Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre

OP Family Readiness - May 2020

Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre, Welcome Package 2016

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WHAT CAN PARENTS DO? HELPING YOUR CHILD ADJUST Children may react to a parent's deployment as they would a more permanent separation. They may worry about what will happen to them and be afraid that the parent at home will leave, as well. The following are ways to help: • Keep to your pre-deployment routines as much as possible. Children find comfort in routines, whether it means bedtime stories, a silly song in the morning or watching a Friday night movie with you • .Talk about the deployed parent. Share as much information as appropriate about the parent's deployment. Answer your child's questions honestly but in an age-appropriate way. • Try to understand your child's fears. If your child seems afraid, ask what is making him scared. If your child is afraid for your family member's safety, you can talk about all of the training service members undergo to help them be safe. • Be consistent with discipline. Your child may test you to see if you'll bend the rules with one parent gone. You may be tempted to give in; but what your child needs now is a sense of stability. • Plan special outings or activities on days when your partner would usually be home. Do something special on weekends or holidays. Even a simple picnic or art project can give children something to look forward to and keep their minds off a parent's absence. Keeping the child busy during deployment make the time passes by for them quicker. • Help your child communicate with the deployed parent. Encourage your child to send letters, emails, drawings, photographs, report cards, and audio or video recordings. If possible, arrange video chats. Many deployed parents say seeing and speaking with one another is a great way to feel connected. If communication is not possible create a box with drawings, stories, letter and school activities that the child can share with the deployed parent upon their return, ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR CHILD'S FEELINGS • It is often difficult to know what exactly to say to your children when they are expressing their feelings with regards to deployment. When no other words come to mind, a HUG and saying "I understand and this is really hard for you/us" will often make a child feel comfort. • At times when your child/children may seem the most upset it is important not to deny the seriousness of their feelings and concerns. To them their feelings and the seriousness is real. It is important to reflect

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