1001 Tips for Military Families – #417

Unexpected Absences – Tip #417

Unexpected absences are a reality of military life but they can also feel like trying to run a marathon when you haven’t trained a day in your life!  There are a lot of things that you can do to make it a little easier for yourself and your family

* Take notes – go on a quick tour of your home and talk about basics (where shut off valves are, fuse boxes, emergency supplies, flash lights, candles, etc.).  Insure that you have access to accounts, billing information, mortgage payments, cell phone/internet passwords.  If they have already left suddenly, walk around the house and write down all the questions you have and send it in an email

* Before they leave ask for unit contact information, an email address you can use to send messages, rear party information, etc.

* Send out a bulk email to friends and family letting them know that your family member is leaving suddenly (do not give out any information that would compromise the mission or not be made available to the public).  In the email let people know when you will be contacting them again, don’t be afraid to ask for their help or support and end the email with a communication plan (for whenever you get updates or hear from your family member), your contact information and a phone tree.

* If you have children, ensure that you contact their daycare or school and let them know what is happening and any changes in contact information (your family member may have been on their contact list – you will now need to give them another name and number in the event that they are unable to reach you).

* Post on the fridge (yours and any other friends or family that are willing) home, work, cell and other contact information so it is easy to see and find

* Talk about finances and budget.  Be sure that you are both on the same page and you have a good sense of what money is available to you, how to access it and how it should be spent.

* Create some fun short term goals that your family can enjoy trying to achieve and feel almost immediate success with

* Ensure that you have the authority to travel with children (forms are available on the web) signed, passports and other travel documents (in case they have an HLT and you want to go and meet them somewhere or just go and visit family or friends out of the country)

* Get recent photos of funny moments or happy family times and have them printed and displayed in the house.

* Get a calendar and update all of the events and happenings over the next couple of months.  Circle them if they are a priority and leave the others as; ‘nice to do if I am up to it’.

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

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

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