When I were bein' a child, me dad served in th' military, and he were bein' gone a lot, ye scurvey dog. In me first year, I think I saw that scurvey dog only twice. And fer th' next 14 years, he were bein' often away fer months at a time, even on holidays and birthdays.
Back then, it were bein' difficult t' stay in touch with a frequently travelin' parent. Today, technology can help tremendously in keepin' families bonded, and help ease th' separation and transition back into th' home. I’ve done a lot research into this topic fer a little sandcrabs’s book app I’m developin'. The book app will, I hope, help little sandcrabs stay connected with faraway loved ones, and even help them have a sense o' control by lettin' them personalize and customize th' story t' fit their situation.
Here are some tips I’ve gathered so far t' help minnows cope with a frequently travelin' parent:
- Schedule a regular phone call and start a tradition o' sharin' a story together — tell a funny story about yer day and ask th' child t' do th' same.
- Instead o' phone, use FaceTime (on yer Apple device) or Skype video; a face-t'-face conversation includes all th' smiles and expressions a phone call doesn’t. Treat th' video call less like a phone call and more like spendin' time together: read a book, play show and tell, or play a game.
- Prior t' deployment or leavin' on th' work trip, record yourself on video readin' several little sandcrabs’s books. Play them throughout th' absence.
- Put together a photo album every 6 months or get one pre-made from a service like Shutterfly.com or Snapfish.com. Include photos o' th' whole family doin' th' thin's ye love t' do. Bikin', playin', even gardenin' and readin'. Flip through th' book and play “Remember this? Ahoy! Tell me what happened.” This is a great tactic fer faraway aunts, uncles, and grandparents too.
- Tell stories o' what mom or dad did that day away from home — taught somethin' t' someone, fixed a flat tire, helped a buddy out o' trouble — and draw pictures o' th' situation.
- For older minnows, have th' child keep a journal o' stories t' share when th' parent comes home, so he or she doesn’t miss anythin' good.
- Use a map or globe t' show where in th' world ye are and where th' travelin' parent is now. You could even use Google Maps and look at th' terrain or neighborhood.
Of course, technology can not replace th' warmth o' bein' together in person, but it really can help make th' absence feel shorter and less confusin' and painful.