More Tips for Military Families – #150


Postive Thinking Reminders – Tip #150

Make posters or even sheets of paper that could be for your fridge , bathroom door, kitchen, beside your bed or any place that you will see each morning before your day really gets into action.  The idea of the signs/poster is to get your family or yourself thinking positively and re-affirming yourselves to feel stronger and more positive before starting your day.  Each family member could have their own sign with their own list of daily sayings, postive quotes, things that they have or want to accomplish, etc.  All of the tasks on the short list (5 max.) should take only a few  minutes to complete.

Everyday tasks, While You’re Away

Compliment someone

Tell 5 people in my live that I love them

Say something I like about myself

Do something for someone else for free

Take a picture a day

Find something to laugh about

Set a goal for myself to do today

Name 5 things that I am grateful for

If you do it with your whole family, each do a list that is personalized to each family member.  The list should uplift, encourage and inspire you.  It should have positive things to think about and strive for everyday.  It can become another way of learning about each other and talking about things that you might otherwise never have talked about.

Do this whether your family is about to experience an absence or deployment or if they have come back from one.  It is never too late to start!

For more information about our books, blogs, and resources, go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips for Military Families #31


Talk – Tip #31

“Talk” is such a small word for something so important.  I am sure that there is a lot of talking that goes on in your family but I want you to re-evaluate your conversations and find out how much of it is important and how much has become just routine responses to routine questions within your family.  Living in a military family means that you are going to experience a lot of change (within yourselves, your surroundings, your experiences, etc.) and it is important that you talk about it in a meaningful way.

Tips:

* Don’t ask questions that are going to get you a yes or no response

* Take the time to talk to each other about the things that matter every day (not the same things but things that are really important to you)

* When you are talking together get rid of all distractions – put your cell phone away, turn off the TV or computer, sit somewhere quiet and comfortable, etc.

* Avoid asking complicated or important questions when you are in a hurry

* Use conversation starter cards at meals or as an after dinner game (see our website for conversation starter cards)

* Don’t interupt someone when they are talking or spend the time you should be listening thinking about all the things that you want to say

* If you don’t understand what they are trying to tell you, ask further questions to get a better understanding

* Put time to talk into your schedule and make it a top priority

For more information about our tips, blogs, books or resources go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own or ask a question, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips for Military Families – #149


People at Your Place – Tip #149

When hosting a gathering there are some things to consider that will save you time and reduce your stress levels.  Whether your family member is away or just back people are going to want to visit and you are going to want to see them but not at the expense of your sanity!  It is important to get together with friends or family but it is hard to want to when you know it is going to add even more to your workload.

Tips:

* Set arrival and departure times right in the invitation so that people are aware that there is a time you need them to leave by

* Ask people to bring a dessert, salad or appetizer OR let them know that you are ordering in to make life easier

* If the weather is co-operating, have a picnic at the park park for everyone and then you don’t end up having a house that is a complete disaster zone that you have to spend hours cleaning up later

* Assign everyone in your family a job, well in advance of everyone arriving, so that your family members can’t say they didn’t know what was expected of them or try to get out of by saying they had other plans

* Designate some rooms as “No Go” areas so you don’t have to clean the entire house when everyone has left

* Think about what committments you have the next day and chose a time for people to come over that isn’t going to wear you out in the days to come

* Use paper plates that can be recycled (guilt free)

* Ask a friend to come over and help you out in the kitchen with the offer that you’ll do the same for her/him for one of their events

* Make it buffet style so that you aren’t running around and serving everyone

For more information about our books, tips or resources go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips for Military Families – # 145


Time Capsule – Tip #145

Create a time capsule before your family member is deployed.  Put in it pictures, notes, report cards, awards, videos, etc. that will all capture where your family is right before he/she leaves.  You can each add a note about your predictions for the next year (A year from now we will…, I will have…, by the time I am reading this again I will have…, etc.).  Have a special evening or dinner when they come home to open it up and go over all of the things that are in there and the changes that have occured during the deployment.

Tips:

* Decide as a family when you open it again

* Make sure everyone contributes and puts things into the capsules

* Put it in a cool, dry place that will ensure it doesn’t get ruined

* Label it carefully so it doesn’t get moved or thrown out

* Let other friends and family know you are doing it and ask if they have anything to contribute

For more information about our blogs, books and resources, go to:  http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips For When They’re Back – #103


Go Back To Dating – Tip #103

Remember those dates you had when you first started getting to know each other?  Perhaps there was a mix of mystery, nerves and excitement?  Those are the dates you have to have again.  You have changed, grown apart, had different life experiences and the world around you changed too.  It will not be enough to just share a house and bed together.

Make time in both of your schedules for a date night and do it as soon as possible after your family member returns.  Be selfish, don’t change your plans for others or give up the night to work or other obligations, feelings of guilt or even being too tired.  You will be better parents when you are more connected to each other and re-establish your relationship as a couple.

