Balancing Your Family at Home and Travel

Anyone who travels a lot on business can end up feeling lonely on a Tuesday night, stuck in a hotel room calling room service instead of sitting around the dinner table with the family. But there are ways to avoid the on-the-road blues.

Anyone who travels a lot on business can end up feeling lonely on a Tuesday night, stuck in a hotel room calling room service instead of sitting around the dinner table with the family. But there are ways to avoid the on-the-road blues.

1. As you pack your bags for your trip, take a minute and throw in some snapshots of your family. You might find that looking at them at the end of a long day helps you feel relaxed and loved. Pictures are also great to look at when you call home — this way you can see the family member you are talking to.

2. Don’t neglect your nightly family rituals when you are on the road. If you tuck in your kids each night when you are home, call them at bedtime and talk to them as if you were physically in their rooms tucking them in.

3. Phone home in the afternoon to see how your kids’ day at school went.

4. Make separate phone calls to talk to your spouse or partner. You will need time to have uninterrupted “grown-up” talk to share your feelings and discuss things that are important to you both.

5. Bring along objects that remind you of your mate, such as a letter or a small keepsake you can carry with you wherever you go.

6. Don’t forget about older children — little kids aren’t the only ones who may want to talk to you. But if the older ones don’t seem as enthusiastic, still spend time on the phone with them telling them about your day. Teenagers need the reassurance that you love and support them, even if you are 2,000 miles away.

7. Consider taking older children on business trips — when appropriate.

It’s easy to feel excluded when you are on the road because you aren’t home to share quality moments with your family. If you work at staying in touch when traveling, though, your homecoming will be more rewarding. But you need to deal with homecomings delicately.

Resist the temptation to bring your children gifts after each trip. If you always give out presents like Santa Claus when you arrive home, you may begin to wonder if your child is happy to see you or the present. If your children ask for gifts, say, “Here I am!” and give them a big hug.

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