Most young children have a hard time with separation at one time or another. When they’re really young, little ones are still learning object permanence—the understanding that you still exist even when they can’t see you (that’s why five-month-olds love peek-a-boo—they’re starting to figure it out)!
Of course, even as kids grow, you’re still their favorite person! When you combine that fact with all the changes and transitions that military life can bring, you may find kids need extra assurance that you are coming back. Predictable, consistent morning routines can really help.
Continue old, tried-and-true good-bye routines as you both embark on new beginnings. After all, the family is on a new adventure, but some things stay the same! You may already have your own routines, or you can try some of these:
Next: Bedtime Routines
- Use a special good-bye phrase, such as See you later, alligator (after a while, crocodile).
- Try fist bumps, a special handshake, a special wave, or three kisses and a hug (or any combination of these).
- Give children little mementoes of you to keep in a pocket—a handkerchief, a mitten, a stone or shell found during a family trip—anything that reminds them of you.
- Tie a string around each child’s wrist. Say, “This is a reminder that I love you and that I’ll always come back.”
- Kiss each child’s palm and close the child’s fingers around it. Say, “Now you’ll be carrying my kiss around with you all day long.”
- And, of course, make up your own!