Going on a business trip? Working overtime? Here are four ways to support a child who misses their parent that we have found to be effective with our children when one of us has had to travel for work.
As much as we like to be with our kids all the time, there are instances when we just can’t. Chances are, we have to leave our kids with our partner or hire a babysitter. But what if the child keeps on saying (if not screaming) the words, “I miss Mommy! or “I miss Daddy!”?
How to Help a Child Who Misses a Parent: 4 Effective Ways
Acknowledge the child’s feelings.
When people ask how to help a child who misses a parent, acknowledging the child’s feelings often don’t come up as a solution.
However, it must be the first step to helping a child who misses a parent. You can say something between the lines of, “ You miss your mom? That must be hard for you. You love her so much, don’t you? She loves you a lot, too.”
The purpose of this is to let the child know that his or her feelings are valid. It also shows the child that you understand what he or she feels.
Explain why the parent is not around.
After validating the kid’s feelings, explain why a certain parent is not around. Then say that everything the parent is doing is for the child’s sake.
For instance, if the child’s dad has to go on a business trip for a week, tell the kid why his dad has to go. Then, mention that their dad works hard to give them a great life.
Do things that will distract the kid.
Once the reason behind the parent’s absence is clear to the child, come up with activities that will distract the kid. It could be doing household chores, making crafts, or watching a movie.
If the parent is going to be away for days, you and the child can plan out what to do every day until the parent comes back. Doing this will make the kid look forward to doing fun activities.
Show pictures and tell stories about the parent.
In addition to distracting the child through fun activities, telling stories and showing pictures of the parent can help. The stories can then be connected to how much the parent loves the child. Our kids, for example, love looking through old photos of them as babies, particularly when the parent who is away is in those photos with them.
In a perfect world, parents are beside their children every day (even if not every minute of every day!). However, that’s just not how real life goes. Every parent must hustle for their kids. That often makes the parent left at home or the babysitter wonder how to help a child who misses a parent.
It is our experiences of having to be away from our children to earn a living that motivated us to help other families in the same situation. That is how the idea for creating Hugsie was born. We hope our struggles can be turned into a positive force for kids and families everywhere.