Moms can ease travel guilt, trauma

Phaedra Cucina, author of “My Mommy’s on a Business Trip,” offers some no-tears tips for making your next trip easier on everyone, including you:

• Plan for fun: For trips longer than two nights away, arrange with the caretaker a special night out while you’re gone — a trip to the movies, a play date with a special friend, pizza for dinner, etc.

• Take flight: If someone can drop you off, have the kids come with you to the airport to say goodbye (this works especially well with Sunday departures and if you live relatively close to the airport). Many kids find airports exciting, and it will help them to visualize what you’re doing. Moms love it, too, because of the last-minute hugs and kisses they get.

• Prepare together: A simple, but important thing to do is create or decorate a calendar to show your departure and when you’ll be back home. Try something new — glue Hershey’s Kisses to the calendar for a special treat each day you’re away.

• Pack together: Let your child pick out a special stuffed animal or token you can take with you.

• Create a ritual: If you’re gone often, ask the caretaker to do something with your kids that’s extra special and only happens when you’re away. It could be going to a special place or as simple as getting to sleep in sleeping bags on the living room floor.

• Be on the lookout: Place special notes or cards in the children’s room, on their car seats, in the arms of their favorite stuffed animal, and other creative places they’re sure to see.

• Be silly with Skype: With videoconferencing, you can play peek-a-boo, I Spy, read stories, or look at the calendar you made together and talk about when you’re coming home. Have fun!

• Call early: So often it’s hard to catch the kids in the evening, with meetings running late or business dinners. Kids are often already asleep before you can make the call. Instead, call when the kids are just getting up. That’s when they’re in that lovey, snuggly mindset and you can start their day off with a smile.