My daughter is 16 months old. My husband's been off work a few months and soon will be starting again. At times he may be away from home for two weeks at a time.
She is VERY attached to him. If she notices he is gone she has a melt down. Today he left for work before she woke up and it was just a rotten day. She pounded on the bedroom door, screamed...
Do you have any suggestions that might make her transition easier on everyone?
Who can blame a daughter for missing her dad? Not me. It's fairly difficult to rationalize with a 16-month-old and it's even more difficult to make them understand that we have to trot off to work to make a living. That being said, like most things in life when it comes to kids it seems to pay dividends by being upfront so start explaining where dad will be going and why (so he can buy food and toys etc). Kids are interested in what their parents do so start explaining to them early where you go and why.
I've done a lot of traveling with work and have had many extended periods of time away. Skype is a must if you have the luxury of a laptop computer. Talking to your kids through video messaging is great fun and really helps with those long trips away (for them and you).
Being away from your kids is brilliant for the first few days -- lots of sleep, peace and quiet but it also becomes pretty lonely and fast. Skype or MNS messenger are so simple to set up and it's terrific for keeping in touch with other family members, too.
Distraction is always a good way to deal with toddlers, so get active early and don’t let her have too much idle time in the mornings. Start getting her used to waking up with mum in the morning so it doesn’t come as a big surprise when dad isn't the first person into her room.
Kids are pretty good at adjusting and in time she will be fine. If not there's always the naughty chair or the star chart -- ahh the joys of parenting.
Kids are also great at swapping allegiances so before long she’ll be screaming for you the minute you're out of sight!