Successful parenting can be a challenge for any family but it is usually more difficult when one parent is not only absent but also in a dangerous location. To address the issues families face during an unaccompanied tour, FLO is offering an interactive workshop, “Parenting during an Unaccompanied Tour”. Thursday October 11 at 9 a.m. EST. You may participate in person (Department of State, room 1239) or virtually.
To participate virtually:
1. Dial toll-free 1-800-531-3250 on a US-based phone line or non-toll-free 1-303-928-2693
2. Enter 9690198 for the Conference Code
Please direct questions to FLO's Unaccompanied Tours Support Team at 202-647-1076 or 1-800-440-0397 or email FLOaskUT@state.gov.
Below are some of the ideas and suggestions from past sessions:
· Use indirect questioning to allow children the opportunity to talk
· Have small children use stuffed toys to act out their feelings
· Play manicurist and mother/father paints nails while asking questions
· Teens – may take them an hour to ‘warm up’; ask them “what do your friends think?”
· Let children’s teachers know what’s going on
· 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.
Effective communication strategies and mechanisms
§ Use Skype, YouTube, phone, web, Face Book
§ Watch the same TV shows or read same book/magazine
§ Download the same music, videos, photos, etc
§ Have the child write to the 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
§ Create your own postcards-you can buy blank postcards and decorate them
§ USPS has site to make photo postcards: http://www.usps.com/createmail/welcome.htm