Although your day-to-day responsibilities will keep you busy during deployment, you may still find it difficult at times to be separated from your family and loved ones. Staying in touch can help you get through difficult times and make the transition back home easier. Here are some tips for ways to stay connected during deployment.
Start with a communication plan
You may have had conversations with your loved ones before deployment about how and when you’ll communicate — use these plans as a starting point. It may not always be possible to maintain this schedule or stick to exactly what you agreed on, so try to be flexible. You can also update your plan as circumstances change.
Keep in touch with daily life at home
Ask your loved ones about what’s happening at home. Hearing about a child’s excellent report card, a friend’s engagement, or just the ordinary day-to-day activities can help you stay in the loop. Staying connected can help you maintain a positive outlook and ease your transition when you return home.
Share what you feel comfortable with
Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of any strong relationship. However, you may not want or be able to tell your loved ones everything you’re doing. If this is the case, try to share at least some thoughts, feelings or experiences with each other. Simple sharing can help you feel connected, strengthen your relationship and ease some of your loved ones’ fears or worries.
Explore different ways of communicating
If video conferencing or phone calls aren’t possible, try writing letters or emails. If time zone differences are an issue, try to record audio and video messages that your loved ones can open later. If possible, you can also use social media to keep in touch with friends and family while deployed. Check with your command to find out which sites and services may be available during deployment, and remember to always follow operations security guidelines.
Maintain individual relationships with children
If you have children, it’s important that each child gets the chance to connect with you in a way that’s separate, individual and special — this will help you maintain a strong child-parent relationship during and after deployment. Try sending individual letters, packages or cards to remind your children that you’re thinking about them. Or, if you’re video chatting or on the phone with your family, try spending a few moments speaking with each child. Read more about supporting kids during deployment.