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Helping children deal with the military deployment of a parent

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

When it comes to dealing with a deployment, it can be hard on the parents, but the children are the ones who don't understand. No matter what age your child is they are going to miss their parent and want them there. Going through a deployment as the parent at home can be hard, but these ideas helped my children to get through it and can help yours too. These tips will help your child to deal with the deployment in the best way possible.

1. Pictures - You can never have too many pictures up. Give your child a picture of daddy to keep in their room. They even make stuffed animals with places to put a picture on them. Let them look at photo albums or pictures any time they want to see them.

2. Story books - You can buy books where you can record your own voice reading the story. These are amazing to make for a child before the parent leaves on deployment. You can also set up a video camera and record mommy reading a story before she leaves. They can watch these instead of being read a bed time story.

3. Map or Globe - Get yourself a map or globe so that you can look at where daddy is at when the kids ask about it. If you don't want to buy one, just use one online. You can even show them what the weather is like and what time it is where the parent is deployed.

4. Letters from Home - Of course the deployed soldier loves getting letters and pictures from home, but remember it helps the kids to write them as well. It will make them happy to know that they are sending something to their parent. They will love knowing that they will put a smile on that person's face as soon as they open the package. Let them pick out special candy or items to put into care packages.

5. Make a Countdown Chain - You can sit down together and cut out pieces of paper. Make them into a chain similar to the ones you see counting down the days until Christmas. Tape it up somewhere in the house. You can take one piece off it every day until daddy comes home. This helps them understand how much time is left and it is also a fun activity they will look forward to each day.

6. Keep Them Busy - Deployment is a great time to make a trip to grandmas or to spend a little extra time at the park. Find activities to keep your children busy that will keep their mind off missing one of the most important people in their lives.

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