It is hard to believe the start of school for many military kids is just a few short weeks away. The stores are already stocking their shelves with backpacks, binders and all kinds of cool markers, pencils and notebooks. As we begin to prepare for the upcoming school year this exciting time can be difficult when you are missing your partner.
Here are some easy ideas to help when you're preparing for the school year, while still keeping your deployed love one connected and involved in the process:
- Favorite things - Have your spouse make a list of favorite things they liked to have on the first day of school. Maybe they grew up with a tradition that you'd like to continue with your kids, for example: pancakes for breakfast, a new "school item" like a backpack or even a special packed lunch with favorite sandwich and/or treat.
- Create a short video - With many cell phones now having the ability to capture video, it's never been easier to document milestone moments. Take a few minutes to capture video of your child meeting the bus, walking down the school hall, sitting in his or her new desk, etc. Keep your movie clips short, 30-60 seconds, for easier download.
- Backpacks and other school items featuring favorite characters - If you know your loved one's favorite character is Captain America for example, look for a small school supply item inspired by the character. Explain the significance to your child and that they have something even mom or dad would carry to school!
- Pep talk - Ask your loved one share a few words of encouragement regarding the first day of school in their next Skype session, email or by handwritten note.
- Keep it positive - Celebrating key moments in our children's lives is hard when our partners are not there to share the experience. Acknowledge your feelings and your kid's feelings. It's normal to wish both parents could be part of this special time. Reassure your children and work to keep your attitude bright and positive.
- Miss you message - Ensure your loved one knows he is missed during this special day, and that you really wish he could be there. You can do this by making a video for him or by sending an email note or even a special card. Sometimes we think all a deployed loved one wants to hear is a play-by-play of the days events, when what he really wants to hear is how much he is missed, how much he means to you and that no matter what, you are in this together.
- Share past first day of school memories - Have your deployed spouse share their memories of past first days of school. For example, he can share that he was scared and how he handled a new school and making new friends. The important thing is to create an open dialog so your kids feel like they can talk about any fears, anxiety, and/or excitement they might be experiencing.
These are just seven ideas to keep your spouse connected to your kids as the excitement and preparation begins for back to school and ultimately the start of the school year. Do you have an idea to share?
How have you kept your spouse involved in preparing your child(ren) for the first day of school?