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My husband often travels for work. These absences are especially hard on my twins, as they're at the stage of toddler development where they are experiencing big emotions and have a hard time expressing them. I was finding that during his trips, they were more prone to acting out and having tantrums. I decided that I needed to find a way to help them cope when daddy was away.
Since my boys are just 3, they don't completely understand what is happening when my husband has to travel. They can't grasp how long he will be gone and when he will return. I decided that the secret to handling absences at this age was to make them feel connected when dad is traveling.
During my husband's last trip, the boys and I were picking up a few things at Walmart when I spotted this pallet display for CloudPets™. Of course the boys wanted to check out the cute animals and as I was looking I realized that this could be a great way to help them feel connected to their dad while he was away.
They picked out the kitty, and I grabbed 3 AA Energizer batteries so kitty would work when we got home.
I'd seen animals that can record a message before, but this was a new, one-of-a-kind product. What makes CloudPets™ unique is that anyone can record a message, no matter how far away they are by using the free CloudPets™ app. Messages are stored in the cloud to be sent to your child's pet. Of course I'm always concerned about safety, but there are parental controls in place to make sure that only people you've approved can send messages. I couldn't wait to try it out!
When we got Kitty home the boys just loved how soft and snuggly she was. They had no idea that she would be able to talk, so I waited until they had gone down for a nap to try it out.
I downloaded the free app and followed the instructions to set up my account and connect my CloudPets™. It was super easy! They even have video tutorials to help you along. I called my husband and gave him the instructions too, so he could use the app to record a special message for the boys.
They were so surprised to wake up to a message from daddy! And, because you can record from wherever you are, it is really easy to make the message timely and personal.
They could listen to their special message whenever they wanted just by pressing a button on Kitty's paw, even if daddy was asleep on the other side of the world.
Kitty has become a very special member of our family. The boys love getting messages from dad while he's away, and when he's not traveling Kitty often brings fun messages from Grandma! I can even surprise them with a good night message when I go out for a girls' night.
I've found that when we focus on staying connected while daddy is traveling, the boys are better able to cope and are less prone to meltdowns. In addition to using our CloudPets™, we've found a few more tricks to stay in touch:
The first thing my husband does when he arrives at his destination is send postcards to the boys. There is something so exciting about getting real mail and they love seeing pictures of where he is.
When my husband's away, I put little sticky notes on top of the dates on the calendar that he'll be gone. I let the boys pull one off each morning to help count down how many days until daddy gets home. I also like to sneak little surprises on the calendar too, like dinner in a restaurant or movie night. This helps reinforce the fact that daddy will be home soon and also makes the time he is gone a little more fun.
Make a Welcome Home Present
No matter how long he's gone, we always find time to make a fun Welcome Home present. It doesn't have to be fancy, and can be simply a drawing or a card. The process of creating something, along with talking about daddy's return and how excited he will be to see his present, helps the boys to feel connected.
Are you looking to help your child stay connected when you or a loved one is away? Check out CloudPets™! CloudPets™ are available in select Walmart stores, but will be available nationwide soon. Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!