Traveling for business can be a positive experience, but it can also make work-life integration more difficult, especially if you’re a parent.
And while business trips can be a great way to shake up the usual 8-5, there can also be downsides that range from extreme to easy fix.
One of the more sensitive topics, especially for those with families who travel regularly, is the toll it can take on children.
Tamekia Reece of Parents magazine advises parents on how to tell their children that they’re about to leave for a business trip and what they can do to maintain normalcy.
Preparing your children
According to Stephanie Mihalas, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and founder of The Center for Wellbeing in Los Angeles, toddlers and preschoolers don’t understand the concept of time, and some elementary-age kids may still have trouble differentiating five days from one week, so it’s best to give them only a couple of days’ notice. The longer the child has to think about when the parent will be leaving, the more anxious he or she will get.
Mihalas’ other helpful tips included showing your children pictures of where you’ll be, letting them know where you’ll be, telling them who will be their caretaker, and also where they’ll be staying.
According to Rochelle Harris, Ph.D., giving a child something that belongs to the absent parent, such as a T-shirt or a photo, or leaving surprise notes, will keep his or her presence in the home and can reduce separation anxiety.
“When kids haven’t seen you for a while, they want to share everything that’s happened, see what souvenirs you bought, and hear about your trip,” Dr. Mihalas said. She recommends spending at least 15 to 20 minutes with kids when you arrive home.
At iConnectEngineers™, we believe that employers need to be cognizant of the balance between the work life and home life of their employees. The positive balance between the two enables employees to perform at their best. The unique work-life integration needs of employees is much trickier than in the past. By being flexible and innovative, employers will be better able to compete in a global economy, and attract the best employees. This will result in greater productivity gains, and a reduction of fixed costs, producing a stronger bottom line. Work-life integration creates a meaningful experience at work and at home.
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