Long Deployments & Children....

Ivy - posted on 06/16/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )

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You see my hubby has already deployed once but it was before we had our son and he was gone less than 6 mths. Now we will be going to a new duty station where he will be gone for at least 12 mths. Our son is 18 mths now and will be almost 3 when my hubby actually leaves. We had it pretty good the last deployment with being able to talk almost everyday either by phone or webcam/internet. Not sure if that will be the case this go around. So my question is how do I deal with our son not seeing his Daddy for a year? He will be talking more by then - will he have questions? How do I explain it to a toddler? In know I can handle it, I am used to him being gone here and there for various training, schools, etc... But since our son has been born my hubby hasn't really left anywhere for longer than a week. Thanks1

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Ashley - posted on 07/04/2009

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we tell our kids that daddy is out saving the world we have told them this for 6 years and they know that daddy is safe and is out keeping them safe.

To help with any separation problems that you kids might go through try this it might help you out I never hurts to be prepared this works for wife’s to

i did this for my kidos go and get a pic of hubby in uniform and shrink it down About 1 inch and get 50-100 (you need enough to cove the amount of days he will be gone) copy’s made laminate and cut out gat a pic of a tank, ship, sub of air craft ( what ever he is on or branch he or she is in) and blow it up to about 1 foot by 2 feet then place daddy on the photo lets say daddy is gone 30 days then place 30 daddy’s on there and have your kids pull one daddy down a day tell you have one daddy left that way they can count down how many days daddy will be gone and when he will be home you can also make a daddy pillow take a photo to Wal-Mart or where ever and they can put it on a pillow or you can do it at home with the kids and have them pace the photos on there just get the iron on’s stuff form the craft store it helps out when daddy is gone my kids love doing this and we have done this since they were 2years they are 5&6 now i hope this helps you out some what

Priscilla - posted on 06/29/2009

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Luckily at that age, he wont have much of a concept of time. Of course he'll ask for daddy and ask questions, but just keep reminding him that daddy will be home soon. When DH left the first time the girls were 3.5, almost 3 and I was preg with our youngest. It was hard on them but we kept really busy, lots of going out/playing, taking trips to visit family, it makes time pass by a LOT faster.

Lorie - posted on 06/28/2009

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My husband is on deployment now and I have a 3 year old and a 15 month old. I hung up a map of the world and put push pins in the spot where he is stationed and where we live. That way when they start asking for daddy, we go to the map and I can show them where daddy is. Of course my youngest doesn't understand much but my 3 year old does, so I just tell him that daddy is away working a special job and that daddy loves him from far away. Good luck and stay strong!

[deleted account]

Another idea for you that might help is my husband had put his voice in the bears at build a bear. He left a message for each of my girls and I even got a bear. It helped a lot this last deployment. Just things like how much he loved them and told them to hang in there he would be home soon. Whatever your husband would normally say toy our son. Hope this helps some, good luck and know you are not alone we are here for you.

Tina

[deleted account]

Before my husband left for his 12 month duty in Iraq, he also recorded himself reading bedtime stories onto a dvd. We watch one chapter each night while I have our daughter wrapped in one of his shirts that I made him wear just before leaving (that would capture his scent). Watching the dvd helps me as much as it amuses her. Have him record messages for you to play during certain times (like birthdays and holidays, or just any day). I can't help with explaintions to a toddler since our baby is far from that stage, and my husband will be home before it, but I would suggest talking about daddy's job and whwat he does. It might help if daddy could send pictures of where he lives and what he's doing (within military descretion, of course).

Sarah - posted on 06/18/2009

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For the deployment when our son was about 2, we made Daddy TV before he left with videotape of him playing with our son around the house and in the yard. Just normal everyday stuff, really, but it was a favorite of my son's to watch during the deployment and helped him feel connected. We also recorded Ben reading several bedtime stories, so sometimes our son could have Daddy's bedtime stories. And we invented "Daddy kisses" - a special sequence of kisses to the cheeks, hands and forehead followed by a growling neck nuzzle and a bear hug. That way the kids got Daddy kisses at bedtime every night, even if they were delivered by Mom.

Younger kids don't have a great sense of time, which makes it a lot easier on parents I think. As long as you keep him present in your everyday lives either through conversations about him or Daddy TV, it should go well, especially since it sounds like you've got a great attitude about it.

[deleted account]

We've been in over 20 years with various deployments (a few weeks to 6 months at a time). Our kids have gotten used to Dad's job on subs because they grew up with it. It's never easy but keeping busy can help pass the time. While Dad was away I made sure to talk about him often to the kids and keep pictures around for them to see. We always made a big deal about homecoming (all of us getting involved in banner making, welcome home party, dressing up to meet the boat, countdown calendars, etc). It took a couple of day before the kids got used to Dad being around again but that's normal for toddlers. We tried to do a lot of family activities while he was home to give the kids not only something to remember while he was gone but something to look forward to when he retuned. The kids will adjust to the schedule and make the best of it the same way wives do. Hang in there and take one day at a time.

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