Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of family well-being? What is the most common issue and how do you address it?
A: Every family is different and your path to achieving a sense of well-being may look different than your neighbor’s approach. Here are some ideas that are easy to implement and which contribute to overall family well-being.
- Cook and eat together as often as possible. Cooking and sharing a meal encourages cooperation, promotes healthier eating, and engages families in conversation. In the beginning, make the meals fun and easy, such as pancakes for dinner or sandwich night.
- Gather together for a weekly family activity night. Carving out time each week to share enjoyable activities together strengthens connections with one another and creates lasting shared memories. You can go for a bike ride, play a board game, or pop some popcorn and watch a movie. Focus on carving out and protecting this time for your family.
- Hold regular family meeting meetings. Holding regular meetings allows all family members to understand that their voice and perspective matters to the family and that they contribute to important discussion and decisions. Family meetings may be as simple as planning out an upcoming family activity or more complex like coordinating a family calendar or creating a family mission statement.
- Take time to review your family history through scrapbooks and photo albums. Looking at scrapbooks and photo albums creates a sense of connection and history to both immediate and extended family members and strengthens bonds with those near and far.
- Volunteer together in your community. Volunteering connects your family to the community in which you live, work and play. While volunteering during COVID may be more challenging, there are still opportunities to make community connections.
Q: There are workshops on how to talk to our military kids on PCS, Deployment and Post Deployment. What about retirement? No more military life for them?
A: Separation or retirement from the service is a transition for military kids too. Check with your local Information & Referral office to see what kinds of programs are available to help military kids transition to civilian life where you live. Your child might also enjoy participating in their school’s Ambassador, Student-to-Student, or Anchored for Life programs, which would keep them engaged with other military connected kids. In some instances, kids may retain access to military installations and may participate in some of the MWR activities on base, like the movie theater or bowling lanes where they can remain connected to other military kids.
Q: How do you properly support your wife with a newborn overseas and no family visitation to assist?
A: Having a new baby is exciting, but when you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from your family support structure, it can also be isolating and overwhelming. Here are some tips:
- Your Deployment Readiness Coordinator (DRC) is a great resource, so make sure she’s connected. Whether it’s a quick check-in phone call, or a unit function while you’re away, it’s a great way to stay connected with spouses going through the same situation. Your DRC can even help with finding additional resources and groups that will help your spouse along the way.
- While COVID has impacted our ability to socialize in many ways, encourage your spouse to develop connections with one or two go-to people that you trust and can rely on.
- Join a parent and baby group for social connections. Some groups meet outside to walk, while others have moved to virtual platforms.
- Have an honest conversation with your spouse about what she needs from you to feel supported and then do your best to make it happen.
- Reach out to available resources, like the New Parent Support Program or Child and Youth Programs for resources, tips and services.