Congratulations! You are finally planning a vacation for the two of you alone -- without the kids! It took some doing, but it's really happening! Everything is booked, and the two of you are looking forward to some restoration, rekindling, and relaxation.
But wait... a trip without the kids? Who's taking Abby to soccer? And what about Leo's peanut allergy? How in the world can we leave town?
It's completely natural to have 10,000 worries about what could go wrong when you leave your kids behind. Sure, there are some incidents that might occur that you can't plan for. But you can alleviate a lot of the worry just by thinking through your child's typical schedule and habits and communicating well with your child's caregivers.
Here is a checklist to help give you peace of mind as you prepare to travel without the kids:
1. Who will be taking care of the kids?
You obviously know the answer to this, but make sure others do too!
- If they aren't already, add your child's caregivers to the dropoff/pickup list at school and leave their information with all activities
- While you're at it, leave a letter authorizing your caregivers to provide emergency medical treatment
2. Place all needed papers/numbers in one easily-accessible location.
Use a binder or folder to include everything in one spot. Don't forget:
- Maps to kids' schools/activities and pickup timelines/instructions
- All phone numbers - medical, close contacts, backup people who could also pick up the kids in an emergency
- Emergency treatment form giving caregivers authorization to make medical decisions
- Copy of health insurance card
- Medication administration instructions and locations of special equipment (such as a nebulizer or EpiPen)
- A list of all allergies
- Leave a detailed daily schedule broken down by each day
- Location of emergency and other insurance documents
(Check out our free Macaroni Kid Family Safety Binder. These free printables can help you easily organize important household information!)
3. Will the caregivers be staying in your home?
If so, make sure they have what they need to keep things running smoothly. Think about things like:
- Home instructions (such as an alarm code, remote control instructions, how to work the oven, etc.)
- Leaving a key to your car and the location of a spare house key
- Your policy about friends coming over, or your kids going to a friend's house
- Your rules about "screen time"
4. Are you also leaving a pet with the caregivers?
If so, don't forget to leave instructions for the animal too! Good information includes:
- Feeding instructions
- Vet phone number and address
- Policy on couch and bed privileges, and what to do with the animal when no one is home
5. Food: it's a big deal!
Make sure your caregivers have:
- A list of what to include in your kid's lunches
- Extra money for takeout
- Information on any allergies or food rules
With a little planning, you can be sure your kids will not only survive but thrive when you take a few days away!