Deployment is a confusing and challenging time for everyone involved — and this is especially true for your kids. The new routines and communication methods may create some discomfort and anxiety for your kids. However, you can help make this transition easier by creating a plan for staying connected with them during your deployment.
Instead of discussing the communication plan after you are deployed, plan ahead so your ex-spouse and kids will know what to expect. Your kids will feel better knowing how and when they can reach you, and you can be assured that your connection will stay strong regardless of where you are deployed.
Here are some of the best ways to stay connected with your kids while you’re deployed.
Sometimes the simplest solutions are best. Plan weekly or bi-weekly telephone calls with your kids to stay in touch and keep your relationships strong. These phone calls create new routines for your kids and give them added stability and security during your absence.
While a phone call is an easy and traditional option, talking face-to-face via a video call is much more personal. If possible, schedule a video call with your kids on a regular basis using a communication application like Skype on your smartphone or laptop. While you’re on the call, show them the view around you, or perhaps share a unique souvenir with a backstory they’d enjoy hearing about.
Be mindful, however, that your location will determine the reliability and strength of your internet and video connection. You may want to let your family know it won’t be as reliable as they might expect.
Depending on their ages, email may be the easiest way to get in touch with your kids. It is also a mode of communication that children often find easier for communicating emotions. Email allows them to get their feelings down in writing as opposed to verbally communicating them — affording them a safe space for sharing.
Email has the added benefit of being easily accessible from almost anywhere, and it could afford you flexibility during your deployment.
Letters or Postcards
Handwritten letters never go out of style, and they can become great keepsakes for your kids. Take the time to write every couple of weeks, even if you’re talking on the phone regularly. Your kids will look forward to checking the mail for a personal token to hold on to and read on their own time.
Few things are more exciting than receiving an unexpected gift in the mail. A gift is one way to surprise your children and brighten their day when they least expect it. Small items like stuffed toys, souvenirs, or funny t-shirts are all good ideas for surprise gifts.
If time allows (and you’re feeling creative), you can even send something handmade. One thoughtful option could be a series of written letters detailing some of your fondest memories together or detailing fatherly advice you wish to impart to them. Send the bundle together as one wrapped package for your kids to treasure and read at their leisure.
Planning with your ex-spouse before your deployment can help you with communication — and good communication before deployment always begins with a parenting plan. If you haven’t made one already, contact one of our attorneys at Father’s Rights and get help crafting a plan that covers the care of your child in your absence.