8 Ways to Support your Military Kid Through Deployment

Everyone living in the home of a service member is affected by their deployment.

And while I have plenty of resources to support YOU through deployment, I wanted to focus on our military kids today.

Please remember: no one is perfect. Your parenting will never be “perfect”.

So, take what resonates with you & what will work for your family. Just leave the rest behind.

1. Allow open and honest communication

Kids have endless questions, and a lot of times the answer really is “I have no idea”.

Of course, there may be things you decide to hold onto (such as exact return dates or if they are in a dangerous place). Trust yourself – you know what is best for them.

Just like you, they are allowed to be worried or nervous or miss their parent.

2. Utilize words of affirmation

This one is for your kids AND you.

Write down a few things that you know to be true and put them up somewhere you’ll see them often.

“Mom loves us even though we’re far apart”

“Dad and I are connected even over the ocean”

“I am loved and supported always”

An INCREDIBLE (and free!) app for affirmations is the Slumberkins app, and it covers all sorts of topics, from staying connected to welcoming gratitude.

3. Listen

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is to just sit and listen.

Let them talk about their day, what they’re feeling…whatever they want. You simply sit and actively listen to them.

I’ve heard of parents choosing to have a walking date with each of their kids, where you walk around the neighborhood together and the conversation is led by the child.

However this works for you, go for it! Maybe it’s a chat on the way to school or before bed.

4. Consider outside support

This can look like joining a playgroup, finding a family therapist, dropping them off at friends home’s…

This could also mean choosing to live with a family member or flying someone out to help you.

There is not, and should never be, shame associated with asking for help.

You are strong, but you are also absolutely allowed to ask for help when you need it.

Other things to consider: hiring a nanny, looking into childcare options, day camps, and

5. Get them a comfort stuffed animal

Having something to cuddle with, sleep with, and carry around is so impactful for some kids.

My kids are obsessed with their Slumberkins, and here’s why – not only are the so snuggly, but their Otter comes with a detachable heart to give to the deployed parent.

The Otter and Fox are both absolutely perfect for deployment, but so many of their other kins would work, too.

And I highly recommend getting the kins with the matching books, because it also opens the door for communication, positive self-talk, and understanding big feelings.

6. Consider making a deployment wall

A great visual way to remember the deployed parent is a deployment wall!

It can include whatever you want – whether that means adding a countdown chain, maps, clocks, or pictures.

For more ideas, read this blog post!

7. Give them focused time with you

Again, going back to the idea of listening, find time for your kids. Individually if you can.

Show them that they are important. It does not have to cost anything.

And although it may feel difficult, especially if you don’t get to talk often, let them talk to the deployed parent by themselves.

Obviously do what feels right for you & your situation. Just remember that they are a person with feelings, too!

8. Have the deployed parent record books

Use Make Momentos to create lasting memories for your little ones!

We had Chase read our kids Becca Johnsey’s book “When We Are Apart” and it made my heart melt!

8. Take care of you too

Your children are hugely affected by how you are doing.

Please, please care for yourself.

I know deployments are roller coasters of emotions. From changed dates to anxious feelings about a missed call…you are not alone.

If you feel so inclined, I highly recommend my poetry book, which talks about all of those feelings and more.

I know it’s hard. You can do it.

For other encouragement & relatable deployment content, check out these blog posts.

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