Tips to Help Military Families Cope During Deployment
Deployment is a challenging time for both members of the military and their families. For children of servicemen and women, deployments can mean months without a parent or authority figure around.
November is Military Family Month, and the YMCA offers the following tips to help children of military families cope while loved ones serve overseas.
Avoid the Countdown
Try not to focus on the expected homecoming date of a loved one serving overseas as these dates can change. Instead, emphasize how mom or dad will be home once the work is done.
Give a Geography Lesson
Using maps and books to learn more about the place or region where the parent is stationed will empower children and provide some comfort.
Family Ties that Bind
Help children stay connected during separation by building holiday care packages for the parent and taking advantage of services like United Through Reading that videotapes a parent reading their child’s favorite book or the Armed Services YMCA’s Operation Kid Comfort program that provides a personally handcrafted quilt or pillow.
Monitor the Media
News stories can scare or alarm children, keep an eye on their media exposure and be prepared to answer questions prompted by what they see and hear.
Take Advantage of the Internet
Utilize Facebook, Skype and other chat services to keep in touch with the parent in real-time. This will let children know their parent is safe while providing important bonding time.
Find Time for You
When a loved one is away, the remaining caregiver takes on the brunt the family responsibilities. This can be stressful, and many YMCAs offer free memberships through the Military Outreach Initiative and child care through the Respite Child Care program that provide additional support to keep the body and mind healthy.
Fairview Lake YMCA Camps is a branch of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. For more information on how about military family support at the Y, call or visit your local YMCA branch. Because the Y is for all, financial assistance is available to eligible individuals and families who want to participate in Y programs.