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Business Travel: Leaving the Little Ones Behind

Business travel presents special challenges and opportunities for parents.

Corporate trips can sometimes offer chances to experience more of the world. But for many of America's business travelers, clinching an important deal can lose some of its appeal when thoughts turn to missed moments with family members. However, if the family commits itself to making the most of the situation, the end result can be quite positive.

Committed to Communication

First off, parents need to work together. Communication and sensitivity to other family members' feelings provide a necessary foundation for turning business travel into a positive family experience.

Speak with your spouse ahead of time to discuss any feelings, frustrations, and expectations regarding the upcoming business trip. The conversation should include agreements about roles and responsibilities while the traveling spouse is away. Talk about decision making, how to handle emergencies, when to call, and the specifics of the spouse's travel plans.

If parents aren't on the same page, children will notice the disconnect. This may make them even more upset.

Before the Trip

Here are some tips to help your child prepare for your business trip.

During the Journey

Here are some tips to use during the journey:

Re-entry

Even when travelers are happy to come home, re-entry can be stressful. The longer the traveling parent has been gone, the more the stay-at-home parent has adapted. Sometimes children will act out when the absent parent returns, especially if they feel more comfortable with that person.

Give your child time to adjust. Talk about whatever is on the child's mind. And next time business travel takes you away, let it serve as a way to uncover interesting tidbits about distant locales, start some new traditions, and bring your family closer together.

RESOURCES:

Kids Health—Nemours Foundation
http://kidshealth.org

US Travel Association
http://www.ustravel.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

Transport Canada—Government of Canada
http://www.tc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Long distance parenting. Father and Child website. Available at: http://fatherandchild.org.nz/magazine/issue-6/long-distance-parenting. Accessed July 27, 2017.

Traveling without your child. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/travel_without_kids.html. Updated July 2014. Accessed July 27, 2017.

Last reviewed July 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP  Last Updated: 7/24/2015