I don’t know about you but I love countdowns. When my husband is deployed I have my own personal countdowns. I countdown to when I think he might get home, even though I know it will change. I countdown to when a book I want to read is going to be released, one of my children’s birthdays or any trips we might have planned. Always having something exciting just around the corner is a good way to deal with the deployment. It keeps you from going too crazy thinking about the end date and helps you focus on what is happening right now.
There are different and creative ways to countdown during a deployment. Here are just a couple of ideas you might like to use with your own kids.
* Old fashioned calendar method- Have your kids take turns putting an X through each day. They can use fun colors. This is a great way for them to recognize the passing of time. I also like to have a small calender I use for myself. There is just something great about being able to cross off another day during a deployment. It means one day closer to your loved one coming home.
* Candy in a jar- This is where you fill up a jar with enough candy to be able to pull 1-2 out a day until the end of the deployment. Each day your kids can pull a piece of candy out to signify another deployment day is gone. If your kids are young enough it is easy to add candy if the deployment gets delayed.
* Paper chains- I remember we use to make these for Christmas in school but now I can make them for deployments. You can easily make a paper chain with your children and then hang it up around the house. Each day you get to rip one off.
If counting down isn’t your thing, why not count up? Counting up shows you just how far you have come. Instead of breaking off a link in the chain, you could build a chain. Instead of taking candy out of a jar you could fill a chair with pennies.
Another option is to simply countdown the weeks or the months of the deployment rather than the days. You could work together with your kids to create a deployment scrapbook. Make a page for every week that Mom or Dad is gone with activities that you have done. This is a great way to remember the memories you made during the deployment and share them with your loved one when they return.
Make sure that any countdown you do is not public. It is fine to countdown privately but it isn’t okay to share that on a public website such as Facebook. You want to remember OPSEC when you are sharing anything about the Military online.
How do you like to countdown a deployment? What has worked well for your own children?