How do I explain to my daughter that her dad will be gone for 12 days?

My husband is going to the Yukon for 12 days for work. How do I explain this to our 3 year old? She is a complete daddy’s girl and has zero concept of time/days.


You could tey the paper chains kids used to use for Christmas count downs. So she can see how many rings til her dad is home


My son quickly learned to adapt to his dad working away. 12 days 12 nightime stories to count down the sleeps till daddies home. Make them special books like dad could help her pick her pile​:woman_shrugging:t2::woman_shrugging:t2::woman_shrugging:t2:

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Use a calendar and put something on the day he comes back (like a big smiley face) and every morning, put an x through each day that you pass and tell her how many sleeps until daddy’s home. 3 year olds can grasp this concept surprisingly well.

Video calls, make a poster with her and every day/night put a sticker to count down the days till dad gets home, try and do little activities with her that’ll help distract her, get dad to send videos that’ll allow her to know that everything’s okay/dad is coming home soon/dad is excited to be back home with her

You could do like a kiss jar where you put Hershey kisses in and every night she gets one like a kiss from daddy and then that will help her count down the days 

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Perhaps make her a calendar of 12 sleeps and every morning she can cross it off until the happy day of return

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Talk about time in term of “sleeps.” Daddy is on a work trip earning money to help take care of us because he loves us very much. We have 12 sleeps until daddy comes home. Then talk about things that happen that she can tell daddy about when he gets home. Simple things. “Now we have 5 sleeps until daddy is home.” And, share stories with her about what he is doing or where he is.

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Just go about normal day and when she asked say he is working and do video chats.


Don’t try to explain. When she asks where he is just say at work. Don’t overcomplicate it.

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My 3 yr old is a daddy’s girl too he left for a week for work and she never asked about him lol

You don’t…he or both of you should

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My husband went to Portugal and Spain for 8 days back in April. We live in California so the time difference was 8 and 9 hours ahead. We just kept telling our 3 year old daddy is on a plane, she also is a daddy’s girl. She didn’t cry for him once. He FaceTimed and called when he could. Kids are stronger than you think. Just give her lots of extra hugs and cuddles on those 12 days. If she sleeps with you even better, she gets half the bed lol


My husband used to travel for work when my kids were little. About a week before he went, we’d start talking about it with them. We’d let them know that he was working far away and would have to sleep there for X amount of days, but was coming home. The night before he left, he would pack his bag right in front of them and answer any questions they had. He was also able to call every night and talk to them, so he’d let them know how many more days he’d be gone for. While he was away, we’d do fun things like, sleep in the livingroom, kids choice for supper, make crafts, and have a movie night. That way they also had something fun to look forward to. We’d also count down the days by circling the date he was coming home, and checking off the days leading up to it.


Make a calendar that is colourful get her to rip a piece of each day and maybe have a picture of her and him under each day so she gets to see a picture of them and get excited to see what will the next picture be, and she can also count the sleeps every night with her to how many are left until he is home.

Perfect opportunity to give her a glimpse into the concept of time! While 12 days may feel like eternity to a 3 year old, you can definitely make it easier by breaking it down. I would explain first (both of you) that daddy has to be away for work but focus on the fact that HE’S COMING BACK. Resist the urge to sugarcoat it because it can invalidate how she feels but don’t make it bigger than it needs to be. Tell her daddy will miss her just like you both will miss him and encourage her to come to you when she finds herself missing him more. If possible, try to have some kind of daily communication that she can look forward to. You can use that to help with the concept of time - “only 11 more FaceTime calls before you can hug daddy”.
You can also do a celebration outing before he leaves and another when he gets home.
Kids are way more resilient and adaptable than we give them credit for sometimes. But I love that you are thinking ahead about how this can be difficult for her because it shows that she’s going to be fine with her supportive mom!

Make a fun calender to count down the days!

Use a calendar or an App and count down days