10 Tips for Surviving a Military Deployment with Children #ConnectDuracell #Sponsored

10 Tips for Surviving a Military Deployment with Children #ConnectDuracell #Sponsored

This review was made possible by iConnect and Duracell. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions are 100% mine.

10 Tips for Surviving a Military Deployment with Children #ConnectDuracell #Sponsored

Are you currently a military spouse or service member? Do you often wish that you didn’t have to miss out on important milestones or connecting with your child during a deployment? Deployments are not only hard on the service members but your family members have to adjust to your long term absence too. Your spouse has to step up and be the supporting role model for the family for the entire length of your deployment. While you are gone you not only miss your family but you also miss many important events or milestones in your child’s life.

Today, I wanted to share 10 tips on how to find ways to continually connect with each other during deployments. I was a former military spouse for several years and went through a deployment when my older son was a baby.

Take Time Off Before and After your Deployment

If it is possible, try to take some time off before your scheduled deployment so that you can spend some much needed quality time with your family before you leave. During your time off, make sure that take the time to connect with your children and even talk to them about your upcoming deployment. Don’t forget to take as many photos as you can so that you can look at them.

Also when you come home from your deployment, you will want to make sure that you spend plenty of time with your family first. Giving your family first dibs on your time is super important even if friends and other family members want to see you. This will give you plenty of time for you to adjust and your family to adjust having you home again.

Print Out Family Photos

As you are sifting through the family photos, print a bunch of them off using your printer or send them to the photo lab. Hide the photos around the house so that your family will continue to find them while you are gone.

Also, you can even hide a few photos in your solider’s gear before he leaves so that when he/she arrives at their destination they will have a small surprise too!.

Recruit Help From Relatives

Buy a few greeting cards or write a few fun letters in advance to your family. Then give them to a relative to send out at random times during your deployment. This way your family continues to get communication from you if you are in an area where sending snail mail is not easy. Plus, your spouse and children will love this idea.

Use Technology to your Advantage

Depending on where you are deployed to, you might be able to take a laptop or even get an international cell phone to take with you (some cell phone plans let you use your existing service plans overseas for a nominal charge). Technology would make it so much easier to be able to communicate with your spouse and family. Some areas have computers for you to use but they have to be shared by everyone in the unit.

If possible, take the time to schedule video chat sessions or send plenty of emails. I have heard that many family members often look forward to this special time despite huge time differences. The more often you can communicate with your family the easier it will be to reunite once your deployment is over. Just remember that with technology, there are things that could go wrong so don’t get too upset if something interrupts your scheduled communication session. Have a back up plan in case this happens.

Get a Voice Recorded Stuffed Animal

I wanted to share this testimony from Duracell because they recently had the honor to meet a military family in California. The young daughter showed them how she was able to have the comfort of her father’s voice during his deployment through a battery-powered recordable teddy bear. They were so moved by this family, that they made a film inspired by their story. See the video below (mascara alert).

Use Skype to Communicate with Your Family

Sign up for a skype account so that you can communicate with your family. Skype is a free and you can use it to send text messages, call your family, or even video chat. It was designed to connect families (and businesses) when they are apart for free or low cost. Simply log into a computer where ever you are deployed to and enjoy communicating with your family. If your in the field, this isn’t always an option.

Plan Ahead and Decide Now How to Handle Certain Situations

During your deployment, your spouse is going to have to make decisions that affect the entire family. However, if you talk about certain situations such as how much news exposure you will allow your children to watch while you are deployed. This is important especially if you are going to be deployed to an area where there are conflicts going on. Try to think of other things that you might need to talk about and work out the details in case you don’t have to opportunity to talk about the situation when it arises.

Don’t forget to talk to your children about where and why you are going to be gone for a long period of time. I think that it is super important to be open and honest with your children. After all, they are going to realize that you are gone once you leave. You don’t want your children to think that you left for good or abandoning them.

Keep your Family’s Routine

Children thrive on routine so it is very important that you continue to run the household the same way that you do when your spouse is at home. You should even continue to do fun things that you would normally do. Don’t be afraid to plan new things to do such as playing games, going for a walk, ect too!

Staying busy will help pass the time and keep you from getting depressed. Your kids are relying on your to be strong and carry the family while their daddy or mommy is away.

Find a Support System

Deployments can be super stressful but it doesn’t have to be. It is very important that you build a strong support system of people who are able to help you through the length of the deployment especially if you don’t have family nearby. If you don’t have very many friends, you can connect with other family members that have spouses who are deployed. Ask your spouse for the information prior to leaving in case you need help. Also, each base has family support services who can help you with just about anything that you might need.

