Month of the Military Child – Deployment Resources for Children

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. 
~Frederick Douglass

April is Month of the Military Child. Since Huzzy and I don’t have children, I put out a call for guest bloggers to help out. I originally wanted to do a guest blogger every Monday, but I had so many fantastic responses that you’ll see a guest blogger every Monday and Thursday!

My fourth guest blogger is fellow Navy wife Sailors Princess from My Life as a Navy Wife. She has been married to “hubs” and  a navy wife for 5 years now and is currently going through her 2nd deployment, with their first child “D” who is 2 ½ years old.

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We are finally at our half way mark of this deployment. This is D’s first deployment, and mine and hubs 2nd. Having a 2 ½ year old who  doesn’t really understand why the ‘guy who lives with us occasionally” is gone for longer than the usually 2 to 3 weeks has been difficult but we are managing just as fine as we can. We have tried to get into a schedule, but anyone with a toddler knows how hard that can be. We’ve been keeping busy with church, friends and other activities. But that doesn’t help when we miss daddy.

Thankfully there is a program that is available called United through Reading, where service members can record DVD’s of themselves reading books to their children. The DVD’s get sent home to the families or even given to the families before they deploy so that the children can read with Daddy or Mommy. It has been so awesome for us because we have a couple of the books that daddy read and D can try to follow along. It’s nice for us because we can watch daddy

whenever D wants to and daddy even makes some comments to D as if he is talking to him directly. D has been asking to watch the video when he misses his daddy and enjoys looking through the book that daddy read to when he’s not watching it. Hubs did one during our first deployment when I was pregnant, and I played the video for my belly. It was nice to see him while I was hormonal and missing him.

I can’t imagine how those military families who came before the wonderful invention of Skype did it, but I have so much respect and admiration for them. But we have the option of being able to Skype with daddy too when he is in port. Sometimes D will really talk, but other times he just wants to make faces at daddy because daddy makes faces at him. But for those few minutes that he gets to see daddy face to face will make his day.

We also received a kit from our Family Readiness Group that came from the USO called With You All the Way. It had a DVD, a bear that you can dress up, some post cards to send to the deployed parent, a journal for older kids to keep track of their deployment thoughts in, and a caregiver guide. D didn’t really know what to think about the bear, but it is a great kit for kids who are older than D .Also available from Military One Source or a local Family Support Center is a video by Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop called Talk, Listen, Connect that deals with issues about deployment, changes, and homecoming. It’s a great video for young kids with their favorite Sesame Street characters. 

I know that that nothing can compare to having a parent home, but there are many options out there to help children along the way and try to ease some of the deployment stress. I hope that everyone can find what works well with their children and survive and kick the butt of their deployment.

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