May 12, 2015
By Taylor Basilio We’ve learned how to make deployment fly by for your toddlers, your children, and your teens, but what about the entire family? You all have special reasons and unique ways that you miss and love your soldier, but your family as a whole is having a difficult time with the deployment. It’s important to stay connected, to do things together, and to discuss your feelings during this time—especially when you’re having a tough day. Below are our favorite tried-and-true ways to make deployment go by quickly for the whole family. 1. Volunteer as a family. We talked about this in a previous article, but volunteering is an incredible way to give back and to pass the time. Whether you choose a homeless shelter, an animal shelter, a soup kitchen, etc., volunteering is a great way to feel involved and stay busy during a deployment. 2. Make a family game night. My family always did this when my dad was deployed and it was a fun thing to look forward to each week. Choose games you all know and love, but don’t forget to try some new ones, too! 3. Have Sunday dinners with friends. Know a family whose service member is also deployed? Plan a weekly dinner! This gives the parents a time to catch up and talk, and it gives the kids a perfect opportunity to play and release some energy. Plus, it’s always nice to know people who are going through the same thing you are. 4. Have Skype or FaceTime dates. This is definitely tried and true by most families experiencing a deployment, but we didn’t want to forget about it because it’s incredibly important. While you are trying to occupy your time at home, don’t forget that your service member wants to do the same overseas (or wherever they are deployed to). If Skype or FaceTime won’t work during this deployment, be sure to always fit in phone calls. 5. Be sure not to forget about your alone time. While family time is important, so it alone time. Be sure to have time separate from each other just as much as you have time together. Everyone needs time to process their feelings, and it keeps you all from becoming too overwhelmed. 6. Go for evening walks. This is an awesome way to talk about each of your days, fit in some exercise, release some stress, and create a daily (or weekly) tradition. Plus, it’s spring, and summer is right around the corner. Who wouldn’t want to be outside right now? 7. Plan a family vacation. If all else fails, plan an amazing vacation or fun outing for when your service member gets home. Be sure to include them in the planning if you’re not making the vacation a surprise. This vacation could be a cross-country trip, a weeklong beach stay, or just a visit home to see family. Regardless of where you decide to go, it gives you something to look forward to as a family (service member included!) for when the deployment is over. With these seven tips, you’re sure to survive the deployment in one piece, and each family member will have been glad to keep busy.