According to the Department of Defense, there are about two million American children in military families and of that figure, approximately 200,000 of them have a parent who is deployed. It can be quite difficult for these children, especially if they are very young. However, described below are some great ways to help them cope.
First of all, it is essential for you to maintain your kids’ daily routines as much as possible. Children depend on regular routines to feel a sense of security. As such, be sure to keep up with your regular morning schedules, daily chores, homework schedules, household rules, dinner times and bed times.
Talk to Your Kids
Secondly, make sure that you are always available to your children should they need to talk to you. Listen to your kids while they speak with you about their concerns, fears and feelings. Try to reassure them without minimizing what is happening or how they are feeling. Make a countdown calendar with your kids and let them mark off each day until the deployed parent returns.
Keep Your Kids Busy
It is never healthy to sit around the house feeling sad, whether it is you or your kids. With that said, encourage your kids to be active. Take them to a movie, the beach or the zoo. Play a board game together or take a dip in the pool. Go to the library and let your kids check out some books. The possibilities are limitless.
Create a Welcome Home Gift
One great way to help kids cope with military deployment of a parent is to create a welcome home gift for the deployed parent. Let all of your kids help with the gift in one way or another. Choose a gift that will take several days or weeks to create. Just a few gift ideas include picture collages, scrap books, banners and home movies.
These are just a few effective ways to help kids cope with the deployment of a parent. Deployment of parents can be extremely hard on children; however, these useful tips can help. Always keep in mind though, that the best way to help your kids cope is to show them your love and support each and every day.