November is Military Family Month, and as a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Capital District YMCA offers the following tips to help children of military families in the area cope while loved ones serve overseas.

Avoid the Countdown

 Try not to focus on the expected homecoming date of a loved one serving overseas as these dates can change. Instead, emphasize how mom or dad will be home once the work is done.

Give a Geography Lesson

Using maps and books to learn more about the place or region where the parent is stationed will empower the child and provide some comfort.

Family Ties that Bind

 Help the child stay connected during separation by building holiday care packages for the parent and taking advantage of local family programming. We offer membership discounts for military servicemen and women at each of our locations.

Monitor the Media

 News stories can scare or alarm children, keep an eye on the child’s media exposure and be prepared to answer questions prompted by what they see and hear.

Take Advantage of the Internet

Utilize Facebook, Skype and other chat services to keep in touch with the parent in real-time. This will let the child know their parent is safe while providing important bonding time.

Find Time for You

 When a loved one is away, the remaining caregiver takes on the brunt the family responsibilities. Take the time to ensure that you are stress-free and happy by taking care of yourself, which can lead to a happier family dynamic.