Vacation prep checklist
7 things you need to do before leaving your kids with a caretaker
It’s spring break season! For lots of people that means sun, sand, warmth and FUN! And some couples who usually live far from home (and may not get much of a break regularly) may be getting ready to head off as a couple and leaving kiddos back with grandparents or other relatives or friends. But before you pack your bags and head south, there are a few things you should consider and figure out if you are leaving your little ones at home.
1. Medical release paperwork - If anyone besides a parent is looking after your children for any amount of time when you will be out of the state, it’s important to look into transferring the ability to make medical decisions for your children. I know NONE of us want to think about the possibility of a child getting sick or injured when we aren’t with them, but it IS a possibility, and the more you are prepared, the less of an issue it will be. When I checked with my children’s doctor, they provided me with a power of attorney transfer sheet where I list out any names of people that will be caring for my children and sign the document granting them the ability to make decisions in my absence. We also think it is a good idea to have this document notarized, just to make sure there are no issues should the document need to be used. We’ve also heard that some hospital emergency rooms actually have a form you can keep on file there that you sign. Be sure to check with your doctor and local hospital to see what they recommend.
2. Medicine/allergy list – This goes along with the first tip, but make sure you have any medicine that children take listed out with specific dosage instructions. And even if grandparents are watching your children and they know everything about your family, list out any allergies or medical conditions and attach the paperwork to the medical release form. During high stress situations, details can get lost. If it is all written down, no one will be required to remember everything! The more details, the better!
3. List all activities for children - Your relative or friend is not used to living the daily and weekly life of your family, so it is important to list out any extracurricular activities that your children are involved in and include the dates, times, and addresses for each activity. Also, if you are making a list or writing on a calendar, it would be a good idea to include any items the child needs to bring with them for each activity and have all the items in a certain area in your home so they are easy to locate. The more organized you are with this information, the less chance there is that someone misses or forgets something. It may seem second nature to you, but it can be crazy to remember everything!
4. Permission for schools/preschools – If your child is typically only allowed to be released to a certain parent, or only allowed to take a certain mode of transportation home from school, let your child’s school know that a different caregiver will be with your children while you are away. And warn your family member or friend that they may need to show identification before your child will be released to them! And, in reality, in may be a headache, but let’s be thankful for hyper-vigilance!
5. List ideas for entertainment - No matter how old your kiddos are, it may be good to create a list of possible activities for them and the person watching them, to go to while you are away. Check out Facebook, the local library website or your local paper for any fun things that might be happening in your town on the weekend and list out the details. The more fun things that children have to do, the less they are thinking about and missing you while you are away!
6. List out emergency services/resources – Another great idea is to list out emergency services contact info for your community, along with a list of neighbors or close friends that can help out your family if they aren’t from the area. Just in case they need another set of hands in an emergency, it’s nice to have those numbers listed out and give those people the heads up beforehand.
7. Tutorials for household – Nothing would make a week caring for your children more difficult than if the person holding down the fort can’t operate the washing machine, or can’t figure out how to work the television and Roku. Be sure you write out clear instructions and you might even want to take a short video and send it to their phone, so they have the tutorial with them. Everyone’s household items work a little differently, so it can be very frustrating to figure it out.
And… a few tips for YOU to prepare for a big trip:
- stock up on common medications you might need while away – prescription and over-the-counter (nothing messes up a trip faster than a stomach bug!)
- check out a couple great books and pick up a fun magazine that you don’t have time to read normally!
- give yourself plenty of time to pack so you aren’t rushed! You will probably spend most of your time prepping for your children!
- If you are partial to a certain kind of coffee or other product, be sure to bring some of it with you! Never assume that the area you are traveling to will have your favorite stuff!
-by Emily Robertson