Supporting Infants and Toddlers Through a Parent's Deployment
Military Children Have Unique Needs
Supporting the children of our military personnel has always been near and dear to my heart, having been raised in a military family. Various resources exist in print and online for school-aged kids and teens, but there hasn't been a wealth of information available for the youngest that are left behind when a parent is deployed.
The Youngest Ones on the Homefront are Often Overlooked
As a clinician that provides support and guidance to programs for Infant and Maternal Mental Health, my mind always wandered to the smallest ones impacted by parental absence. This group of young children is often overlooked. They don't yet have the words to tell us how they feel, yet they feel nevertheless. We know that any child that is old enough to experience love is also old enough to experience loss. We also know that infants and young children are greatly impacted by their environment and by the emotional well-being (as well as stress) of those who care for them.
New Resources Specifically Geared for Young Children
Now, Zero to Three has developed some fabulous resources to help the youngest of the young that are left behind when a parent is deployed. Perhaps you are not in a military family, but chances are you know someone who is. I urge you to share this information with them.
Amongst the resources available are:
7 brochures that highlight a variety of ways to support young children These are excellent!
Young Children on the Homefront: DVD You can view this online.
Over There: When Daddy is Deployed: A workbook to help children A great resource if dad is deployed!
Over There: When Mommy is Deployed: A workbook to help children A great resource if mom is deployed!
Little Listeners: Coping Strategies During Deployment Great information!
Helping Your Child Deal with Relocation Wonderful! To help older children deal with relocation, check out our workbook, "My Moving Story: A Workbook for Children About Relocation"
Honoring Our Babies: Supporting Young Children Affected by a Military Parent's Deployment, Injury or Death Dealing with the some of the toughest issues that face military families.
It's difficult to think about how all of these issues impact young children, and it's easy to think that they don't take much notice of all the changes around them. The truth is, they do. The above resources can help.
When we know how to best support young children, we can lessen the impact that big changes have on them, and we can also support their growth and development.
More Great Resources that Support Young Children
If you are looking for more resources to support your young child's optimal cognitive and emotional growth, you must visit and become familiar with all of the wonderful work that Deborah McNelis at Braininsights is involved with. Braininsights has wonderful Activity Packets that help busy parents engage their tots in fun and educational ways!
Stress Free Kids offers an array of products that help reduce stress and anxiety. They have a special discount for military families.
And be sure to stop by Personal Child Stories to see the amazing, personalized resources you can have tailored to meet your family's needs. Personal Child Stories is a Kidlutions Preferred Product Award winning resource for social-emotional development.
You can catch a quick and ever-so-sweet glimpse of a book by Personal Child Stories written for a family dealing with deployment here: