Care Package for Kids: Open When…

When I was a kid my mom and dad went away a number of times.  Sometimes it was just a weekend trip and other times a few weeks to international lands!  It was always super fun because we had the best babysitters but I was also that kid who got really sad and missed them like crazy!

My mom would always leave me a little note for each day that they were gone.  I would open it in the morning and it was just a few words from her that made me feel connected and like I could get through another day without her.  Sometimes there would be little gifts too.  Not every day.  But sometimes!

So when I knew my boy was going to be away for 31 days I wanted to do something for him while he was gone.  I couldn’t do something for every day but even just for every few days so he felt connected to home and like we were thinking about him.  For the record, my son is a totally different child than I was and I’m pretty sure he’s not missing me at all but having the time of his life.  That said, even if these were more for me than him, this is what I did!

I found this idea online so please don’t credit me.  I just tweaked it a bit and made it my own!

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First, I went to the dollar store and bought a whole bunch of random cards.  Some were silly, some were birthday cards that I changed the wording of, some were encouraging and thinking of you type deals, and one played the music for the chicken dance!  (I couldn’t resist that one!)

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Next I came up with scenarios for when I would want him to open each card.  I included things like:

Open when: You’re missing home, You need a hug, You want to laugh, You’re in need of a good dose of sarcasm, You want to hear from your brothers, You’re not feeling well, You’re having a bad day, You’re having the best day ever, You feel defeated, You miss your puppy, etc.

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Then I wrote little notes in each card to go along with how he might be feeling.  Words of encouragement and support on a day when he’s feeling blue, or inside jokes that I know would make him laugh on days when he needs just that.  When he’s not feeling well I made a checklist of things for him to go through to figure out what’s up (drinking enough water, eating well, etc)  and some were just pure nonsense that I knew he would appreciate.

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I also got him a few little gifts.  Just  small things like silly putty and a new book, a whoopee cushion (never too old!!)  and some treats.  I wrapped those up and put little labels on them too.  A pack of Lifesavers to open when he needs help and a hacky sack when he’s feeling bored and needs something to do.

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I tucked them into his suitcase and told him where they were so he would find them upon his arrival!  I talked to him the other day and one of the first things he said was, “Mom, seriously, I opened the card that said ‘open when you need a hug’ and then inside you say, ‘sorry I can’t be there to give you a hug but…’  how is that fair?!  I thought I was going to get a hug and I was so let down!”

This is him being completely sarcastic and just how I like him.   It meant he was opening the cards and gifts and enjoying what they had to say inside!  I even had to tell him to maybe slow down or there won’t be any left for the last week!

All in all I think it worked out well and he’s really enjoying it so I wanted to share in case you have a child or loved one heading off somewhere and needed an idea of what to send along with them!

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