By Jodie Lynn
My husband's job requires him to travel out of town for two weeks at a time. Our daughter is only two and seems to have a hard time connecting to her dad once he returns. Any tips on building a better relationship between them while he is gone?
ANSWER FROM READER:
My husband was in the U.S. Navy when our children were very young. I made a recording of him reading all their favorite stories. It played each night when I put our sons to bed if he was gone. They knew their dad through his voice when he returned and reconnected quickly. (This is before cell phones.) Also, put a picture on the refrigerator showing their dad with each child, both children or the family. Talk about him and point to the picture. Since most adults seem big to young children, remember to put the picture up high on the refrigerator. This way, when dad appears, the child doesn't expect someone their size and become afraid. - Cheryl Cobb in Holts Summit, MO
Being two is no easy task. This is the age where children are more or less finally coming to terms with the idea that they are a separate individual from mom and dad and are asserting a tad more independence. However, this separation from parents, commonly referred to as separation anxiety, can be pretty traumatic for some. So in essence, she is dealing with two big challenges at the same time which may make the current situation a little more intense. For example, even though she is already experiencing difficulty with separation from you, but is learning that you will appear again later the same day, her dad is absent and at the end of the day she still does not get to see him. Therefore, it's important to keep her daily routines and bedtime rituals as close to normal as possible when your husband is away traveling. This also means that if there are certain things that her dad usually does with her or for her on a daily or nightly basis, it's a good idea to try to keep his involvement intact as much as you can by either hearing his voice, seeing his face or both. There are various applications on cell phones that will allow her to see her dad when he talks, sings or shares a story with her and vice versa. You can also consider video chat on computers via a free program like Skype. Make recordings of his voice singing a song or reading a story, as suggested above, and play them whenever the two of you are home without him. I also like the tip above about putting a picture on the fridge and talking of him often.
CAN YOU HELP?
My 18-month-old toddler is driving me nuts with being all over the place when his diaper needs to be changed. It seems trivial but there has to be a way to keep him still so we can get done quicker. What am I missing?
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