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Month of the Military Child – Handling Closeness During Deployment

Month of the Military Child - Handling Closeness During Deployment

For military families, few things are as difficult as leaving our children at home while on deployment. As April was the Month of the Military Child, I wanted to address something that is often on the minds of members of the military – handling closeness during deployment. Regardless of when you’re reading this, I think the ideas you find below could help you to feel a little bit closer to your family even while you’re away.

 

  1. Make videos for your children for while you are away. In the era of smart phones, filming quick clips is easier than ever before. If you know that you will be leaving for six months, you could film a batch of 1-2 minute clips before you leave that your children can play while you’re gone. If several videos aren’t possible, at least film enough of you that they can see you daily, and hear your voice.

 

  1. Be honest and upfront with them about the fact you will be gone. They need to hear from you that you will be gone with a full explanation as to why. Leaving without explaining it could lead them to fear they did something wrong, or that they have been abandoned completely.

 

  1. Write letters if you can, and encourage them to write notes to you too. Allow your children to write you a note every time they miss you, or just want to tell you about how their day was. Besides, while you’re away receiving a care package filled with love notes and updates could give you a boost of happiness, while helping you to feel like you’re not missing everything.

 

  1. Film big moments of things happening at home. The parent or guardian caring for the child or children can snap quick videos on their smart phone, and if possible load as an unlisted clip on Youtube for easy sending via email. And, some military units allow people to have Facebook profiles now, so you can send private messages that way too.

 

  1. Take advantage of Skype sessions as much as possible. On leave days and/or moments where you can squeeze in a quick video call, schedule them and give your complete attention during the call.

Additional ideas to maintain closeness include

– a stuffed animal that represents you

– a framed picture of you that they can hold and talk to

– a map that lets them track where you are (if you can say

Deployment isn’t always easy on families. However, with a little planning, and a bit of effort, you’ll maintain closeness and be back home before you know it. I would also just like to add a special thank you to all military personnel and their families for their service and sacrifice. You’re sincerely appreciated. Thank you!

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