Posted on Jan 30, 2014
LTC Critical Care Nurse
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<p>Does anyone have any tips or neat ideas for staying connected to wife, and small children 8, 4, and 2 yrs/old on a year long mobilization?&nbsp; I leave in a few months and wanted to try to get some ideas.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p>I want to use this information for myself, but I want other soldiers to learn tips also.&nbsp;&nbsp; Thanks for the suggestions received so far.</p>
Posted in these groups: C92a59d8 Family
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SSG Matthew Thomas
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Before I left for each deployment I made several videos at home for each of my three girls. Reading books, doing crafts, anything they enjoyed doing. I did this so if they wanted to see me or hear me they could. Happy Birthday videos. Before my last deployment my then 7 year old gave me a stuffed animal to take. She said it would keep me safe. I would take pictures of it everywhere, HMMWV, in my tent, on a berm or Hesco. She told me it helped her with the separation.
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LTC Richard Becker
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A lot of mine are centered on technology (Facetime, Skype, etc.)  However, this can be a double edged sword.  If my wife and I talk everyday, we soon run out of things to talk about after the obligatory "what did you do today, how are the kids, etc."  The last time we were seperated, we would still facetime daily, but we wrote an ongoing letter to each other that had our thoughts during the quiet times.  This became a really fun gift to each other when we reunited.  Now we have those journals that we can look through and remind ourselves of different feelings and events that help to strengthen our relationship even now, years later.

 

For my daughter, when I am home, it's my job to tuck her in and read her a bedtime story.  I was very lucky that through skype and a coincidental schedule, I could continue that while we were seperated.  That definitely helpe keep us close while we were so far apart.

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LT Jessica Kellogg
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 http://www.militaryonesource.com has some great ideas for helping kids cope with a parent being gone for an extended period.

You could video record yourself reading to your kids.

You and your oldest could make a "deployment wall (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/ [login to see] 1744118/)

You could get a "daddy doll" (huggee miss you makes nice ones) so that you can still go with the family on trips or to events. 

For your wife, when my husband has been deployed, we rely primarily on email, plus phone or FaceTime calls from the different ports. But I really like getting tangible mail, it somehow can mean more than email.  Even something little like a postcard saying "I miss you, I'll see you soon" can mean the world. 
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SSG Matthew Thomas
SSG Matthew Thomas
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Not trying  to plug a company but Build a Bear has a record feature inside the Bears
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