Tuesday Toolbox: When You Have to Go Away
by: Gari Lister
Changes in schedule and structure can be hard for many traumatized children, and when you combine changes in schedule and structure with a parent’s travel, everything can go haywire. As my husband put it this weekend when I came back from the ATN Board retreat, “when you’re not here, everything is weird for everyone and everything goes CRAZY.”
But sometimes we HAVE to travel – for work, for family reasons, for self care or even for a really good cause. So how can we help our children (and our significant others) prepare for our absence? How can we make sure our children don’t go haywire? The answer is to prepare your children for the change – and help them process it afterward.
ATN’s Learning Center has a wonderful webinar – it’s an oldie (way back in 2012) but a goodie from Dr. Lark Eshleman and Anna Paravano: “Get Your Ducks in a Row Before You Go.” And by that they mean to prepare your children before you go away – help them understand what will happen. I highly recommend it.
And if you don’t have time to watch the entire webinar, make sure you check out “Stuff You Can Do Handout.” It has some terrific advice, including suggestions on building a calendar with your child to help them process the plans.