8 Ways to Help Your Kids Cope with Your Spouse's Deployment

Here, eight tips from iVillage's military wives about what you can do to help your kids handle your spouse's absence when he or she has been called to duty:

Become a video star. "Our kids are still very young, and it was hard to tell them that Daddy had to go away for a long time. So we made a video of Daddy talking to the kids. He sings songs, plays games and talks to them about how much he loves them." --izzyandalexsmommy

Give a geography lesson. "Before he leaves, we sit down and tell them that Daddy has to work for a while. We get a blown-up map and they each get their own calendar. On the map, we circle where we are and where Daddy will be. On the calendar, we circle the day that Daddy is coming home. Each night before bed, the kids get to put a sticker over the day that just passed and we get one day closer to 'circle day.'" --jillybean

Save keepsakes. "We make notebooks. They're all decorated, and that is their binder for stuff Dad sends. And then we make Dad one. The kids are also a big part of packing the care-package boxes." --pandabr74

Be honest. "DD knows that Daddy has gone to war. We've reviewed 9/11 stuff, and we focus a lot on that and the war on terrorism. I've never believed in sheltering DD and know that she'll get bits and pieces anyway, so I explain to her what's going on and why Daddy has to leave." --hollydawner

Use common scents. "Have Dad wear T-shirts for short times to get his scent (but not the bad scent!). Then use those T-shirts as pillowcases, and the children can hug Daddy all they want!"


Communicate. "The kids and I use a mini tape recorder to say whatever we need to say, and then my husband sends messages back to us." --jillybean

Explain your spouse's duty. "My daughters are only six, but they do understand deployment. While they are a little bit fearful, they know it's all the more reason why our soldiers must go and stop these 'weapons of mass destruction' from hurting anyone. They still feel safe at home." --jillybean

Make a present for the deployed parent. "If the parent is on temporary duty and has a return date set in stone, then making a 'love' chain is a good idea. Cut enough strips of construction paper for every day the parent will be absent. Before bed each night, the kids write in something they wish they could tell their parent -- daily achievements, what they ate, whatever. Tape the strips together and interlock them nightly to form a chain (like in grade school). When the parent returns, he or she has a daily-diary love chain to read and cherish." --armylola

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