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Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a long-awaited vacation, taking time away from the kids is a wonderful way for couples to reconnect. Not only does it offer the opportunity to focus on one another, but it also allows you to enjoy new foods, sights and experiences without having to worry about all the demands of little ones.

Speaking of worry—don’t. While it can be stressful wondering if the kids back home are okay, with a little planning and some help from today’s technology, you can put your mind at ease and enjoy your time away. Use these tips to ensure that the only baggage you bring along is packed with your vacation gear.

RELATED: 6 travel upgrades that are absolutely worth it (and a few that aren’t)

Put safety first

Kids are eating delicious italian ice cream at cafe in Rome, Italy. Kids aged 10 and 7 are visiting Rome on summer vacations.

Whether you’re leaving older kids home alone or you have a caregiver staying at your house, safety is likely your number one concern. And let’s face it, your kids rely on you to be their safety net when something goes wrong. Before you go, set up a safe environment, a back-up plan, and a way to keep an eye on things without the need for frequent phone calls.

  • When leaving older kids home alone, ask neighbors to keep an eye on the house and let you know if they see or hear anything concerning, from loud music late at night to alarms going off. Leave a spare set of keys with a trusted neighbor as well. Make a plan with the kids to text you when they get home from school, activities, or work.


  • Switch your door lock to a smart lock that uses a code for entry. Connect it to the WiFi and have it text you when kids get home. As a bonus, these locks can be set to automatically lock when people leave (via the proximity of their cell phones) or at a specific time of day or night.


  • Remind kids to turn off appliances, lights, and other electronics (especially those that may pose a fire hazard, like a curling iron) when they leave for the day. Better yet, connect lights and appliances to smart outlets, so you can monitor them from your smartphone. Trigger them to turn off when no one is home.


  • Make sure alcohol, medications, and any other potentially dangerous items are properly locked away before you leave. Use motion sensors on cabinets so you can receive alerts if they’re opened.


  • Use WiFi-enabled security cameras to monitor storage areas, entryways, and the exterior of the home. When motion is triggered in these areas, you can get text alerts. (Just be sure to respect the privacy of any caregivers and let them know that cameras are present.)


  • When your cameras and sensors are part of a full home security system, you can also have the system connect to a professional monitoring service, so the authorities will be alerted if alarms are triggered. These systems also have smart smoke and CO2 detectors, so you can receive text alerts if they go off.

Keep routines running

girl, kids

Scheduling is one of the more challenging aspects of parenting, especially with older kids, and it only gets more complicated if you’re trying to coordinate everything from afar. Having a plan (and a back-up plan) is essential for your ability to enjoy your trip. Here are some tips for keeping your kids’ days running smoothly while you’re gone.

  • Set up a paper calendar with all essential appointments, activities and school projects. Make extra copies to share with caregivers. Create a phone list of carpool drivers, friends’ parents, and other key contacts in case something falls through.


  • Create an online calendar with a to-do list and share it out with kids and caregivers. Set reminders on your smart speakers for the arrival of carpools and school buses so no one runs late. As a fun alternative, set smart lights to flicker on and off at specific times.


  • Have an emergency caregiver in case your primary caregiver is sick or injured. Let the kids know who they are and how to reach them.


  • Program important numbers into cell phones for older kids and into smart speakers for younger ones for voice-enabled calling. Create an account on a local grocery delivery service and make a shopping list that kids can quickly have delivered. Show teens how to use the app/service.


Stay in touch


You don’t want to spend your whole vacation tethered to home via your cell phone, but kids and parents alike want to check in with each other when they’re apart. Here’s how to stay in touch without cramping your vacation style.

  • Let kids know when you’ll be calling to check in and that you expect them to be available during those times.


  • Use your favorite video chat software to connect face-to-face. Find a multiplayer game app, like Minecraft or Words with Friends and take a few minutes to play together.


  • For kids who will have a difficult time with your absence, leave a few notes at home for them to discover or for caregivers to place in lunchboxes each day.


  • Create a photo sharing account or a basic blog page to post pictures and notes at the end of each day. Kids can check it to see what you’re up to and you’ll have a ready-made keepsake of the trip. For a more low-key approach, images on Instagram or other social media platforms are easily accessible to teens and caregivers. Make sure to coordinate in advance so you’re on a platform everyone can access.

Leaving kids home alone while you travel needn’t be stressful. With a little pre-planning and some smart solutions, your amazing getaway will be all about relaxation and together time.


Christy Matte is a mom of two and a Boston-based writer who covers home security for Xfinity Home. She is also a die-hard techie who blogs at 

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Christy Matte

Christy Matte

Christy Matte

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