parenting

Stay Connected with Deployed Parents

It can be difficult for families to stay in touch or feel connected when a parent is deployed. Using online programs, such as the ones highlighted in this article, can help families maintain regular communication, reassure children about their parent’s deployment and reinforce parents’ bonds with their children.

Sesame Workshop’s Military Families Initiatives

With more than 700,000 children who have experienced a parent’s deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, the Sesame Workshop developed tools and resources to help military families cope with common stressors of deployment.

April Is the Month of the Military Child

Each year, the Department of Defense recognizes military families by celebrating the Month of the Military Child throughout April. Service members with children across the nation can take this opportunity to spend time with their loved ones, while also learning about the importance of family resilience and readiness. The information and resources below can help you communicate with your family throughout the Month of the Military Child and the entire deployment cycle.

Working With Your Child’s Educators During Deployment

Throughout the deployment cycle, service members and their families experience many changes, including shifting roles and responsibilities as well as new routines. Children may experience stress as a result, but parents and guardians can help them build resilience by actively engaging with their child’s educators – including school administrators, counselors and teachers. During this time of change, the stability and predictability of school can be a source of support for your child.

Helping Children Through the Grieving Process

When a tragedy occurs, and a military parent does not return home, you might think consoling a grieving child would be impossible. Dealing with their emotions in addition to yours may seem like a daunting task. There are many things, however, that surviving parents and other caring adults can do to help children cope with a loss.

Boosting Family Resilience

Just as service members can build resilience, families can also take steps to boost their resilience or “family fitness.” Family fitness is every military family’s ability to use physical, psychological, social and spiritual resources to prepare for, adapt to and grow from military lifestyle demands. By helping family members feel more secure and connected in daily life, families can build resilience to cope with common military stressors like deployment, permanent change of station, combat injury and operational stress. This resilience also helps protect the psychological health of children who may struggle with change, fears or missing a parent. What’s more, the more fit military families are, the better able they are to support their service member.

How to Reconnect with Your Teen After Deployment

As deployments come to an end, Service members are often excited about coming home and seeing their families. But after the initial celebrations pass, readjusting to family life and reconnecting with teenagers can be challenging. Although deployments can be difficult on teenagers – who are already undergoing many changes – you can make your homecoming easier by following a few simple guidelines. Understanding what behaviors and reactions to expect from your teenager when you return home from a deployment will help you reconnect with your teen and establish a strong relationship after a long time apart.

Sesame Workshop Helps Children Cope With Grief

The death of a parent can impact every aspect of a child's life — grief can affect a child emotionally, socially, cognitively and behaviorally. But it may be hard for children to label and express their emotions, and they may exhibit behavioral symptoms, anxiety or depression.

Reintegrating into Civilian Life

Now that you've been home a few weeks, the rush of excitement you felt stepping off the plane or ship has probably begun to fade a little. The flags have been put away, the bands have stopped playing and the newspapers are focusing on other things. Your life has suddenly become private again, giving you the chance to put things back in order.

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