Deployment rocks our world and leaves us anxiously waiting for the return of our loved ones. When it comes to kids, they don’t typically have a great concept of time. No matter whether it is a couple of weeks or a year, it takes forever in the minds of our little ones.
I am an extremely visual person; nothing helps me more than to be able to see something right in front of me. Our kids can also be motivated to be able to share the experience of a deployment by counting down with you. It helps us all and gives us something to look forward to each morning – knowing that we are one day closer to homecoming.
So why not ease the minds of our little ones and make deployment countdown visual and fun?
Here are my personal favorite ways to help kid’s countdown deployment, the fun and creative way!
1. Make a Deployment Wall: A personal favorite of ours here, make a wall dedicated to daddy or mommy while deployed. Get patriotic with stars, flags, yellow ribbons and pictures that remind you of your loved one. Include a clock that is set to the time zone where your loved one is deployed, along with a map of where they are located. Add a calendar so that you can cross off the days as they pass.
2. Create Countdown Jars: Take two large jars or vases (depending on how long they are gone for), and label one “Days Left”, and the other “Days Down”. Decorate the jars with anything patriotic, we typically use red, white and blue ribbon. Fill the jar labeled Days Left with the amount of days gone in tiny American Flags, marbles, beads, toy soldiers or any small object that is fun for the kids. Have the kid’s move an object out of the Days Left jar into the Days Down jar and watch the countdown as it flies goes by.
3. Countdown Map: Want something different than just the typical cross off calendar? Print out a large blank picture or shape of the country/state in which your loved one is deployed. Inside the picture, draw enough squares for the amount of days they are deployed. As the days pass, color in a square. You’ll have a fun colorful country by the end of the deployment!
4. A Memory a Day: So this one isn’t exactly a countdown per say, but it sure is a lot of fun. It also creates a great bonding moment for when your loved one returns. Using an empty jar, have the kids write down one memory a day and place it in the jar. At the end of the deployment, you will have a jar full of memories to share with your loved one. We can’t always remember each and every moment that has passed throughout a deployment, so this is a great way to capture them.
What fun and creative ways have you used to countdown deployment? Tell us in the comments below!
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