Being a member of the military is honorable, but at times it can be difficult. Sometimes the most difficult aspects of serving our country are managing a family while being on active duty. Having young children when you receive your deployment orders can be stressful for everyone in the family. Speaking with your children about their worries is helpful, and makes the process a little easier.
Tips to Help Children Cope with Deployment
Address safety issues
If your child is worried about your deployment, sit them down and have an honest conversation. Let them know where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing there, and the protection you’ll have to keep safe.
- Address their concerns – A young child may not fully understand why you have to travel so far away, and this may scare them. Giving them an idea of what you have to do and where you have to go can help.
- Children may feel unsafe – Because you are going away, your child may not feel completely secure. Let them know that they have a support system in place of people who love them and will care for them. Encourage your child to speak their mind about how they feel about the situation, as it could help them cope.
Provide important information
Young children may not comprehend where you have to go, and giving them honest information may make them feel better about your deployment.
- Show them where you are going – If you are traveling far away, give your child some perspective by showing where you’ll be on a map. Whether it’s Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany or the South Pacific, a little perspective can help relieve the sting of your going away.
- Explain how long you will be away – If you are leaving for a tour, letting them know when you might return could help them feel better. They may be able to count down the days or weeks on the calendar to when you will reunite. You can all look forward to being happily together in the future.