Activities to do with children leading up to the reunion and during reintegration
Activities leading up to the reunion
Check with the at-home parent when the absent parent is due home, noting any changes in the original date. Check with the parent when they are telling the child about this. It may be that they are only letting them know a week before. Help prepare the child by re-visiting the recycled model you made in previous activities and the narrative that the parents and child have been using.
Discuss what is going to happen on the reunion day e.g. half-day at preschool, then go to the airport, who will be there, what celebrations are planned e.g. cake, streamers
Ask the child if they would like to make a welcome home card or poster to hold at the airport etc. Check this with the non-deployed parent so there is not a double-up.
Ask older children how they would like to prepare for their parent's
return. They can depict the reunion through drawings, paintings, songs,
raps or other mediums.
Activities for reintegration (when the parent has returned)
- Check with the parent and child on how they are after the reunion as difficulties can often arise. Be supportive of the parent and offer ways to assist the child cope with the changes that occur in the household (see Module 8). Reintegration is often one of the most challenging times for families. It may be that they just need someone to listen to. In other cases, they may need more structured support.
Questions for reflection
How does your service share experiences and activities with families that are separated?
How do family and social workers support
children experiencing change?
Consider creating a mind map to organise your thoughts, reinforce your knowledge, and use for future reference.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.