Deployment gifts for kids
Besides staying busy during deployments being our children's safe space and rock was my number one priority.
I knew that I had to make the days count while allowing them to feel all the things while learning about why was dada away, why he wasn't coming home soon and why we could not call him.
Kids are very strong and as a parent my goal was to guide them through deployment and give them the resources to go through the ups and downs in a way where they could accept the situation without sheltering them.
Here are some of the items that helped our transition from having dada home to having him underwater throughout deployment. These are the things that helped our children with their emotions, their thoughts, their behaviors and new routines through it all plus some extra ideas to cater to other ages.
One of my favorites and this does not only apply to a deployment is Slumberkins. Their collections help children's growth through emotional and education learning. Each collection helps children build up their caring, confidence and resiliency. Their Fox character helps with big transitions and coping with big feelings; we used this in our family for when our routine changed and deployment took over. Every character comes with an affirmation card to practice their affirmation and take along and a board book with coping tools for both caregiver and child. They also offer a Military discount. https://slumberkins.com/pages/military-discount
or if you need a referral code here is mine https://slumberkins.com/pages/military-discount
If you and your kids love to read finding age appropriate reads to help them understand deployments can be very beneficial. Even if it is not a deployment related book having their deployed parent record themselves while reading their favorite book is such a lovely idea. Thanks to United Through Reading you can gift this to your child before deployment so they can hear their favorite person read them a story at night. https://unitedthroughreading.org/
They have a wonderful list of books you can choose from and a user-friendly app you can download.
Another gift idea is the Hug-a-hero or daddy doll. Daddy dolls are adorable and easy to shop for. Make sure you have a photo of your service member to upload and they will ship your doll. You can also add a recording to make it extra special. https://www.hugahero.com/
If you have older kids about 8 and up a creative journal could be very helpful. Allowing them to explore their feelings throughout deployment through writing and drawing can be an easy way to allow them to express themselves. Wreck This Journal is made for kids to follow creative prompts and get inspired. A great idea to cope with deployment.
Subscription boxes are also a great way to help children through deployments. Receiving a surprise box every month throughout deployment can help them look forward to something new and special that caters to their lifestyle. Here is a great one for kids 4-10 years old with countdown tools, treats and activities. https://www.cratejoy.com/subscription-box/counting-our-heroes-home/
If you have teens sometimes the best gifts for them are space, experiences and knowing that you will be there for them through this time. It might not be their first deployment however that does not take away how hard it can be on them as well. Plan specific outings with them, have their friends over, make it fun for them because during deployments we tend to rely on our oldest kids the most. Subscription boxes, set a halfway night fun event, gift them a memory book for photos.
If you are getting ready to tackle a deployment with kids I hope you found these gift ideas helpful and you try out what is best for your family.
Everyone's deployment is different and we are all doing the best we can.