And since it seems like a lot of us are in the same boat, today I thought I’d share some of the resources I have found for children experiencing separation from a parent, whether it is an Unaccompanied Tour (UT), a Military deployment, or an extended absense for another reason. (Those long business trips are hard on kids, too!)
Websites For Kids
- Sesame Street has a wonderful page dedicated to this topic called Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Families During Military Deployment. Although it is designed for military families, I have found that it works perfectly for UTs.
- Deployment Kids has some great activities for kids, again, mainly geared toward military families, but they can work for Government families as well.
Websites for Parents
- The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has a fact sheet to help families adjust when the deployed family member returns home. The description of the returning family member really pertains to military members, but the rest of it is perfectly suited to UTs. I can really relate to the section about the adult who stayed home.
- Surviving Deployment gives some great ideas on helping children handle deployments.
- Foggy Bottom Rambles is an entire blog dedicated just to Foreign Service UT employees and their families. Yay!
Books For Kids
I really like to find books that deal with issues we are facing, or things that I want to teach my daughter. There are a ton of great books on separation from a parent or loved one, feelings, deployment, and unconditional love. These are the books that we have enjoyed most:
- The Invisible String (her favorite!!)
- When I Miss You
- The Way I Feel
- Countdown ’til Daddy Comes Home
- A Paper Hug
- No Matter What
- The Kissing Hand
Books For Parents
Neither of these deal specifically with separation or deployment, but the parenting styles depicted in the books are really good for kids in these situations.
- Building Resilience in Children and Teens
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
Do you know of other resources that I have missed? Please share!