For MilParents, deployment preparation has an extra, important step — preparing your children for each phase of the deployment cycle (before, during and after deployment).

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There may not be one right way to prepare children for a deployment, but you can use these tools, resources and methods to create a customized plan to support your family.

Preparing for deployment as a parent

Put your textbooks away. There is no by-the-book way to prepare your child for the separation that comes with deployment. Formulating a family-specific plan for your military deployment will take parental instinct, communication and planning. Here are some strategies to get you started.

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Having a baby when deployed

Birth doesn’t wait for deployment to end. Whether you are the spouse of a deployed service member who has just given birth or a service member away from the magical moment, you still can be connected to each other and experience the delivery. Military OneSource provides strategies so you can stay connected to your growing family.

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Helping children and youth deal with deployment

A deployment can bring out strong emotions in family members and cause stress and anxiety, especially in children. By understanding how preschool and school-age children react during deployments and by preparing ahead of time for this big change, you can make sure each phase of the deployment is successful. Check out steps to create your own deployment plan and tips for supporting your children through each phase of the deployment cycle. In addition to Military OneSource resources, Sesame Street for Military Families and Military Kids Connect have programs and videos for children and youth whose parents are deploying.

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Helping families transition when deployment ends

Reunion after deployment can cause mixed emotions. While it is often an exciting time, some stress also is normal. Whether this is your family’s first or fifth reunion, each one is different and the change can be difficult. Be patient with yourself, your spouse and your children, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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