule time to call, text, or Face Time

Thanks to technology, going away doesn’t have to mean not talking with or seeing your family for a few days. If possible, schedule a few minutes to video chat with your kids at times that you’d normally see them off or greet them, such as when they’re heading to school, when they arrive home from clubs or sports practice, or during a bedtime story. They’ll feel good that even though you’re far away, you’ve made time to talk with them personally. This is also a good opportunity to teach your younger kids conversation etiquette by prompting them to ask YOU simple questions such as ‘How was your meeting?’ or ‘What things have you seen on your trip?’

If traditional phone calls won’t work because of the time difference or your work schedule, keep in touch through short and sweet texts. Even if the only creative thing you can think to say is “I love you,” those are still three words everyone likes to hear.

You could also send pictures of things that have special meaning to you and your children. My daughter is only two years old so we don’t exchange photos yet, but my mom has an affinity for squirrels, so I send her pictures of unique squirrels like this one when I’m out and about:

Prism Squirrel, Boston Seaport District
Weird? Probably, but maybe your family’s thing is sloths or unicorns or misspelled street signs. I’m not judging.

Traveling for work can be fun for you, and with a little planning, fun for your family, too. Learn about your destination together, send a postcard, or schedule some short calls or texts home. You’ll be glad you took the time to add some fun to your work trip.

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Kelly is an online marketing manager and mom to baby Grace. Originally from Clearwater, Florida, Kelly moved to Atlanta in 2012 where she promptly met her husband Jason. He proposed the next year after literally chasing her 26.2 miles during the Atlanta Marathon. They live in Roswell with their two dogs and enjoy being active outdoors, playing trivia and watching Grace discover her world. When not working or running the household, you can find Kelly taking a time out at Publix or microblogging on Instagram.