Date Tips:

* Choose something affordable, easy to get to, and that doesn’t require a lot of time or preparation

* Talk to each other about what you would like to do together and then if you can’t agree alternate weeks

* Learn something new together that you may have always talked about doing but never made the time to do

* Pick a consistent day and time and then let other people know that this is your time together and make it a priority

* Hold hands, ask each other questions, tell funny stories about things that happened when you were apart, etc.

For more information about our books, blog, or resources, go to:  www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips For When They’re Back # 81


Equality – Tip #81

During the deployment or absence, you both had it hard.  I am confident that you could both make very long lists about all the things you had to struggle with or suffer through.  Avoid playing the ‘who had it harder game’ as playing it is like the age old battle of comparing apples and oranges – they are both fruit (you are both human), they both have peel (you both have a lot of layers to you), they provide important nutrients to people (you both did and provided important services to people) and there are other similarities but a lot of differences too.  Apples and oranges taste different, some are seedless and some aren’t, etc., etc.  You cannot treat or talk about these fruits equally as they are different!

Tips:

  • Treat each other fairly and recognize that you each did ‘battle’ during this experience
  • Don’t compare your situation or try to claim that life was harder for you, you can’t compare and you will tire yourself and your family member trying
  • Talk to and treat each other as if you had it equally as hard
  • Avoid sentences that start with “At least you didn’t have to…”, “You have no idea how tough it was…”
  • When your family member is complaining or sharing with you their struggles try responding with, “That must have been really hard.”, “That sounds awful.”, or “I had no idea, thanks for telling me”

For more information about our blog, books or resources go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips for Military Families: When They’re Back – Tip #13


What to Write – Tip #13

Posting a list on the fridge of things you can write about via email or notes you can put into a package is helpful for everyone in the family.  There are things that happen each day that slip by and might be important to your family member to hear about – if you don’t write and tell him/her about them they’ll never know.  Getting messages from home is important as it is another way of connecting as a family and will make your reunion much easier.  You can also keep a copy of all of the emails back and forth, print them out and make them into a book for your entire family to look through when your family member returns.  It is a great way of looking at your journey together and connecting back with each other.

Writing Suggestions:

* Write about the worst and best part of your week

* Write about the toughest thing and easiest thing that you have had to deal with since they left

* Write about the things that they are most looking forward to in the next couple of weeks, months or next year

* Write about all the ways that you miss them and then add a few that you don’t miss…  (toilet seat up, phone always ringing, etc)

* Write about the most annoying things that happened to you in a day

* Write about changes that have been happening around the base, at work, in your house, in your neighbourhood

* Write about the way you are changing and the things you think you are learning about yourself through the absence

When people put their thoughts to paper there is an additional step of processing that takes place.  People are able to really think about how they are feeling and reflect on it.  In turn, this is helpful for the absent family member as they are able to read what your thoughts and feelings are and process these in their own time without having to give immediate responses. I cannot emphasize enough how important the process of writing (in a journal, through email, or scrapbook) is when working through an absence, challenging time in your life or a reunion.

For more information about our tips, books or blog go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

Tips for Military Families – Top Five Reintegration Tips


Top Five Things To Do Before Before Reuniting


1) Have a day of rest and pampering so that you are all well rested before seeing each other

2) Make sure rooms and spaces are organized and tidied out so that your returning family member feels as though there is a physical space for them and places for them to re-establish themselves in the house

3) Have a box of memories and photos ready for them to look at of positive things that have happened while they were away

4) Hide notes around the house telling the returning family member about all of the things that you missed about them or love about them

5) Make a bulk emailing list and letter to let people know that your family member is safely home but that the adjustment back to family life will take time and that you will get in touch with them when things have settled down a bit.

For more information about our tips, blogs, books and resources go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip and have a chance to win a free copy of our latest journal write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips for Military Families: When They’re Back – Tip #12


While You Were Away Box – Tip #12

For younger children or children that have difficulty writing, it is important for them to document the absence in their own way.  Have them create and decorate a ‘While You Were Away Box’.  It can be any size but remember to think about how long the absence is going to be and have a box that will be able to fit items into it for the entire absence.  This box will be another way of sharing their experiences when your family member returns.  It will be a way of starting conversation and bridging some of the gaps that occured while they were away.

Box Suggestions:

* Pictures

* Awards

* Shoe lace

* Tooth

* Prize won/recieved

* Receipt

* Ticket Stubs

* Ribbons

* Candy

* School newsletter

* Art work

* A test or project from school

* Coin

* Newspaper article or magazine pictures

* Leaf or pressed flower

* Cards

* Wrapping paper

* Invitation

** Nothing with an expiry date!!  :)

For more information about our blogs, books and resources please go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit your own tip please write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

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