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Thread: activities for kids 3 and under while Daddy is gone??

  1. ArmyWife712006
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    Confused activities for kids 3 and under while Daddy is gone??

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    Ok so everywhere I look there are all these activities for kids to do while Daddy is gone...but when about little kids...my son is just over 2 years old now and I don't know what to do with him as far as activities go while his dad is gone...I want him to understand the best he can but how do you explain a 15 month deployment to a 2 year old? any suggestions?
    Thanks Nicole
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    #2
    Our son was 3 when my DH deployed the first time.

    This is one thing that worked well with our son - we had a huge kid's atlas, the sturdy cardboard kind that we would open on the floor. The middle pages had all the countries and we would walk our fingers from the US to where DH was. We would walk there to say good morning and then walk there to say good night.

    The map also had animals, trees, or food indigenous to the countries, so we would talk about the animals daddy might be seeing (Camels), or the food he might be eating.

    I will try to remember what else we did, but that really stood out to me.

    Towards the end of the deployment, our DS helped a lot with sign making.

    I hope this helps a little!
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyWife712006 View Post
    Ok so everywhere I look there are all these activities for kids to do while Daddy is gone...but when about little kids...my son is just over 2 years old now and I don't know what to do with him as far as activities go while his dad is gone...I want him to understand the best he can but how do you explain a 15 month deployment to a 2 year old? any suggestions?
    Thanks Nicole
    I have a 2yr old son just about, and I too have no clue what I can do for him.... He keeps asking for "Daddy" and it breaks my heart each and everytime I have to say.. "Daddy's not here, baby. I'm sorry.".....
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyWife712006 View Post
    Ok so everywhere I look there are all these activities for kids to do while Daddy is gone...but when about little kids...my son is just over 2 years old now and I don't know what to do with him as far as activities go while his dad is gone...I want him to understand the best he can but how do you explain a 15 month deployment to a 2 year old? any suggestions?
    Thanks Nicole
    Do you think he would understand something visual?

    For navy deployments and cruises, we used to make chains out of construction paper, one link for each day. Be sure to label each one with a date or change colors for the month, so in case you forget it will be easy for you to catch up. You will need to do some parts yourself, but you can figure out which parts he'd be able to help with. If he doesn't do paste at all, maybe he can 'color' the papers before you cut them into strips to make the chains. Anyhow, once you make the chain, hang it around the ceiling or somewhere very visible.

    Another option is a 'kiss jar,' in which you take a large clear jug (like a big Gatorade bottle or something) and count out Hershey kisses (or whatever is most appropriate) for each day Dad will be gone. If you are able to do this before Dad leaves, you can make a big deal of Dad counting the kiddes and putting them in the jar. Then every night before bed, or at whatever time works best for you, your son can get his "kiss from Daddy."

    Also- and this is where techno stuff is great-- make your own deployment yearbook, using a digital camera. Every month or so, take a good picture of your son, get it printed and send it to Daddy. Dad will then take a picture of himself and the son, doing something 'together,' as it were. You could also make life-size drawings of your son every month or so on the back of some wrapping paper or something and send that for the photo. Have Dad get a digital photo, and then you assemble them into a slide show or on-line book.

    Have Dad record (video or voice) himself reading bedtime stories, and play them so your son can see/hear them. You could even combine this with the goodnight kiss from Daddy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eelo View Post
    Do you think he would understand something visual?

    For navy deployments and cruises, we used to make chains out of construction paper, one link for each day. Be sure to label each one with a date or change colors for the month, so in case you forget it will be easy for you to catch up. You will need to do some parts yourself, but you can figure out which parts he'd be able to help with. If he doesn't do paste at all, maybe he can 'color' the papers before you cut them into strips to make the chains. Anyhow, once you make the chain, hang it around the ceiling or somewhere very visible.

    Another option is a 'kiss jar,' in which you take a large clear jug (like a big Gatorade bottle or something) and count out Hershey kisses (or whatever is most appropriate) for each day Dad will be gone. If you are able to do this before Dad leaves, you can make a big deal of Dad counting the kiddes and putting them in the jar. Then every night before bed, or at whatever time works best for you, your son can get his "kiss from Daddy."

    Also- and this is where techno stuff is great-- make your own deployment yearbook, using a digital camera. Every month or so, take a good picture of your son, get it printed and send it to Daddy. Dad will then take a picture of himself and the son, doing something 'together,' as it were. You could also make life-size drawings of your son every month or so on the back of some wrapping paper or something and send that for the photo. Have Dad get a digital photo, and then you assemble them into a slide show or on-line book.

    Have Dad record (video or voice) himself reading bedtime stories, and play them so your son can see/hear them. You could even combine this with the goodnight kiss from Daddy.
    I love all of those ideas...... They might work with my little one too!
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    #6
    My son had just turned 3 when my husband deployed. It isnt easy at all but we are managing.

    He talks to him on the phone whenever he calls. We make pictures to send to daddy, my husband has a digital camera with him with video capibilities so I sent him some of my sons books and he recorded himself talking to him and reading to him and emailed me it. We look at the pictures on the wall alot. I talk about daddy. I dont say "daddy will be home soon" because at this age they have no concept of time. So once it gets closer I will start talking it up.