Send Care Packages

Your spouse will enjoy getting small care packages from home. Don’t forget to include the kids too! Here is a list of items that military soldiers enjoy getting:

  • hard candy (no chocolate since it melts)
  • toiletries
  • personal care items
  • baby wipes
  • books
  • batteries
  • drawings from the kids
  • letters
  • powered drink mixes
  • protein bars
  • snacks
  • card games
  • writing materials
  • scrapbook of photos
  • photos

Before mailing off your care package, check with your local post office to find out what restrictions there are when sending packages overseas. Most military families recommend numbering packages, if you mail more than one at a time. This allows them to know that there are multiple packages coming their way.

Interesting Deployment Facts

Here are a few interesting deployment facts:

  • Since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001, more than 2 million American children have had a deployed parent. Many of them have seen multiple deployments: 3, 4, or even 5 family separations.
  • A major issue that children have during a military deployment is the void that opens when they lose their parent’s daily affection and love. Recordable teddy bears, along with other battery-powered devices such as recordable storybooks provide reliable comfort no matter when or where their parent is deployed.

Help Support Military Families

In honor of all of the families who stand beside our troops, Duracell wants to power more comforting moments for loved ones through a donation of $100,000 to USO’s Comfort Crew for Military Kids. Continue the conversation by sharing the film and find out how you can donate to the cause through the USO at http://www.uso.org/donate.

Connect with Duracell on Twitter and Facebook.

I was a former military spouse who survived a deployment with two children. It wasn’t easy but I am thankful that I had the opportunity and knowledge to share these tips with you. Thank you to all of the military families.

Photo Credit: Flickr via Creative Commons

Do you have any other tips for helping military families survive a deployment especially when there are children involved?

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20 responses to “10 Tips for Surviving a Military Deployment with Children #ConnectDuracell #Sponsored”

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) Avatar
    Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I have been there and it’s definitley not easy! I think it’s important to know you’re not alone.

  2. Heather Avatar

    I know some military families, I know how hard it can be for them. These tips would be great for them.

  3. Alli Avatar

    These are all great tips, especially hiding the photos around the house and sending photos with your loved one for them to discover later. Skype has really helped in this, as well. I love the idea of having a recording of a parent’s voice. I’m sure it’s comforting for the children.

  4. Christy Maurer Avatar

    I have never been through this myself, but I know several people who have. It is definitely not easy, but having support around you is essential! You don’t need to do it all your own! I love the teddy bear idea 🙂

  5. Erinn S Avatar
    Erinn S

    I love the ideas of care packages. That is such a great way to feel connected

  6. lisa Avatar

    These are all great tips. I have had a few friends whose spouses had to deploy and it is very difficult on everyone, especially the children.

  7. Emily Avatar

    I was 10 when my 19 year old brother joined the army. It was so hard being away from him for such long periods of time even as a sibling, I can’t imagine being the child of someone in the military. It’s so great that you’ve come up with several ways to make it a bit easier on the kids – I’m sure every little bit helps.

    1. Fariha N. Avatar

      Wow, I can’t imagine my older brother or sister being deployed. That must have been so hard on you as a child. I agree that it’s great to make it easier on the kids involved.

  8. Tiaras & Tantrums Avatar

    these area ll great tips – I am not in the military and neither is my husband . . . we actually don’t even have any friends that are military – I don’t know how families do ti

  9. Digna Avatar

    This is so sad, I wouldn’t wish deployment on any family. It helps that Skyping is available these days.

  10. Nina Say Avatar

    These are wonderful tips, and I’ve actually been looking for something just like this. I have a friend who I think this would be perfect for.

  11. Lalia @ Found Frolicking Avatar

    This list seems like a great resource for military families. I especially love the stuffed animal with the voice recording. What a sweet and sentimental idea!

  12. Mykidsguide Avatar

    I’m sure this is hard for them. These are great tips. It’s great that there are now so many ways to communicate with them.

  13. Lynndee Avatar

    We couldn’t be more thankful with the new technology. It surely bridges the distance. Since I got here in the U.S., we’ve been using Skype to communicate with my family back home.

  14. CourtneyLynne Avatar

    Omg I seriously don’t know if I could deal with spousal deployment! All you wives out there dealing with this omg you are so brave and strong!

  15. Helena Avatar

    I watched the video and it was certainly a tear-jerker. It portrays what so many families are going through–the pain of separation and the unknown. I think that is what makes deployment so much more difficult–not knowing 100% that your loved one will return in one piece or at all.
    These are all great tips for surviving deployment!

  16. Lauren Avatar

    I have no idea how families handle deployment, I would not be able to do that! Thank you for this absolutely beautiful post! I loved it!

  17. Erin Avatar

    I am so thankful this advice is out there. I have so many friends going through this!

  18. Krystal's Kitsch Avatar
    Krystal’s Kitsch

    I know that I love to send and receive care packages so that is a great tip. Printing out family photos is a great way to remember the fun times.

  19. Fariha N. Avatar

    These are great tips. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have a family member deployed. Thank you for sharing this.