5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Family When Deployment Ends

The end of a deployment is an exciting time for everyone in the family. Reuniting with your spouse, children, and extended family members is something you’ve looked forward to during your time away, but the reality is that even a wonderful homecoming requires some adjustments, not just for you but for other family members.

Out of necessity, your family developed a routine in your absence — and so did you. Adjusting to the “new normal” comes with a learning curve for everyone. It’s best to prepare for these changes in advance and make a plan for reconnecting with loved ones to make reintegration easier and more enjoyable.

1. Understand That Everyone Has Changed

Relearning how to spend more time with your family might sound like a simple suggestion, but the truth is everyone — including you — has changed during your deployment. Don’t expect to jump back in and pick up where you left off with little effort. Recognize that there is going to be an adjustment period as you reacquaint yourself with family members as they are now.

2. Don’t Overschedule

Pacing yourself is important as you adjust to life with family again. Engaging in too many activities and events too quickly can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Build in plenty of downtime for both you alone and you with your family.

3. Make a Communication Plan

Great communication is crucial to reintegration, but it doesn’t just happen on its own. Make a plan for expressing your thoughts and feelings by thinking about what you want to say to each person and setting a time when you can say it.

4. Give Children Extra Attention

According to military resource site After Deployment, it can take up to a year for families with children to completely readjust to being around each other again. Time spent with children should be about reconnection and bonding. For small children, this can be as simple as learning how to play together. For older children, it might mean listening and supporting their educational and extracurricular activities.

5. Get Outside Support if Needed

If you’re having trouble connecting as a family, you’re not alone. That’s why there are many resources to help. Talking with others who are going through the same thing can make you feel less alone, and working with a professional counselor can provide you with an emotional outlet as well as tools for helping you with the process of reconnecting.

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