Nothing breaks my heart more than having to say good bye to my 4-year-old son Jack before I leave for a business trip. The pictures and videos on my iPhone and laptop can never replace the touch of his little hand on my arm. Luckily, technology these days can make the separation a little more bearable.
At home, we have a touch screen computer in the kitchen that allows Jack to see me by just tapping the screen. I always carry a laptop and cute purple netbook, which are easy to travel with and have built-in webcams that can make face-to-face calls happen in just a few clicks. Soon, I’ll get the new iPhone with FaceTime video chatting capability, so Jack can see my talking face while I’m on the go. When he gives me a virtual kiss through the screen, my heart melts.
We also have a game where I hide little cars, other toys and notes around the house. While we are on the phone, we play Hot and Cold to find the treasures. Jack and I love this game when I am home and now we can use it as a way to connect even when I’m away.
To help Jack with the concept of the amount of time I’ll be away, we set up a family calendar and fill in each day’s activities together. For my last trip, I left on Monday (back to school), was gone on Tuesday (karate day) and came home on Wednesday (pizza day). This helps Jack understand what he will be doing each day while I’m gone and figure out exactly when I’ll be home. Until then, the video conferences, phone calls and games keep us close and help ease the stress of being apart.