Top 10 Ways for Deployment-separated Families to Stay Connected

Military wives share 10 easy ways to help their family stay connected in their hearts.

  1. Keep a pocket journal:  It is not unusual to only speak to someone overseas once a week, and even then, for only about 15 minutes.By the time you get to speak, the time can feel rushed and you often forget many of the things you wanted to share.  Keeping a journal in your pocket to record the day-to-day events is a great tool to be efficient with you time and to remember to share all those little things that the deployed person probably really misses.
  2. Make a personalized CD or tape:  In many cases, a deployed person will be able to have a personal CD player or tape player.  Send them a compilation of some of their favorite music.  Include songs that mean something special to the two of you.  While you’re at it, record a personalized message or two on it.  Hearing you voice at the touch of a button is a great gift.
  3. Set aside a private moment:  Prior to deployment, choose a specific time, every day, that the deployed person and family will stop and think about one another for a few seconds.  It may sound cheesy now, but knowing that each of you is thinking about the other at the same time can be amazingly comforting.
  4. Change a clock:  More often than not, the deployed person is in a different time zone.  Change one of the prominent clocks in your home to the time it is wherever he or she has been deployed.  This way, every time you look at the clock, you will have a better idea of what they might be doing.
  5. Create a legacy letter:  Keep a pad or a piece of paper near you at all times.  Every time you have a thought about the deployed person, write it down.  Do this for up to a week and then mail it.  The person will feel like they are with you all day long.
  6. Create hidden surprises:  Before you leave, hide notes and tiny little gifts throughout your home and cars and every place else you family may look.  Each small surprise will be a reminder of you.
  7. Leave your scent behind:  Our personal scents are great connectors.  Make sure that a favorite shirt with your scent is left behind for that special someone or that you leave a stuffed animal or pillow with your scent on it for your children.
  8. Plan Ahead:  If you suspect that communication back home will be limited at best, plan ahead.  Write a series of letters to each of you family and/or friends with whom you want to stay in touch.  Give all the letters to one person to distribute once a week on the same day.  It will give everyone who misses you something to look forward to and keep them connected.  Remember to anticipate missing big days:  anniversaries, birthdays, etc. and write letters accordingly.
  9. Take lots of pictures: This is particularly important when you have kids.  Pictures are priceless.  Even if you don’t have the ability to mail them, they will be a great present upon returning home.
  10. Keep an ongoing journal:  This is great for deployed persons and family back home.  Upon returning, exchange or share different entries with one another.  It will help bridge the gap created by the time apart.  Mutual appreciation and understanding of what the other was doing can be very therapeutic.