    I try to keep him busy and focused. Somedays it is hard and trying. It is so hard at this age to understand. All they know is daddy is gone. My son went thru a stage of crying himself to sleep and asking me to please not leave him. I explain I will never leave and daddy didnt leave forever.

    g'luck!
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    Here's another thing that a friend of mine in the Army did: Take a picture of Daddy and get it enlarged. Any picture will do, as long as it has a clear picture of his face. When the toddler asks for Daddy, show him the picture.

    My friend had a daughter that was born literally a day before we deployed. His wife took a picture of him holding her and blew it up to an 8x11. Every day before bed, the wife would kiss the picture while holding the baby. When the baby started vocalizing "dadadada", the wife help her up to the picture and would repeat "dadadada". Daddy had also taped himself reading bedtime stories, singing songs and generally doing silly stuff and would send them back while the wife sent back pictures of milestones (smiles, steps, vocalizing, etc).

    When the friend came back from his deployment, the baby looked up at him and said "Dada!"

    Every night before bed, have the toddler "kiss" Daddy goodnight (recommend you blow kisses or have plenty of glass cleaner, lol). Play a tape of Daddy singing and whenever the toddler asks for Daddy, pop in a tape of Daddy being silly.

    When Daddy's birthday comes up, have the toddler make a card for him with lots of pictures of himself. Actually MAKE a card... with lots of finger paints and glue and construction paper and videotape the toddler doing it. Make a cake too and videotape the eating of the cake (for a great gag, take a picture of a piece of cake and send it to him). Have a party for him and let the toddler play party games (pin the tail on the donkey, red light/green light, so on and so forth).

    I love the kisses thing, lol. I'm gonna have to use that when my hubby deploys.
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    #8
    DD's been through 2 deployments, and she's 3. The first one, she was an infant, so I didn't have to do much other than let her hear DH's voice for her to know him. I showed her pictures and let her listen to him when he was able to call (which was almost daily during that deployment).. When he came home 6 months later, it was like he'd never been gone as far as DD was concerned.. she went to him right away and he rocked her to sleep the first night back...

    The last deployment, workups and school we went through, she colored pictures and I'd scan/email them to DH.. that way she got to give daddy a daily drawing. For carepackages I let her go sticker and crayon crazy. She'd "write" daddy letters and decorate them with stickers..

    The Talk Listen Connect DVD from military onesource helped a lot too... www.militaryonesource.com http://www.sesameworkshop.org/tlc/

    DH called as often as possible and would talk to DD on the phone. He'd also include a special message in each email he sent just for her. I'd sit her on my lap and she'd hold his picture while I read the email to her.

    DH made DD a "daddy bear" at build a bear, complete with a special recording of him telling her that he loves her.. She still sleeps with daddy bear some nights, and DH has been home with us for a year now.

    Paper chains are great, if you have a definate return date. I did one for one of his workups because we knew exactly when he'd be back... I didn't like the idea of doing one before we had a return date because having to add to it can be depressing.

    I always reminded DD when she'd ask about daddy, that daddy was a hero, and that even though he was away from us at the time, he loved and missed us just as much as we missed him, and that he'd be home soon. I was also very open with her that her daddy was stationed on a ship on the ocean... to a 2 yr. old that's broken down to "daddy's on the ship in the big water" which is what she'd tell family/friends who asked about him.

    It's hard, but keeping both yourself and the kids busy helps so much.

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    #9
    Thanks for sharing.. We are about to go thru the exact same thing with deployment starting about 60 days for 15 months. Im thinking about putting daddy pics all over the house. Next to his bed, living room etc. Getting daddy dolls to maybe flat daddy.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by eelo View Post
    Do you think he would understand something visual?

    For navy deployments and cruises, we used to make chains out of construction paper, one link for each day. Be sure to label each one with a date or change colors for the month, so in case you forget it will be easy for you to catch up. You will need to do some parts yourself, but you can figure out which parts he'd be able to help with. If he doesn't do paste at all, maybe he can 'color' the papers before you cut them into strips to make the chains. Anyhow, once you make the chain, hang it around the ceiling or somewhere very visible.

    Another option is a 'kiss jar,' in which you take a large clear jug (like a big Gatorade bottle or something) and count out Hershey kisses (or whatever is most appropriate) for each day Dad will be gone. If you are able to do this before Dad leaves, you can make a big deal of Dad counting the kiddes and putting them in the jar. Then every night before bed, or at whatever time works best for you, your son can get his "kiss from Daddy."

    Also- and this is where techno stuff is great-- make your own deployment yearbook, using a digital camera. Every month or so, take a good picture of your son, get it printed and send it to Daddy. Dad will then take a picture of himself and the son, doing something 'together,' as it were. You could also make life-size drawings of your son every month or so on the back of some wrapping paper or something and send that for the photo. Have Dad get a digital photo, and then you assemble them into a slide show or on-line book.

    Have Dad record (video or voice) himself reading bedtime stories, and play them so your son can see/hear them. You could even combine this with the goodnight kiss from Daddy.

    We did all the above except we didn't have a kiss jsr. What we did was put m&m's or comething in the jar, the same number of days he would be gone and before bed they got one. The could see the jar getting empty and new it would be soon. We also(still do) put pictures of him all over. And a nice one of them with daddy and hung it over the bed. I went to the mall and made one of those photo calenders with pics of him and the kids. Everyday they put a sticker on the day.
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