Whether you are serving in the National Guard, Army Reserves or on Active Duty there is a good chance that you will deploy multiple times during your career. If you are single, you only have yourself to worry about, but if you are married or have dependents, there are certain things you should do to make sure they are prepared for your deployment. Listed below are my top 7 tips to prepare your family for an Army Deployment.
# 1 Get Your Legal Documents in Order
The first and most important step in the process is to get your legal documents in order. Make sure your will, living will, and Power of Attorney are updated and stored in a safe place. Make sure your spouse’s name is on your checking account and that they have access to the safety deposit box, investment accounts and banking accounts. It would also be a good idea to review your life insurance coverage to make sure you have adequate protection.
# 2 Get Your Spouse Involved with the FRG
If possible, get your spouse and kids involved with the Family Readiness Group. Introduce them to other spouses and family members in your unit. Let them know there are other people in a similar situation and that they can talk with each other to share problems and ask questions. If nothing else, help your spouse make a friend that they can get along with and relate to.
# 3 Set Up Facebook and Skype Accounts
Consider setting up a Facebook and SKYPE account if you don’t have one already. Both of these platforms are very easy to use when you are deployed and they are a great way to stay in touch. If you don’t already have one, make sure you buy a web cam.
# 4 Have a Heart to Heart Conversation with Your Spouse and Kids
Another great tip is to sit down and have a heart to heart talk with your spouse and kids. Ask them questions and listen. Find out what their worries and concerns are and try to comfort them. Let them know that you love them and believe in them. Let them know that you will come home safe.
# 5 Spend As Much Quality Time as You Can Before You Leave
Assuming you have some time before you deploy, try to spend a bunch of quality time with your family. Take off some time from your day job and consider going on a vacation or just laying low around the house. During this time off from work, spend lots of quality time together. Have fun and build good memories. Try to fall in love all over again.
# 6 Make a List of What You Do and On What Days
Another great way to prepare your family for deployments is to make a list of what you do and on what days. For example, if you are the one who pays the bills, make a list of all your bills and write down when they are due. If you take out the trash on Tuesday nights, write that down. Be as specific as possible, so your spouse knows what they need to do and on what days. Consider putting everything in checklist so they can reference it when needed.
# 7 Come Up with a Financial Game Plan
One of the biggest issues why Soldiers are away is money. Since most Soldiers earn more money on a deployment than they do at home, it would be in your best interest to come up with a financial plan before you leave. Visit your bank or talk with a financial planner and create a game plan for your family. Consider funding a retirement account, paying off debt, or saving for your children’s college fund. Having a plan will help reduce the financial stress while you are away. In addition, make sure you have a budget in place and double check your life insurance coverage.
In summary, these are seven simple things you can do to prepare your family for an Army Deployment. The key to success is preparation and communication. Don’t wait until the last minute to get everything in order. Come up with a game plan ahead of time and involve your spouse as much as possible.