Guest Post and Photos From United Through Reading
At United Through Reading, we work with military families who are doing their best to tough their way through deployments, annual training periods, or mobilizations — whatever pulls their service members away from home for a while. They are checking off days on the calendar and counting down the days until their loved ones are with them again. They know that for their service members it’s important to focus on routines and to stay a part of family daily life, as much as possible, while they are away. Here are a few tips on how to keep your military spouse connected with family at home.
- Leave a keepsake at home
Before your service member leaves home, have them pick a few special articles of clothing, a favorite book, movie, or CD, for the entire family to hold onto while they are away. Reading their favorite book or listening to their favorite song while holding on to that favorite sweatshirt will help the kids feel like they have an important piece of mom or dad at home; that can help the distance seem a little less far, for them and for you.
- Share calendars
Your spouse is away, but that doesn’t’ mean they have miss out on soccer games, piano practices and important test days. Help them keep tabs on the family calendar, and stay a part of the routine from far away so they can check in on all that’s going on while you’re apart. Likewise, when family at home is as aware of the service member’s day-to-day schedule (as much as OPSEC will allow), you will stay more in sync and involved in each other’s lives, even while you are separated.
- Stay United Through Reading
United Through Reading offers service members who are away for their families for deployed, trainings or other assignments the opportunity to be video-recorded reading children’s books to kids at home. By taking advantage of the service United Through Reading provides, families can keep up bedtime story routines even while mom or dad (or an aunt, uncle, or sibling) is away. The program gives family and kids at home the privilege of seeing the service member and hearing his/her voice whenever they are needed the most. Learn more about United Through Reading by watching this video ― and then visit org to get started and record a story for your family! Though it is not available yet, UTR recently announced plans to develop a mobile app which will allow military parents pre-record books, or read together over life video chat with the book on each user’s screen. Learn more about the coming UTR app here.
- Encourage your family to keep up the family traditions
If Sunday night’s game night at home, and now a member of the family is deployed, don’t quit! Keep it up. Creating a sense of routine and normalcy for kids who are without one parent for a the length of a deployment, will help to reassure them that everything is okay, and that their parent who is away is safe and sound, and will be home before they know it to rejoin them for game night. Keep up the tradition and encourage your deployed spouse, or family member, to call home and ask who won last night’s game night!
Guest Post By Taylor Monaco
Director of Communications
United Through Reading