When Bob was active duty, he sometimes traveled more than he was home and I developed quite a few tips to help the family stay connected to him. Little did I know that one day, the roles would be reversed and I would be the one traveling. Although I traveled a lot less than he did, we still applied the rules of connectivity to our family.

  • Regular Schedules – It’s important for kids to have normal bedtime and meal routines.  This helps them to feel secure even when a parent is gone.
  • Decaf Schedules – The children’s schedules can be a tremendous burden to those at home. Try to minimize the addition of extra events or projects tothe spouse’s workload.  Learn to say “no” or “later” at those times.
  • Scheduled Splurges –  While it’s important to keep a schedule, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional splurge.  Scheduling the fun of an ice cream cone, pizza night, or a matinee gives the kids something to anticipate.
  • Art From Hearts Apart – Any elementary school parent knows that kids bring home a gazillion papers each week.  Save the best artwork and grades and tuck them in an envelope.  Then sneak the envelope into the traveler’s bag. They’ll savor the thought—and the surprise.
  • Keep the Home Fires Burning –  To kindle those home fires, Bob and I substitute something else for artwork and sneak them into bags.  Once on an airliner I got my briefcase and removed my laptop only to have Bob’s smiley face boxer shorts drop on the floor!
  • Remember me? – Take along a framed family photo and place it on the television in the hotel room.  This provides a measure of accountability and serves as a reminder what’s waiting at home.
  • Phone Home – Sometimes emails are not enough—we want to hear their voice.  If possible, hard schedule regular phone calls.  Bob and I talk at 10:00 p.m. one night (for couple time) and 8:00 p.m. another night (so the kids can talk.)
  • Family Budget – Frequent travel can add financial stress if we’re not careful.  Make use of coupon apps like Coupon Sherpa or Yowza to find inexpensive ways to have entertainment.  Scan the Internet and newspapers for restaurant/pizza/entertainment coupons.  My web site has links to values that can keep your finances on target.
  • It’s PAPA!!!– If the military member travels frequently, there can be a tendency to have the traveler do the airport gig alone.  As often as possible, make the homecoming special by meeting them at the airport.  There’s nothing quite like walking down that ramp and hearing a chorus of “PAPA!” followed by hugs and kisses.
  • There’s No Place Like Home – A big part of healthy separations lie in healthy reunions.  Celebrating the time at home doesn’t mean we walk on eggshells.  But it does mean we maximize our time by prioritizing schedules to enjoy family times.
Thank you, Military Families for Your Service,
Ellie Kay
America’s Family Financial Expert (R) 

©2016-2020 Ellie Kay


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