For over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers, being away from your kids can be tough. At times, you may feel like you’re missing out even though you’re earning money to help support your family.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to feel like that. In this era of technology, there are tons of high-tech ways to stay close with your kids even if you’re physically far away. Plus, many of the low-tech solutions from the old days still can be a huge help.
Here are some of the new-school and old-school ways that you, as an OTR trucker, can stay connected with your kids from the road:
Sending postcards from specific places you’ve visited can help make your kids feel like they’re traveling with you. They’ll be able to keep up with your travels and see some of the same sights you’re seeing out on the road. Postcards are simple and quick and can be fun for your kids to collect while you’re away and talk to you about when you get back.
2. Handwritten Letters
Handwritten letters take a little more time than postcards, so you may not be able to send them as often, but they really are worth the time it takes to write them. Letters can take on a personal, funny, thoughtful or any number of other tones. You can offer advice for your kids to apply to their lives or tell longer stories from the road about all the fun or interesting things that are happening out there.
Plus, handwritten letters are something your kids can hang onto and read whenever they miss you. You may even find that, if you’re really sincere and genuine when writing, the kids might just hang onto the letters for years and years to come.
Like postcards, the key here is to send souvenirs that are unique to the places you’ve visited. Rather than just picking up a t-shirt with a place’s name on it, think seashells from California or a cowboy hat from Texas. Then, you can send it home as a surprise in the mail or you can deliver it yourself and kick off your next home time visit with a gift that starts a conversation.
4. Text/Phone/Video Chat
Texts, phone calls and video chats are an easy way to stay up on all the latest news from your kids’ lives, and to keep them posted about your daily news from the road. One of the advantages these options have that letters and postcards don’t, obviously, is that they’re instant. Plus, the kids can hear your voice (over the phone) and even see your face (through video chat), and you can hear and see them, too.
This should go without saying, but make sure to stay safe by NOT texting, calling or video chatting while driving. Instead, wait until you’re safely stopped and you have some time, like during lunch or right before bed.
5. Social Media
One word: Facebook.
After all, it’s how most people stay connected with friends and family who are far away. It’s a great way to share photos and leave messages without necessarily having to coordinate as far as timing, which is especially useful if you’re in a different time zone.
Handling Home Time
OK, so, home time isn’t exactly “from the road.” You’re already together, so it seems like a no-brainer that you get to bond with your kids while you’re there. But, don’t take home time for granted. Instead, recognize it as a great way to build your connection with your kids so that your home time memories are strong enough to last far beyond the visit itself. A great visit home can carry you through your time on the road until you make it back the next time.
There are two main points to remember when it comes to making the most of your home time:
6. Do Something Memorable
Experiences probably will leave a much more lasting impact in your kids’ minds than gifts will. Take your kids to a baseball game or the zoo, or throw the football around, race go-carts or just spend time playing games or doing whatever the kids are interested in doing.
It can be tough when all you want to do is unwind, but put yourself in your kids’ shoes and realize that they’ll probably have a much more memorable time if you actively engage them instead of just sitting around the house.
7. Be There For The Important Moments Whenever Possible
Don’t make promises you can’t keep, but it’s important to make a real effort to be there for the big days in your kids’ lives. For example, if you can rearrange your home time to coincide with your son’s or daughter’s birthday, recital or sports game, that could have a bigger impact in terms of building your connection with your kids than being home for a random set of days might have.
Basically, it’s like they say: In life, timing is everything.
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