A recap of the last week or so of posts and my life: my sister is moving, I have been giving her lots of tips on moving, I've been helping her pack, I'm flying with her and her 4 little ones to South Carolina to set up house and now it is time to set my house in order so I can do that. Time to make the "Mom's goin' to S. Carolina" packet for Dave and the grandma's.
Everytime I go out of town without the kids (it isn't often) I make up a packet for the grandma's with all the information they will need to take care of the kids while I am gone. I always tell them they are not bound by the information but I do hope that they use it because it will make their jobs a whole lot easier (I think). Usually they will modify it a bit but mostly they really like it and find it quite useful.
Last time I made a packet was when Dave and I went to Florida for Jacob and Alli's wedding. It was still on my computer so I just brought it up on screen, modified it to fit the kids schedule and viola! it was done.
The first thing I like to include in my vacation packets is a thank you letter to the babysitter. It is an opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate them and what the rest of the packet is all about--they will appreciate it!
The second part of the packet is the week's schedule while I'm away. The schedule includes everything from when they get up in the morning to what time the catch the bus, what time they get home, when their activities are, when they usually eat dinner and what time they go to bed. Basically it is just a run down hour by hour of what I would be doing with the kids if I were home. This time around Dave, his mom and my mom are taking turns watching the kids so I have color coded the schedule so they know who does what and when.
After the schedule I have included a map of our area. Our house is marked with a star. The places that the kids will be going to during the week are marked on the map also and labeled with the name of the place and the address AND is cross-referenced with the schedule. The map is a very, VERY important part of the packet for my mom because the area we live in is kinda difficult to find your way around--lots of hills and curves and dense woods and dead ends--and she worries alot about getting lost. The map helps to put her at ease.
After that comes a copy of the week's chore chart with a brief description of the chore expectations. This is one blurp from this section, "Kirkham is in charge of unloading the dishwasher. All items must be put in their proper place including silverware and air dried items on the counter or in the oven." Simple but useful for grandma's and dad's who just don't know.
I also like to plan out a week's menu for them before I leave. Sometimes I make the meals ahead and have them ready in the freezer. Other times I just have the ingredients ready and waiting. Always I keep the menu simple enough for the kids to be able to do it with just a bit of supervision because grandma's get real tired by dinner time!
The schedule, map, chores and menu pretty much covers the nitty gritty of day to day life while I'm gone but I also like to include a short overview of our morning, after-school and evening routines. This helps babysitters know what the kids expect and will probably demand. In my morning routine I am sure to add things like, "check the girls hair before they leave for the bus". For the afternoon routine I remind them the the kids are "expected to put away their school stuff when they are done with homework". The evening routine pleads for them to remember to "close the chickens in the hen house before it gets too dark".
The second to last section in my vacation packet is a copy of our family phone list. The list includes the phone numbers of the kid's schools, doctors, dentists, our neighbors, our best friends and family cell phone numbers.
The last section is a section that no babysitter or grandma has ever used but I include it anyways just in case. It is the emergency medical release. Basically it states that the babysitter or grandma or whoever you name has permission to seek emergency medical care for the kids while I'm gone. I sign it and date it and leave the kids medical cards with it. Like I said no one has ever needed it and hopefully no one ever will but it is a super important piece of paperwork to include.
Ok, packet is done and I'm outta here!