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141st - Deployment Resources (Ages 0-3)

Deployment - Emotional Signs and Coping Strategies

0-3   3-5   5-8   8-12   13-18   Adults

Children: Ages 0-3 


Pre-Deployment 

Emotional Signs:
May or may not understand that parent is leaving
Closer to deployment, child may be clingy or cry
Dependant on response from parent
May "act out" by being cranky or fussy 

Suggestions for Coping:
Participate as a couple in child care (bathing, changing, feeding)
Try to be relaxed; infants are intuitive
Give the child a picture of the deploying parent and child that is "theirs" to carry around and look at often

During Deployment
 
Emotional Signs:
Restless nights, sleep problems,waking during the night
May repeatedly ask questions as to where the parents are
Dependent on guardian for understanding and reassurance
May exhibit increased irritability, fussiness 

Suggestions for Coping:
Reassure your child as much as possible by showing him/her pictures of the deployed loved one
Be patient-with yourself and your child. Let your child know he/she can take about the absent member as much as he/she needs
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Keep life simple, don't take on extra projects that add stress

Reunion / Homecoming 

Emotional Signs:
Child may feel afraid of parent leaving again
Child may be cautious as to reentry of parent
May "act out" by being cranky or fussy (toddler may be more oppositional) 

Suggestions for Coping:
Participate as a couple in child care (bathing, changing, feeding)
Be affectionate and playful with your spouse; your toddler will join in
Sit on floor and wait for your little one to approach you
Never force your toddler to hug, kiss, or play with you listen carefully to them and accept their feelings
Try to be relaxed; Infants are intuitive