Thursday, 5 September 2013

Toddler Play: Explaining Absence

On Wednesdays, Miss 2 usually spends the day with her paternal grandparents. They come over late the night before and stay until bedtime the next day. Miss 2 and Grandpa have a special routine, which involves her waking him up in the morning and helping him eat his breakfast and helping him drink his juice. Then they walk to the newsagent to buy the newspaper, and to the bakery to buy a monkey face. They play in the park on the way home before morning tea. Then there is story time, nap time, lunch time, more story time, train time...

Sadly for Miss 2, Grandma and Grandpa are currently on a 8 week holiday around Europe. And for a little person, it is hard to comprehend how far away they are and how long it will be until they come home. On the way home on the second Tuesday after they left (the first, we were also away on holidays, so routines were a bit out), Miss 2 started asking if Grandpa would be coming over tonight. And I tried to explain that he wasn't and that he wouldn't be for a long time. But she resorted to "calling him" on the telephone several times a day to ask if he would like to come over tomorrow.

I used this same toddler calendar when Darren was overseas for an extended period before Miss 2 was one year old. Simply draw a grid on a sheet of paper and number the boxes. Then get some stickers, or a small picture of the person who is away with some blu tack on the back.

Put it up on a wall or the fridge and each morning, ask your little one to put a sticker on the number of days remaining until their loved one comes home. 53 days is a long time for a toddler to comprehend, but having a visual aid is really helpful.

Do you have any good ways of helping toddlers cope with the short-term absence of a loved one? Catch up with some more toddler play, art and cooking ideas.


  1. I've been scrolling through your blog and I love your toddler activities. The color sorting mail box is great as is teaching calendar skills.

    1. Thanks for having a look around, Julie :-)