Recently FLO along with MHN presented a seminar on Parenting during an Unaccompanied Tour. A record number of people were able to dial in and attend the seminar. We hope to repeat the session soon (it was too early for some and too late for othersJ).
Here are some of the tips from the seminar:
· Use indirect questioning to allow kids the opportunity to talk
· Use stuffed animals to act out scenes, so children can explain their feelings
· Play manicurist-mother/father paints nails while asking questions
· Teens – may take them an hour to ‘warm up’; ask them “what do your friends think?”
· Use effective communication strategies and mechanisms- Skype, YouTube, phone, web, FaceBook,
· Watch same TV shows or read same book/magazine
· Child writes to parent; parent keeps letters and puts in a letter box to give to the child at end of tour
· Parent at post brings pre-stamped post cards to post (tip: You or your kids can also create personalized postcards USPS has site to make photo postcards: http://www.usps.com/createmail/welcome.htm
· If you have employee’s cell phone or other number, make sure kids know that it’s for emergencies only; set time limits on using phone; if kids want to ‘vent’ or complain about parent at home, encourage them to email absent parent instead of picking up the phone. (Good advice for adults too!) That way you won’t say something you regret.
· Let children’s teachers know what’s going on.
· Homework help – find a local tutor or older student; work as a group before employee goes to post so child has continuity and does not feel that the tutor is a replacement for employee parent. Use Skype so away parent can help with homework.
· Validate other parent’s experience
· Have something to look forward to, like your onward assignment, and learn the language, read about city…but remember, sometimes things don’t work out the way you hoped/planned.
Current events can be scary…. especially to children. Here are some websites you may find useful: