Originally published on About.com

Sunday, June 21 is the official day of dad! If your service member is going to be deployed this Father’s Day, we’ve got a few ideas to help you and the kids make it special, even though you won’t be able to spend the day with dad in person.

When dreaming up the perfect gift for dad, remember to include the past, the present and the future. Inspire him with some of his favorite fatherhood memories.

Don’t forget to share informative updates about what’s going on while he’s away. And of course, provide some supportive activities that he can look forward to enjoying with the entire family when he returns!

No matter your timeline, budget or the age of your kids, here are a few ideas to help plan out the perfect gift for the deployed dad in your family’s life.

Show dad you’ve got his back

As a MilSpouse, you want your service member to know you’ve got things covered while they’re away. This isn’t to say that you don’t need or appreciate your partner’s help and input; but you also want them to know that things on the homefront are in good hands and under control.

If your service member has an unfinished DIY, help him out by rallying the kiddos and finishing it up for him. This will let the kids feel included in something important that dad started, and progress can be shared in your next video chat.

If dad didn’t leave with any unfinished projects around the house, create one that he could appreciate!

A rope or tire swing, for example is something you can create, with the help of the kids, and something that dad can enjoy with them when he comes home.

Start a deployment countdown that’s fun for the kids. The classic Kiss Jar Countdown is the perfect way to count down the days until your service member comes home, sharing a treat with the little ones to remind them of their dad. Send your deployed love some pictures, or a video, of the kiss jar being put to good use. This way, dad can see that he is staying involved on a daily basis.

Deployment is tough for the whole family, there’s no denying it! Creating something fun, with everyone in mind, will help you all weather the latest deployment, and create lasting memories when you’re all finally together again.

Show dad what’s going on back at home

If your service member has been deployed before, you probably know by now how special a simple cardboard box can be! A care package with freshly baked (vacuum sealed) cookies, and a few photos can go a long way. For Father’s Day, send over a themed box with tasty homemade treats, current photos of the family, and a few handmade items that will allow him to hold onto a little piece of home, created just for him.

Sit down with your kids and enjoy some crafts that are all about dad! A Father’s Day Jar of Love or a thumbprint frame (with a family picture, of course) are small items that can be easily shipped and enjoyed for as long as he’s away. Before sealing up the box and sending it around the world, include a letter from each child, telling dad why he’s the best!

If dad’s in a position to video chat, gather the kids and just hang out with him. If you’re missing him like crazy, you know he’s feeling the same way! Take advantage of the time you have, making sure he’s smothered by virtual love this Father’s Day.

Plan something fun for him to look forward to

Whether it’s by video chat or an email, let dad know he’ll be pampered in person when he returns home.  If you know the date of his return, spoil him with some tickets to his favorite team’s game, a night out at his favorite restaurant, or enjoying some live outdoor music with the entire family.

It’s not how much you spend, it’s about the thought that goes into the gift. Even when he’s far away, think of how you can make his day 100% better by showing how much you love him!

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