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Staying Connected to Loved Ones
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Type: Projects   Skills: Language & LiteracyPhysical & Motor SkillsPlay & Creativity
When one or both military parents of a young child is deployed, it can create a stressful and confusing time for both the child and the rest of the family. Here are a few ideas to help your child stay connected to a deployed family member. Staying Connected to Loved Ones
What We Learn
Helps child stay connected to deployed parent
Develops childrenís pre-writing skills
Encourages creativity
Supply List
Paper
Crayons
Pencil
Pillowcase
Waterproof Markers
Butcher paper
How-To
There are several activities kids can do to help them cope with missing a deployed parent. The finished products of these activities can all be placed in a box which you can send to the deployed parent, allowing that parent to feel like he or she can still be a part of daily life back home. Some ideas for items to include in the box are drawings that your child brings home from preschool or child care; letters that your children have dictated; handprint pillowcases and silhouette drawings.

Drawings
Kids come home nearly every day with drawings they make at school or at day care. Instead of putting them on the refrigerator, like so many of us do, include them in the box that will be sent to the deployed parent. Itís important to include drawings that your child brings home on a daily basis because they provide a little window into the childís everyday life, which the deployed parent is missing out on.

Letters That Kids Dictate
Ask your child to dictate a letter to you and write it down, word for word Ė donít fix their grammar if itís not correct. Having kids dictate their own letter really empowers them, while letting the deployed parent get a feel for how the child is phrasing things.

Sometimes kids don't want to dictate a letter. If this is the case, try incorporating a game called "Favorites." In the game, you can ask, "What is your favorite book?" or "What is your favorite place to go for ice cream?" Each person says their favorite. For little kids, they can take turns asking for favorites, and then Mom or Dad writes down the answers in the form of a letter. If one of your children is a baby, you can ask your older child questions such as: What is Abigail's favorite song? What is her favorite funny face? What is Abigail eating now? What is Abigail's favorite position? What scares Abigail?

Handprint Pillowcase
Using waterproof markers, trace your childís hands onto a pillowcase. Then let your child decorate it however he or she wants using the waterproof markers.

Silhouette Drawing
Tear off a piece of butcher paper thatís a little bit longer than the length of your child. If you donít have butch paper, you can tape together large sections of newspaper or brown paper bags. Lay the paper down and have your child lay on top of it. Using a maker, trace his or her outline. Let your child add decorations to the outline of the silhouette.

Mailing the Package
Mailing the package can actually become a little field trip where your child can learn about the post office and how mail works. There are even books about the post office, so it can become a really great learning opportunity.
Find Activities

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