You're far away, and it can be hard on your family as well as on you. But you don't have to go it alone; today more than ever before, technology provides many innovative ways to maintain a strong connection to your military family while you're on military deployment.
Good family planning before a military deployment helps you take care of your mission, your family and yourself. By working as a team, you and your military family can thrive together during your military deployment.
Think about creating a specific family plan for staying connected throughout the entire stay of your deployment.
Technology is on your side; the Internet, cell phones and more make family connections easier than ever. Before your deployment consider beefing up your cell phone plan and your internet service plan - your money goes a long way with military discounts on these services so be sure to let your provider know you're military. Consider a webcam for face-to face connections that can make all the difference. While time differences and sketchy phone connections can be obstacles, even phone calls and internet contact of a few minutes each day keep can maintain the strong family connection you want.
Double check all contact information and have an emergency contact plan in place through the American Red Cross or Rear Detachment Commander.
How to stay in control of your parenting when you're on military deployment? For the military spouse at home, it can be tempting to let kids "slack off" from house rules, out of guilt or to make up for the sadness they feel being separated from the military parent. But it's best to maintain the order of your household, because you'll want to enforce it again when your military spouse returns. Maintain bedtimes, limit junk food, whatever your house rules were before the military deployment, stick with them. Holding children responsible for household chores not only makes life easier for you, but it also gives them the pride of contributing.
If you're the spouse left behind during military deployment, you're carrying an extra burden. Find organized military support groups that let you connect with other military families and spouses in similar situations. Most military installations have family centers that host events and recreational activities. The USO and the National Military Family Association have spouse programs, too. Online communities, such as CinCHouse.com, also offer a haven of support, allowing military spouses to share concerns and advice.
Time, love and technology - your most valuable assets for keeping your military family connected during your military deployment.