Defence Family Matters : September 2015
DFMSeptember2015 B eing deployed as a sole parent brings extra challenges. Here’s some ideas to help your child and their carer manage. EXPLAIN WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, who’s going to look after them, that you will be home again and that you will always love them. CREATE A CARE PLAN You could include everything from routines, discipline, food likes and dislikes, extended family, friends your child is allowed to visit, hobbies and interests and health care details. The more information the better. You might find it useful to list everything your child does for a few weeks—that should give you an idea about what to include. CONSENT FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT Ensure your caregiver has the legal right to consent to medical treatment. Also provide the carer with a complete medical history including vaccinations, significant illnesses and the contact details of medical professionals. You also need to ensure carers can act on your behalf with school and sporting arrangements. ESTABLISH FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS which may include allotments from your pay. Don’t forget money for fun activities such as movies and school excursions. DESCRIBE DAILY ROUTINES both for weekdays, weekends and holidays. For instance, if your child is allowed TV once ready for school, spell this out. If your child has an immovable bedtime, make sure the caregiver knows this. TALK ABOUT REACTIONS your child may have to your absence. Younger children may regress and become ‘clingy’. Older kids may act out, develop sleep problems or perform badly at school. HAVE THE CARER MOVE IN to your home—if possible. CHECK OUT THE CARER’S HOME— if your child is relocating. Before you deploy, show them around the house and garden and take them to their new childcare centre or school. Find some playgrounds or sports fields and if possible introduce them to some local children. 21 DISCUSS KEEPING IN TOUCH and how often you’ll be able to contact your child. Make sure the caregiver knows how to contact you (or get a message to you) in an emergency. n You can also find more related information at www.raisingchildren.net.au and www.earlychildhood australia.org.au Some information in this article is used with permission from Military OneSource. CALL THE DEFENCE FAMILY HELPLINE ON 1800 624 608 FOR ADVICE AND HELP ON COPING WITH PARENTAL ABSENCE. Petty Officer Combat Systems Supervisor Lee Clark, sharing final cuddles with her husband Shane, and children Taylor, Aiden and Tristan, at Garden Island before joining HMAS Anzac for the ship’s five month deployment.