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Should 6-year-old go on a trip without mom?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz February 8, 2011 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara: This question involves me, my husband, our 6-year-old son, and my in-laws (my son's grandparents) who live in another country.

My husband and I both like the idea of my husband and son going to visit my husband's parents. With the travel and time adjustment, we were thinking of them going for a month. I am the primary breadwinner and am self-employed; I cannot be gone for this long.

My son has become very concerned about how much time he has with me. We have a very good work/life balance and spend quality time together playing games, talking, coloring, cooking. However, my son get very teary when I go out to do things. I had a four-session book group and he cried each time. My son and husband have a good time together, but my son has expressed that it makes him sad not to have all the time he thinks he should have with me (which is always). He loves school and does great, but says he'd rather just be home with me. He is overall a very happy kid.

We asked what he thought of this trip, and while he loves being with his grandparents, he says he doesn't want to go without me. One part of me says to go ahead and send him off with his dad for a trip that is sure to be quite fun. The other part of me worries that I will traumatize him by sending him off for this visit.

I'd love to know your opinion.


From: Bear's mama, Revere


What to do about toddler's sleep routines on vacation?

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz August 5, 2010 06:00 AM

Barbara, We have Traveler Toddler woes!

We recently went away for the weekend with our 2-year-old to visit family. We stayed in a hotel and brought a crib with us, using the same mattress from home. He was fine all day, although refused to nap as we were in the car for a large part of the day and, as a result, was exhausted by bedtime. We did our usual bedtime routine of bath and books but when we put him in the crib, he cried hysterically for two hours. He stood up, refused to lay down, and was practically hyperventilating begging me to take him out. We tried various things and nothing worked. Finally my husband lay him down and it took, he fell asleep. This was just for one night as we came home the next day.

We are nervous as we are about to go away for a week for vacation, and he already told us he didn't like the "other crib." I don't know the difference - his usual mattress is used so it's the same size. I know it's not home, but how can we get him to be ok with travel? We fear we can never leave our house again and now are nervous to go on our vacation! Any strategies? Thanks!

From: Linda, Needham


NYC for 5-year-old? I think not

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz March 31, 2010 06:00 AM
Barbara, My husband's step-mom wants to take my 5-year-old to New York City for a few nights.  My daughter does not want to go with them without having mom or dad with her.  Unfortunately, this grandparent can't take "no" for an answer.  I'm told this trip could traumatize my daughter, especially since she will be in unfamiliar surroundings with people she rarely sees.  Any advice on how to approach selfish grandparent?

From: Lauren, Rockville, MD


Hitting the road for school vacation week? How to arrive with your sanity intact

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse February 10, 2010 08:04 AM

A couple of months ago, my husband and I piled our youngest kids and the dog into the car and drove 1,500 miles to spend time with the rest of our blended family -- our big kids, who were with their mom and stepdad.

That's 1,500 miles each way.

I'll be honest with you: I was really worried about the trip. I'm not big on camping, or on long drives, and knew that this trip would be a little of both -- way out of my comfort zone. But kenneling the dog and flying the four of us there would cost more than a mortgage payment, and our teenagers' schedules have become more complicated as they've gotten older, so in spite of my misgivings, driving seemed to be the best way to go.

The trip started ominously: Intended departure time: 4 a.m. Amended departure time: 10 a.m. Actual departure time: 1:51 p.m. Time of first "Are we there yet?": 1:57 p.m.


Vacationing with a child isn't always much of a vacation

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz August 6, 2009 06:01 AM

Our son's first trip was to California when he was six months old. In a borrowed car on a dusty road north of Marin, he cried and cried and even stopping and feeding, changing and rocking him didn't help. Finally, out of desperation we began to drive again and recite the words to his favorite book ("Suppertime for Frieda Fuzzypaws" -- I still know it by heart). It worked like magic. We've been traveling together ever since.


Lessons from a road trip

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse July 6, 2009 09:40 AM

As a child, my parents used to back my brothers and me into the station wagon and drive from New Jersey to Montreal, and while I remember enjoying the first and last hour or so of the ride, the rest of it was not so fun: umpteen games of "I Spy" punctuated by my brothers playing with the windows and my dad threatening to turn the car around, my mom struggling with maps, our luggage flying off the roof to be lost forever somewhere in upstate New York, never-ending squabbles over who got to stretch out in the "way back." I was reluctant to cram our five kids into a car to recreate that kind of a journey.

But we took a deep breath and did it last week. We've just gotten back from a road trip to Washington, D.C., and while I was expecting chaos, it was surprisingly manageable.
Sure, we heard our fair share of “I want to get out!” from those strapped into car seats and “This is not my idea of fun” from sulky teens, and it goes without saying that all of the kids, from teen to toddler, asked "Are we there yet?" at least a couple times. But, unlike in the 1970s, we had technology on our side. Here’s how we kept the chorus of complaints at bay this time:


About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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