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1001 Tips for Military Families – Tip #428

Anxiety & Your Children – Tip #428

We all have anxiety in varying degrees.  We have things that can make our palms sweat, make us shake, want to scream, run away, etc.  Military life just on its own can be incredibly anxiety causing and especially for our children.  Military life is in a state of constant change, upheaval, uncertainty, worry and fear.  It is now believed that 1 in 10 children have anxiety that impedes their learning, ability to socialize and emotional development.  I believe that there many things that you can do to allievate their anxiety on a daily basis.

Top Ten Tips for Alleviating Anxiety:

1) Keep a regular routine with a few things each day – bedtime, dinner time, homework, etc.  These routines help to give your family a sense of control over their world, things that they can depend upon and count on each day, etc.

2) Have a calendar in a high traffic area that everyone in the family can add to and see.  Divide it into “must do” and “good to do” (you can use two highlighter colours to represent these two) this way people will know what is important and essential and what would be a good thing to do.

3) Look at how you display your own anxiety and see if that is also a trigger for their anxiety.  You may think you hide things well but your family may observe and internalize more than you think.

4) Talk about your anxiety and the things that you do to help yourself feel better with your family so that you are open and acknowledging that everyone has anxieties and we all have coping strategies to deal with it.

5) Create an exercise routine and make it as important as eating and sleeping – consider your day to only have 23.5 hours with 30mins being automatically used by exercise.

6) Do not watch any screens one hour prior to trying to go to sleep.  Screens emit light and light wakes up your brain.

7) Make several music mixes – relaxation, getting inspired/motivated, exercising

8) Rank their anxieties so that your family member can put them in perspective according to which ones are the worst.  When you have anxiety, it can feel as though they are all equal – they are not.

9) Deep breathing really does help.  Breathing in through the nose (slowly) and out through the mouth (as slowly as you can).  Many people have tried yoga and mediation with incredible success.

10) Be organized and clutter free.  Clutter and disorganization add to feelings of anxiety.  Clear out their closets, organize their things, keep things clean and tidy to create a space that they feel relaxed and comfortable in.  Many kids will argue they feel very comfortable in the clutter until they can’t find a favourite item, don’t have clean clothes, can’t find homework, etc.  and have a complete meltdown.  Don’t wait for the meltdown, panic attack, or screaming match.

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


1001 Tips for Military Families – #414

Laughter – Tip #414

If daily life is a recipe then laughter and fun are the primary ingredients.  In our family, we make a point of finding things to laugh about each day – we teach our children to laugh at themselves (by laughing at the silly and foolish things we also do at times), find fun in the hardest situations and make others happy if only for a few minutes each day.

During any stage of deployment or an extended absence it is easy to think about all of the things that are making your life difficult and miserable.  Don’t do it.  Teach your children how to be resilient by finding happiness and laughter in each day.  This strengthens them and you.


Facebook – “Humor During Deployment” page

* Each day people post amusing pictures or funny moments and it is nice to go to a site where you know what everyone is looking for – a laugh


* Make sure you monitor this carefully!  They have a ton of funny clips, just search under key words like “funny”, “silly people”, etc. but you can also see things you wish you never had or that would be inappropriate for younger children.  On the otherhand it is user friendly and easy to post and email other people’s posts out.


* They have 1000’s of jokes.  You could cut and copy one each day and send them out to your family members or put some on post it notes and leave them at the breakfast table or under plates at dinner.  You could spend 2mins as a family and choose one to send each day to your loved one away.


* The site isn’t too busy with advertisements and all of their jokes are categorized so that you could choose the joke to suit the day, week, month, occassion, subject, etc.


* You can get daily clips from TV shows or comedians – definitely more adult content though


* “14, 000 Quips and Quotes” – A fantastic resource to make you smile, laugh and think

* “Jokelopedia” – There are a ton of silly and funny jokes that are good for any occassion you can think of

* “Kids’ Silliest Jokes” – All appropriate and totally silly.  I use this book when making school announcements to get the students laughing first thing in the morning.  Sometimes I could hear the groans all the way in the office!


* They have cards to make you smile.  The kids cards have one side of “Did you know’s” and the other side is designed to brighten their day

* There are also cards for colleagues, girlfriends, people you want to appreciate and these cards have funny and inspirational quotes on them too.

* They are looking at designing ones for military families.  I will keep you posted!

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

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

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.
Lord Byron

Tips for Military Families – #180

Lists to Motivate – Tip #180

These ideas could be on your fridge door, bathroom door, kitchen door, or any space that you will see each morning before your day really gets into action.  The idea of creating a motivational list is to get your family or yourself thinking positively and re-affirming thoughts and emotions that help you to feel stronger and positive.  Each family member could have their own poster or page with their own list of daily tasks.  All of the tasks on the short list (5 max.) should take only a few seconds to a minute to complete.  You could have a whole family list or have each family member create their own list.  I used a list similar to the one below when my husband was deployed.


Everyday tasks, While You’re Away

Compliment someone
Tell someone that I love them
Say something I like about myself
Do something for someone else
Take a picture
Find something to laugh about
Set a goal for myself to do today
Name 5 things that I am grateful for

The idea behind the list being quick and easy to complete is to get yourself motivated to do things each day that are going to make you and those you love and care about feel good and live your life the best ways that you can without taking a lot of energy or precious time.

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

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

Megan Recommends – Daddy Will You Miss Me?

Megan’s book recommendation of the week – “Daddy Will You Miss Me?” by Wendy McCormick

In this book the Dad is going away to Africa for several weeks.  His son asks him questions and together they come up with ways that they will still be able to think about and communicate with each other (the wind from Africa coming in to his room each day and brushing his cheek with a good morning kiss).  In turn the boy decides to put something away in a box each day to tell and show his Dad when he gets back.  It is a gentle story of the challenges of separation and the things you can do to make it easier.  It would be a great read before a deployment or during one.

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

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

Megan Recommends – Guess How Much I Love You

Megan’s Recommendation for the week – “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney

This week I thought it would be nice to recommend a book that I believe every parent should read to their child at least once.  It is the story of Little Nutbrown Hare who tries to measure his love for his parent and in turn the parent tries to explain their own feelings for their child.  It is another book that will explain to your child that your love is deep and immesureable.  If you have a loved one away your child can feel forgotten or unloved at times.  I am not suggesting that this is rational but this is the reality.  Reading books like this one will reinforce to your child that they are loved beyond measure in ways they are able to relate to.

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

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

Tips for Military Families – Travel Consent

Travel Consent Letters –

When your family member is deployed or absent there may be times when you want to travel or need to travel unexpectidly.  Make sure that you are prepared in advance by completing a consent to travel with children form letter. Below are some examples.




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

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

101 Tips for When They’re Back – Preview Tip

101 Tips for When They’re Back: Tip #7 – Fullfill Promises

It is natural that many conversations began or ended with “When you get back I will or we will…”.  It is important that you each stand by the commitments that you made.  A large part of getting back on track in any relationship is redeveloping strong levels of trust and loyalty – If you aren’t willing to do what you promised you might struggle with both.  Be prepared to live up to what you have promised.


* Don’t make promises you know you will not be able to keep

* Think about what you say and how much of a time commitment the promise will be

* Be realistic with promises that you make

* If you make several promises, write them down so you don’t forget them

* Be specific with promises so that there are no misunderstandings later

* Ask for help if you need it

* Ensure the promises are affordable

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

If you have questions, tips or suggestions please write to us at: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org