The D word. It’s the nastiest, most hated word in a military family. It can ruin you day, your week, your month, and even your whole year. It’s just something we, as a military family must deal with. We must be able to not only survive deployments but thrive during them. The worst part of it all is the effect it has on military children. Children go months and sometimes a year or more without seeing their fathers or mothers. There isn’t anything we can do to change what is going on in their lives but we can do everything possible to help them survive it. My husband will soon be going on his second deployment to Afghanistan in January. We have already starting planning and preparing my son for his daddy’s six month long absence. My son was only 2 years old for the first deployment and time seemingly flew by for him. I have a feeling this deployment is going to be much different as my son is now 4 (turning 5 while daddy is away) and we have already gone through some trying times during my husbands 3 week long training. This gave me the idea of a Deployment Survival Kit, something to help our military children cope with their fathers and mothers being gone.
DEPLOYMENT SURVIVAL KIT
HUGS TO GO – A must have for any family, not just military, is a doll by Hugs to Go. The Huggee Miss You Doll was created for children who just needed a hug from the ones they love! Simply slide in a photo of someone your child is missing and they have the perfect snuggle buddy. This can be used from everyone to deployed parents to out of state grandparents! The possibilities are endless with the interchangeable photo sleeve, voice recorder, and 19 prints for you to fully customizable!
DADDY DOLLS - Daddy Dolls was the first place I thought of when I got the idea for a deployment survival kit. This is ultimate gift for any child trying to overcome the struggles of having a deployed parent! Daddy Dolls are a custom doll with an image of your child’s father, mother, or grandparent that is soft and hugable! My son absolutely loves his and daddy isn’t even gone yet! Just the other day I walked in my bedroom to find that my son had placed his daddy doll on daddy’s pillow and under the blanket to take a nap!
Books are an excellent way explain to your children about deployments! They give all the details but in a way children can understand! They often tell you children that it’s ok to feel sad and even mad about their parents being gone. It’s the perfect way to get your children talking about their feelings instead of keeping them bottled up.
A PAPER HUG – This is a story about a little boy who figured out the best gift to give his dad who was leaving to serve his country. This book is great to read to your children before putting together a care package to send to their own fathers or mothers serving overseas. It will give them a lot of ideas on personal touches they could give to their own parents! Author Stephanie Skolmoski has written two other great and informational books called The Celiac Kid and Operation: Celebration. Purchase here
BOO BOO BEAR’S MISSION- This book tells a story of a beloved teddy bear on an important mission. Young Shea Leign’s dad has been deployed to Iraq with the Air National Guard. To help her dad feel less lonely while he is away from his family, Shea Leigh sends Boo Boo Bear to him in a care package. Half a world away from home, Boo Boo tours the base with Dad, embarks on a jet fighter flight and fulfills an important mission – to carry a family’s love until they can be together again. The book includes a parent guide to assist families as they cope with the stress that often accompanies military family separations. Purchase here
A VERY LONG TIME- A story of a young girl who waits A Very Long Time for her father to return from serving in the military in a foreign country. Based on the real life story of a father and his daughter who were separated for A Very Long Time while her daddy served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I loved this book for the fact that it gives your child a sense of time. Some children like my son may not know the difference from 2 weeks to 6 months but they do know the difference between tomorrow and a very long time! While hearing that your daddy isn’t going to be home for a very long time it does give them the idea that he will be home, it’s just going to take a very long time. This one is also gives your child and their class mates the idea of writing letters, drawing pictures, and sending treats to the heros who are serving our country! Contact GTB Management & Consulting to purchase your copy - firstname.lastname@example.org
READEO – I discovered Readeo recently and just the idea of it almost had me in tears! Readeo lets you and a loved one flip through the pages of a virtual book while video chatting. Amazing, right!?! My husband and son will still get to read books together every single night whether he is here in our home or across the ocean in Afghanistan! What I find to be the most rewarding feature is that it holds children’s attention longer. During my husbands first deployment we would skype as often as possible but my son would get bored and often run away to play away from the computer, cutting their father/son time in half. I can’t wait to give it a try! Readeo is offering a Free 14 Day Trial when you sign up!
PAPER CHAIN – Paper chains can be the perfect welcome home gift to mommy or a great way to count down the days/weeks until daddy comes home! You can add a new chain for every day your loved one is gone and personalize your paper chain link with a note about your activities or have your child write about how he felt that day. Then present it as a homecoming gift when your loved one returns home! Another great use for the paper chain is to put together the entire chain using how many days/weeks daddy will be gone and every day/week that passes you can tear one down until the day he returns! We didn’t do this the first deployment but this is a must for the next one!
CHIC COUTURE BOUTIQUE – The best part of the whole deployment is the day they come home and what better way to welcome home your loved ones but with a personalized welcome home shirt!! ChicCoutureBoutique creates a completely customizable shirt for children and adults! They offer a “Little Man” line of fun and classy tie shirts with an array of fabrics for you to choose from; the perfect collection for the special day being the 2011 Patriotic Collection!
I am THRILLED to announce that one lucky winner will win their very own Deployment Survival Kit ($100 value)!
The kit including: a doll from Hugs to Go, a Daddy Doll, A Paper Hug, Operation: Celebration, The Celiac Kid, Boo Boo Bear’s Mission, and A Very Long Time.
To win, simply leave us a comment letting us know what branch of the military you or your spouse are in!
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Contest ends October 9th at Midnight PST. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and emailed.
Special thanks to Hugs to Go, Daddy Dolls, Stephanie Skolmoski, Mary Linda Sather, GTB Management & Consulting, and Chic Couture Boutique for providing samples for review purposes.