military dad deploying

Dads in the Military

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m in the military and about to deploy. I have two children under 5 and a third who will be born while I’m gone. What should I do prepare (them, my wife, and myself) before I leave?

A: At any given moment, there are about half a million children under five in military families where dad or mom is deployed. For many military dads, the hardest part of deployment is trying to maintain relationships with their wife and children—or create one with a child who’ll be born while dad is thousands of miles away. That’s not going to be easy. But with a little preparation and a lot of commitment, it can be done. Here’s how.

Since your new baby will be born while you’re away, start by recording yourself (audio and/or video) reading stories. Then ask your wife to play recordings near her belly every night until the baby comes and to keep up the routine after the birth. That’ll keep your voice fresh in the baby’s mind so when you get back you won’t be as much of a stranger. Since it doesn’t matter what you read, you might as well record some of your older kids’ favorites, so they can enjoy story-time with dad too.

For your older kids, you and your wife should sit down and talk with them before you leave. Explain in age-appropriate terms exactly what’s happening and why. Young children won’t be able to grasp the concept of war or being gone a year, so keep it simple: daddy’s going far away for a while to help people. Kids under five still haven’t developed a lot of empathy and what they really want to know is how your being gone will affect them. Again, keep it simple: You’ll be back as soon as you can, and mommy will be there to take care of them.

Read the rest of this story on Armin’s blog.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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