Deployment is hard for most family members, but especially your kids. Military life comes with many challenges: changing schools, moving from place to place, saying goodbye to everyone they know, and starting over. These make being a military kid harder to deal with. It isn’t something they decided for themselves—it was chosen for them. As the parent, we have to teach our children how to deal with this type of stress. But the most stressful and hardest moment for most family members is deployment—especially for children. Fortunately, there are many books great for reading to children that can help with understanding and coping with deployment.
Here are the top five books on the subject:
1. I Miss You! A Military Kid’s Book About Deployment by Beth Andrews
This book does a great job talking about how to handle deployment. Not only is it designed to help children, but parents can take away a few lessons as well. A social worker who assisted many military families wrote this book as a tool for both children and adults to deal with their emotions. The text encourages their feelings and emotions by drawing. It also comes with a really great parent guide.
2. Deployment: One of Our Pieces is Missing by Julia Cook
This book explains the process of a service member leaving the household. Using rhymes to show the honor for military service men and women, it provides ways to promote discussion between parents and kids about the highs and lows of deployment.
3. My Daddy is Deployed by Brandy Marik
Anna’s dad is deployed, and this is a story is meant to share a story about another child’s family going through the same thing. Not only does it help share another perspective that military children can relate to, but also what it’s like, using illustrations meant for kids ages 0-3.
4. A Paper Hug by Stephanie Skolmoski
What can a child give their father who is leaving for a deployment? This one little boy was determined to find the best gift—a paper hug. Use this book to read with little ones and talk about why a paper hug was something the child in the story felt would be an appropriate gift.
5. But What If? by Sandra Miller Linhart
But What If is an accurate depiction of the questions and insecurities children might have during a deployment. Consider reading this book right before a service member returns home from deployment.
Every one of these books are important to talk about after reading. Each has their own meaning and way of portraying a specific message for your children, but it is imperative that you talk with them after reading each one. During this emotional time, your children need to talk and express themselves. The books listed above are just ways to get them to understand how to do that. Being the parent, you can help model that for them by beginning the conversations.