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How do I tell my 3 yr old daughter that her dad is deploying?

My hubby is about to deploy next month and I am not looking forward being asked everyday where is daddy? She already asks where he is when he goes to work and knows about when he gets home. I am scared that when he doesn't come home for a couple of days she might think he is never coming back. Can anyone help?

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Asked by lilsxychcica121 at 2:37 PM on Feb. 9, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 4 (31 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • Oh my that would be one of the hardest things to talk a child at any age about. It will be hard for her to understand this concept. Is there anyone type of family counselor at the base that you both could speak with about this topic? Good Luck!

    Answer by Aries46845 at 2:40 PM on Feb. 9, 2011

  • Tell her that daddy is going away for a long time for his "new" job.. Tell her she wont be able to see him everyday until he gets back but she can draw him pictures and send them to him and he will be able to write back and sometimes talk to her on the phone... Keep it simple and let her know this is his job, she did nothing wrong.. Kids tend to think it's their fault when someone leaves..

    Answer by midnightmoma at 2:40 PM on Feb. 9, 2011

  • I don't want to lie to her. I don't want to tell her that he has left and will be back soon cause he could be gone for 12 months. She wouldn't understand that. I know there are counselors on base. I might have to look into that and see if they can help me.

    Comment by lilsxychcica121 (original poster) at 2:42 PM on Feb. 9, 2011

  • Around a month beforehand we start talking about it. Just kind of a mention here or there and then closer to the point we actually have a discussion with them. Letting them know that Daddy is going to go away for awhile for work and won't be coming home at night. I have my husband tell them so it is an open discussion between them. They handle it a lot better than we do as adults. Little ones are adaptable. We have no communication with hubby when he is gone but if you are able Skype is great or even mail is nice. We can do neither. We make videos for him every so often and make things for him for when he gets back. Some people do chains and take one link off every day. Some people do treats where they fill up a container and one is taken away a day. Our dates change so much that I do neither because I do not want them looking forward to a date that changes too much.

    Answer by Melbornj at 2:49 PM on Feb. 9, 2011

  • Yea I am not sure what to do. This is a whole new part for me. Like I said this is my first one that she will actually notice he is gone. Last time he was gone when she was born. I just hope maybe if I keep her busy she wont ask. I don't want to hear where is daddy everyday. That will break my heart. I doubt I will know when he will be back either. Last time they gave him 4 dates and none of them were the correct one. Some wife posted on FB that they were coming home on the date and they had to change it. I hate FB sometimes. Makes me wonder if she was stupid or something. You can't post stuff like on line. I just hope he will be able to talk to us. I could not deal with not seeing or hearing him for 9-12 months

    Comment by lilsxychcica121 (original poster) at 2:53 PM on Feb. 9, 2011

  • You do not have to tell her anything but daddy is at work. That is no lie.

    Answer by louise2 at 2:56 PM on Feb. 9, 2011

  • Depending on where he is deployed. You might here from him a lot. Then you might not. You just have to deal with it. That is how it is being married to a soldier.

    Answer by louise2 at 3:00 PM on Feb. 9, 2011

  • Hopefully, some moms with experience in deployed husbands can offer advice. But, I would think you would just tell her as simply as possible. Then, maybe get a calendar and mark off the days until he comes back. Also, would your husband be able to Skyppe or anything like that? Can he send her letters, etc? Anything to reinforce that he is still around and

    Children do not have much of a sense of time. You will most likely have to reassure her often that he is coming back. Show her on a map where he will be, maybe hang it somewhere and talk about why he is there in simple terms. Tell her about where he will be and what the country is like, etc.

    Answer by Southernroots at 3:50 PM on Feb. 9, 2011

  • Oh that's tough. My little one used to rush to his office hoping he'd be there and she'd look around just in case he was hiding. then she'd break down and start crying wanting her dad. Went on like that for a month and a half. One of the military wives had her husband record himself reading bedtime stories and that's how they coped. It's just very hard in the beginning for everyone. Try to keep busy and keep her busy. Spend time with family and friends.

    Answer by istealcookies at 3:54 PM on Feb. 9, 2011

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