Sanity Q&A: Can Kids and Business Mix?

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Q: Is it possible to bring kids along on a business trip and stay sane?

I took my stay-at-home husband and our 4- and 6-year-old on a business trip to a small port city. Our hotel was downtown and within easy walking distance to a children’s museum, a park, and a kid-friendly restaurant. However, when it came time for me to go to my meetings, both children cried and carried on. I left behind a stressed-out spouse, tear-drenched children, and carried the burden of working mom guilt with me all day. Would it have been easier to have left everyone at home and traveled solo? 

A. What’s important to remember is that when you’re at home and leave for work, it’s part of an established routine. You may go to work but leave the children in a familiar place with a caregiver they know and trust. Remove the familiar environment and the transition can get scary, especially for younger children. Talk simply and calmly about what to expect. Emphasize things that will be the same. For example, Daddy will spend the day with you like always. Don’t over-explain or give too many details. It helps to keep morning routines consistent. Get dressed, give kisses and hugs, and leave without fanfare. If tears begin, walk out the door and let your spouse distract the kids with a walk to the park. If you both remain calm and in control, the children will most likely settle down quickly and your spouse can send a quick text update to declare “all is well,” putting your mind at ease.


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