Whit Honea recently wrote “The Parents’ Phrase Book.” Whit is a friend and a writer I respect, and I think his book is quite helpful for parents; I hope you find it helpful, too. (I did not receive any remuneration- even a free book- for this interview.)
The best advice I could ever give is to do everything with love—from packing a lunch to discipline, building a fort to volunteering at a school function—it can be frustrating and trying, but childhood is a small window closing quickly, and only we can decide if it leaves us with wonderful memories or too many regrets. -Whit Honea
Reading with our kids is important for their development- and, with some creativity we can also use reading as a way to stay connected with our kids even when busy or when traveling for work. Here’s expert Chris Cottrell’s evidence and advice
I’m writing this post from the perspective of a son, looking back on great things my dad did. When I was very young, my dad had to be away from the family for almost nine months, practically a lifetime for me at that age. To help keep us connected during that time, he filmed himself reading my favorite children’s books out loud and gave me that video to watch while he was away. Reading out loud together became common at home and it is a very fond memory of my childhood.
Why Is Reading Out Loud So Important?
Reading aloud helps your children grow their imaginations, learn words and languages, think critically and succeed in school.
After describing the rhythms of his household before and during his travel, Jason provided some great advice:
The point is, dads, we are missed. A lot. A WHOLE lot. I read on a post recently that a dad has four girls that make him feel like a member of the Beatles when he gets home. We’re all rock stars to our children, and we can take care of our “fans” by taking a bit of care with how we leave them for our work trips. It will pay dividends in the end to pay attention to how we deal with being gone, as our little ones are dealing with us being gone. So I’ve looked around the web, read, asked, cajoled, and uncovered to find what we can do when we have to be away. The list is organic, so use or don’t, add to or take away.
It begins with dinner, moves to bath and jammy time, eases into books and stories, then ends with hugs and kisses. Simple, yes?
I’ve seen cowboys break a mustang before and THAT looked easier than building our homestead customs. People, our children have let us know that they need routine, stability, and for heaven’s sake, DON’T forget that story! It runs like clockwork and I say again, one tilt in the balance of our family ecosystem and we’re either up throughout the night with little ones, or it all ends in tears.
So when I announce that there’s a trip of any significant length coming up, the groans begin. First, The Wife expresses her reservations, then her fears, then her acceptance. Once the kids get wind of it, there’s even more complaint, but in the form of a sweet siren’s song of “daddy, don’t go.” Heart strings are pulled, emotions run high, and I begin to wonder if I might be able to support my family as a man of leisure. You know, a man’s man, or man about town. No? Bah,…worth a try. It still begs the question: How does our family get by when daddy has to travel?