Deployment is a strenuous time on families. Not only does it affect how families interact and communicate, but it also tends to cause possible questions and issues as well. Adults can understand a bit more about deployments and the reasons for it happening. But when it comes to children…it’s a really hard concept for them to grasp.
Deployment Facts and Statistics
While most of us are probably familiar with the basics of deployment, here are just a few deployment facts and statistics that every family should know.
More than 2 million children have had at least one parent deployed
Being deployed changes the flow of families entirely. There are over 2 million children affected by deployment in the world today. It’s important to find ways to keep them interacting and communicating with that parent who was deployed.
Children in military families may experience more mental health-related issues than other children
When mom or dad get deployed, this can trigger a lot of stress and possibly trauma in children. They have questions and don’t fully understand why mom or dad are leaving for long durations of time. This is where finding a way to allow that deployed parent to communicate is key!
Those are just a few statistics that children can and possibly will go through when a parent is deployed. There are many other things, in addition, to think about and consider as well.
It’s no secret that a child’s mind is constantly worrying and wondering, so when a parent is deployed and unable to be seen or communicated with, those questions and worry will most likely be heightened.
What is United Through Reading and how did it change our lives?
We were first introduced to United Through Reading for the second deployment of my husband, Clay. The first deployment was an eye-opener is just how hard it was to keep that communication and connection going with Clay and the children, and this is why United Through Reading was on our radar.
When Clay was deployed for his 2nd tour, we had just welcomed our youngest, Caleb, into the family. Clay was leaving while Caleb was just a baby, and I was worried about how (and if) Caleb would recognize Clay when he returned from his deployment.
I attribute the United Through Reading program as one of the biggest reasons that Caleb transitioned and recognized Clay upon his return from deployment! He knew him from all the interaction that we were able to have with him while he was gone, and he also knew his voice from the varying readings as well.
To say that the United Through Reading program made a huge difference in our family life is a true understatement.
United Through Reading
Started in 1989, United Through Reading recognized that there was a need for connections to be fostered and kept while parents in the active military were deployed.
The mission of United Through Reading?
“Together, we unite military families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud.”
With this simple mission, the impact of United Through Reading has changed the lives of millions of military families.
How does United Through Reading work?
United Through Reading is available for those who are serving in the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserves, and Special Operations Forces. It’s available for those who are on drill weekend duty and deployment, etc. Read all about it in more detail HERE.
The basic purposes of the United Through Reading program is to allow parents who are away by cause of deployment, or other various reasons, to be able to connect and bond with their children.
Through simple means of video chatting, parents can read books to their children with ease and have a storytime that the children will look forward to and love.
I still remember the very first book that Clay read to Caleb using the United Through Reading program. It was Dr. Seuss, “Green Eggs and Ham”, and Caleb loved every moment of seeing daddy on the screen and hearing his voice read those silly words.
I firmly believe if it wasn’t for the amazing United Through Reading program, Clay’s returns and transition back into family life would have been much more difficult. The video chats and story times that we were able to do created a magical bonding moment for him and the kids.
They were able to have their own copy of the book and follow along or look at pictures and pages, while daddy had his book at his location as well. I was able to sit back and watch this beautiful bonding moment as well and I couldn’t be more grateful.
If you’re looking for a program that can help ease some of the emotions possibly for your child going through deployment feats, please consider checking out the United Through Reading program. It’s an amazing resource that truly did wonders for our family.