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1001 Tips for Military Families – #420

Paper Chains – Tip #420

Deployments are hard and anything that you can do to create a connection each day will definitely help not only on the actual day but when you are re-united. A paper chain is a visual way of marking time, saying that you care and connecting each day.  Before they leave for any long absence or deployment, create a paper chain for the number of days that they are going to be away (add a few extra or do 365 days if you aren’t sure – you can always take some off and use them another time).  Use different colour strips, designs or funky shapes of paper.  On the pieces of paper write a message for each day.  Your mother, father, wife, girlfriend, brothers and sisters, children, etc. will be able to count down the time until you come home and see it visually passing by and read some funny, silly, inspirational, inside jokes, loving or romantic thoughts each day that may make the time a part just a little easier.


* Go on a joke a day website and print off jokes and make strips that way

* Use quotes that tell someone how much they are loved

* Write all the things that you like/love about them

* What you’ll be missing most about them

* Finish sentences like:

– The best thing about you is…

– I miss the way you…

– Remember the time we…

– Only ___ more days until I see you…

– The hardest things about being away are…

– When I get back we will…

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


9 Responses

  1. Hi Magan,
    I came across your blog and was taken by what I read. I deployed to both Operation Dessert Shield/ Dessert Storm and to Bosnia-Herzegovina. If I had the paper chain with me during my deployments, something so simple would have made the challenge of deployment much easier. Keep up the good work. It makes a difference.

    Kevin Zimmerman

    • Thanks Kevin. I would love to hear any suggestions that you have too. My husband is heading into his third deployment and most of my tips come from living it! I was also fortune to work at a military base school for a number of years as a guidance counselor and teacher and that has really helped with my writing too. I really appreciate you taking the time to write to me. I often wonder who reads my tips and whether or not they find them helpful!

  2. I’ve heard of doing this for the kids, too. That would be time intensive work!! But worth it. How does a soldier pack a chain like that? just out of curiosity. 🙂 Great blog.

    • It really doesn’t take long as you’d think – we did one while watching a movie together. The paper chain I am referring to is for your family member to do prior to leaving. For messages for them, I would suggest taking a post-it note pad and writing a note on each page and then it is easy to pack and they just remove a page a day. Thanks for your comments, keep them coming!

  3. I made a paper chain also, but every day when I take one off, I write what my son and I did that day. I put them in a jar and when I send a care package out to hubby, I send what days we’ve already been through, so he can see what we’ve been doing. I’m contemplating sending him a stapler so as we’re taking it apart, he can put the chain together where he is. I’m just wondering if he’ll have enough room!

  4. […] that just strips of paper.  Some great ideas for personalizing a paper chain can be found on the While You Were Away blog; I think it would be great to write a little love note on each link before attaching it to the […]

  5. I will definitely have to do this during J’s deployment. Thank you for the inspiration! (Reblogged on The Shakti Within).
    Namaste! -Sarah

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