One of the most difficult things about deployment is the waiting, and more often than not, military wives and moms find themselves slowly counting the days before their husband finally returns home from deployment. Sadly, everyone knows that the more you count the days, the longer they seem to be, and it seems like hours stretch into days and days stretch into weeks.
The wait is agonizing for moms, but it’s even more agonizing for the kids. Many children will be unable to process the thought of their parent leaving, and some might even think they’re to blame for their mom or dad’s departure. The important thing to do is to keep your kids feeling loved and cared for, and to communicate openly about the events going on in the family.
Keeping your kids informed on matters relating to your husband’s deployment is essential if you want to minimize stress and anxiety. More than this, however, kids need to feel involved, and to feel as though they’re still connected to their deployed parent in some way, even though they’re miles apart.
If you’re struggling to find ways to help your children pass the time, consider undertaking some simple projects that not only help them keep track of the days before their daddy comes home, but also give you a great gift to send to the hubby who’s missing his kids on the other side of the world. Creative handiwork and craft-making has been proven to lower stress levels and help kids stay positive, and it might just be what the kids need to help them express them and get in touch with their feelings.
Recognizing the wonderful effects that craft-making can have on children; various organizations have begun making strides to get more kids into making crafts. Many parents will remember the Disney Channel’s Art Attack, a show that taught kids to make creative and fun projects right from home. Companies like Molly-Meg have also made it a point to hold a series of make-and-do workshops to help kids get into crafting things with their hands.
Many different corporations have also recognized the benefits that allowing kids to be creative can have. Mommy Poppins lists various activities in the New York area that allow kids to make their own Muppets, cars, and even Madame Alexander Dolls. Childrenswear brand Tootsa has also released denim dresses with iron-on patches that parents can use to help kids customize their dresses and add their own personal flare. Child’s Own takes things a step further by allowing children to draw and design their own plushies, and then bringing them to life. There are many benefits to creating crafts with your kids, and undertaking craft projects might be just what you need to get through the stresses of deployment. It’s also important to note that taking part in shared activities with your kids and being more involved in their lives can help them take their minds off of missing their deployed parent. If you find yourself strapped for ideas, then try out these fun-and-easy projects you can undertake with your kids as you eagerly await your hubby’s return:
Let your child send a hug to the deployed parent by taking some rolls of paper and having them lie on their backs with arms outstretched! You might need to help them stay still as you trace over them with pencils, but try to make sure you also trace through their fingers. Afterwards, trace over the outline with a sharpie, and let your child design and decorate their hug as they see fit. Cut out the hugs and have them scribble a letter on the arms, and send away!
2. The Kisses
Keep some chocolate Kisses in a small tin, with one kiss representing each day that the deployed parent will be away. As each day passes, give your child one of the Kisses, and together, you can watch the days pass by as the number of chocolates in the tin decreases. This will probably be the first time your child will be excited to see that you’re almost out of chocolate!
3. The Memory Box
One of the things your child might miss the most about not having his or her dad around is being able to talk to them about the things they did and how their days are. Together, you can help your kids keep track of all the things that they want to tell their dad once he gets back. Just take any ordinary box, decorate it, and every day, and put an item of significance (or a note!) in the box. Once daddy comes home, he can open the box and go through the items inside with your child, and recall all the things he’s missed while he was deployed.
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