Monday, January 19, 2015

Explaining time to a 2-year-old -- and work trips.

I've spent plenty of time daydreaming about castles and teacups, but don't think I haven't also been feeling guilty about leaving my two-year-old for almost two weeks. My head knows he will be fine. He's a very sensitive boy, however, and feels all the feels all the time. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out things I can do to help him cope -- or at least help him understand time and when I'll be home again.

He understands concepts like "yesterday" and "tomorrow" and even correctly uses phrases like "last year" or "next week" -- about fifty percent of the time. I know he understands when things have already happened or when things will happen eventually. But sometimes he says things like, "Daddy is at a hotel for work. He's coming home in two years, like he always does."

We have been using a wall calendar (remember those?) to mark an "X" every morning and talk about days. I drew pictures on various days, so he would have some small things to look forward to -- an attempt to help with patience and an understanding of how long a day or two days or a week is. When David left town last week, I drew a picture of him coming home on Friday, along with a picture of the ice cream that we decided we would get as a treat. This only mildly backfired, as it then meant that the Wee Boy asked, "Is it time for ice cream right now," pretty much fifty times a day. So I'm not really sure whether it was the calendar that helped him understand time, or if he just learned that asking for something 400 times means he will eventually get it.

I think maybe when I'm actually gone, I'll leave behind some paper chains that he can tear off day by day as a countdown until Mommy is home!

I'm totally open to hearing about methods anyone out there has used to help explain a long work trip to a 2-year-old. We watched the Daniel Tiger episode about "Grownups come back," this morning, but it was more about a child having a babysitter for a night rather than for two weeks. Are there any good books I could read to him about it? (I obviously did a Google search, but I'd prefer first-hand accounts.)



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