As a Military Family, it can be tough to be separated from loved ones during the holidays. Deployments, PCS, and the like can be difficult for children to cope with. As a parent, extended relative, or family friend, there are ways to help a child deal with separation from close loved ones during the holidays.
Dealing with Deployments
–Ensure you still celebrate family traditions during the holidays. The familiarity of these events can help give a sense of comfort to the child.
–Include your deployed servicemember in celebrations by cooking their favorite dish at a family dinner, carrying out their favorite holiday traditions, and/or planning a special holiday meal when they return.
–Involve your child in making holiday crafts, video, and/or taking pictures to send to your deployed servicemember. This can bring cheer to your loved one while bringing excitement and fun to your child.
–Attend community and installation events for children together with your child, especially if other children of deployed servicemembers will be there.
Dealing with PCS
–Celebrating family holiday traditions as you normally would can also help in this situation by adding consistency to a child’s life during a time when there is a lot of change.
–Maintain contact with loved ones that are far away.
–Become involved in your new community; this will help you and your child make new friends and feel more at home.
–Focus on the positive and exciting new aspects of your new location–oftentimes, there is lots to explore!
Remember to stay involved in your child’s life and to keep your attitude positive; this will help him/her feel secure, safe, and loved.