This baby is completely thrown off by the fact that there are 2 men who look exactly like his dad. When he’s in his father’s identical twin brother’s arms, his double-takes and complete confusion are completely understandable, and completely adorable! When your spouse leaves you and your child(ren) for an extended period of time due to training or deployment, it’s important to keep the absent parent active in the child’s life so that your spouse won’t get receive that little girl’s expression upon their return, excited to see a happy family. Melissa Werner has provided some great advice on  Army Study Guide about supporting your toddler during deployment. We’d like to share some of her expert advice. Before leaving, make sure you get plenty of family photos and photos of just their dad (or whomever the deploying parent may be) and the child. Include pictures of regular day-to-day activities along with the truly special moments of your child having a blast with their father! Encourage your toddler to be helpful when the parent leaves. Ask them to help with simple chores that will make them feel special, and show gratitude for their help! A great example of this is for the deploying parent to ask the toddler to take care of something while their away: a soft hat or t-shirt for example are perfect because they are soft, comforting and virtually indestructible items the child can carry around to remind them of their dad. Once deployment is underway, make sure to establish routine activities that will incorporate their deployed dad into daily life. For example, have them blow a kiss to their deployed parent every night before bed, have your little one help you place those special pictures that were taken together around the house in places the toddler will see them, and tell your little one exciting stories of their father’s travels before bedtime. Patience is the most important thing to remember.  Your child might give you a tough time as soon as their parent leaves – just remember, they miss him as much as you do. Patience is key and will help you through the toughest of days. How do you help your kids cope with a parent’s deployment?

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