29 September 2014

A Countdown Booklet for Kids When Traveling Apart

This summer, my husband and I celebrated a decade of marriage with a weeklong cruise to Alaska. (It was on the Norwegian Pearl, and we highly recommend it.) Our three young children stayed with relatives, and we were confident they would be taken care of. Still . . .

Would they be homesick for us?
Would they want to know where we are?
Would they know we're coming back?
Would they recognize and trust their relatives (whom they only see every other year)?

To help our children ease into their week of babysitting and anticipate our return, I made them a countdown booklet.

The idea first came when I decided to make them a countdown chart to number the days of our trip. We had counted down to Easter then also to summer vacation already, so my kids were used to coloring in each day at bedtime to mark its completion.

So the first page of our book was a chart with 8 days outlined, counting backward. I drew some stick figures (the extent of my art work) to illustrate who would be taking care of them on certain days.

My kids obviously colored these in as the days went by.

Then, on the rest of the pages, I included photos of our family (so they could see Mommy and Daddy every day) and photos of the relatives taking care of them. Also, I included a message to the kids for each day that we would be apart. These were read to them daily, so they could still "hear" us even though we were far from communication. (We did not have Internet for our whole trip. So this book really helped them to stay "in touch" with us and know we hadn't forgotten about them.)

When we returned to our children, they proudly showed us the booklet they'd been reading all week. They had adjusted well to each home in which they stayed and known exactly when we were coming back for them.

On my side, I felt peace knowing that my son and daughters were hearing an "I love you" from Mommy even when my voice couldn't reach them.

If you're traveling apart from your kids, maybe a similar countdown booklet will help you both in the separation too!

Abide in Him,

If you make something like this for your own trip, I'd love to hear about it. Please contact me to share how it went for both you and your kids. ^.^

Related articles you may also appreciate:
Flying with Young Children (a 3-part mini-series)
Little Piggies for TCKs (nursery rhymes)
Defining Home and Heaven


  1. +1 on Google+! I like your post. Just liked it on FaceBook, so I'll be back on your blog.

    1. Welcome! :) Thanks for joining me on this journey!

  2. Malia, the kids truly loved this. They asked us to read it to them many times a day and they would look at it on their own many times a day. They loved the pictures, knew exactly where each one was taken etc. It was great idea!

    1. Thank you again (and again and again) for watching our kids during that week. They still talk about it often. And thank you for reading this book to them over and over!

  3. What a really great idea! My oldest has gone on a few trips with grandparents a few times and missed his mama. :) This would be a wonderful thing to give him next time. Thanks for sharing at the Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up!


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