Parenting Tips for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers routinely spend weeks away from family and friends while they’re delivering loads all over the country. It can be easy to lose touch during those long stretches of time. If you’re a driver and a parent, you have the big challenge of staying involved in your kids’ lives when you’re away. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. With some creativity, OTR drivers who are parents can still be a big part of their kids’ lives when they’re not near them.
Luckily, we live in a time where technology helps us connect, talk, and even see people who are far from where we are.
- Facetime and Skype allow you to be present for your kids even if you’re not physically near them. Picture messages can help you see important schoolwork or documents. Truck drivers can spend hours alone as they drive, but they don’t have to be lonely. If you need to miss a child’s concert, athletic competition, or special event, see if you can find someone to Facetime it in real time. If you’re unavailable to Facetime, have someone record it so you can watch it later.
- A picture is worth a thousand words and sometimes, all you need is to see your kid’s face to cheer yourself up after a hard workday. Try to use Skype or Facetime as much as possible so you can connect face to face with them.
- Kids love getting snail mail, especially from a parent who’s far away. Pack pens, paper, stamps, and envelopes so you can send a letter when you’ve been on the road a while. Better yet, pick up a postcard from a state you’re traveling through and send it back home!
Making the Most of Your Time Home
You’ve just spent three weeks driving from coast to coast, and you’re ready to get home and relax. But your kids have soccer practice, ballet recitals, parent teacher conferences, play dates, and you’ve still got to get ready for your next trip out. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Prioritize the most important events that your family wants you to attend and create a schedule. Make sure there’s time for you to relax, get rest, and plan for your next trip, as well.
Involve Your Kids!
Sometimes it’s hard to get kids interested in your career, but truck driving is one that has some interesting ways to get your kids involved and thinking about it when you’re gone.
- Show your kids your truck. Open its hood to show them the engine or other parts. Then let them explore your cab. Maybe they will see a special spot you keep their picture or a memento of them. Finally, take them for a spin in your truck. Let your kid or kids see you work in action.
- Let them help you wash your truck or make small tune-ups.
- Planning your route can be a family activity. Grab a big map and show your kids where you will pick up and drop off your load. Together you can follow the route over the states and highways you’ll travel through along the way. You can also research interesting places you’ll see along your drive.
- Before you leave, give your kids a special job to do while you’re away. Kids can oversee tracking your progress on a map or getting everyone together for a nightly phone call with you. Make the jobs fun and use them to keep your kids interested in your career.
The more your kids know about being a truck driver, the more interesting your communication with them will be when you’re on the road.
Professional truck driving jobs are expected to expand at a high rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A truck driver’s salary and independence make the profession a great option for a career. However, if you’re a single parent, the profession may have a few obstacles that you need to overcome before you go on the road.
- Make sure you have a strong support system at home before you take off on the road. Have family or a trusted guardian to take care of and watch over your kids when you’re away. You’ll have peace of mind that your kids are in good hands.
- Take some time to evaluate when is the best time to jump into a trucking career. If you have small children at home, it may be a good idea to wait until your kids get older before you become a professional truck driver. The trucking industry is stable and always in need of new drivers.
Being a trucker and parent has some unique challenges, but there are ways to keep your kids involved in career. How do you manage your truck driving career while having kids?