How do you get your kids to understand why daddy is gone?

How do you handle your husband leaving for work with young kids? My daughter waits every day for him to come home and it breaks my heart because he is out of town for five days…


A jar of Hersey kisses when baby girl misses daddy let her get a “kiss” from him :two_hearts:

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Is there a way he can video chat? Thats what my Husband did a few years ago when he worked away. He did 19 -21 days though so that was pretty rough on my oldest who was 3

I’m an oilfield wife of 15 1/2 years and we have a 12 year old. When she was very small, we would use the magnetic numbers on the fridge to do a weekly countdown and that helps. Now that she is older, we share a family chat so there is communication. When he’s home they do date night. She FaceTimes him if not every night then every other night. It’s harder when they’re small - the magnets and FaceTime really helped to bridge the gap, and he would read to her before bed, etc. It’s hard there’s no doubt about it, but keeping communication open has helped our family out tremendously. Sending love your way.


I used to tell my son when he was small “Daddies work. They always come back, but daddies have to work.” And I’d list our family or close friends who’s daddies worked and we’d talk about what they do for work. I think it helped him feel like “oh. This is normal.”

When my husband was deployed last year for 7 months, I kept having to tell my then 2 year old that daddy was gone for work & he’d be back. It’s really hard for kids that age to grasp what’s going on and have any concept of time. My then 6 year old understood what was going on but just acted horribly.

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Mr 5 found it much easier once we got a pillow printed with dads face that lives on his bed.

Tell them! Daddy is away to work all week then do a count down chart till daddy is home

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Can’t she go to daycare while you work so she can have fun all day with other kids?

Explain he is going on a trip and look at maps and things together. We combined some trips with vacations - when mine had to go to Baltimore for work, we flew out to join him in New York and his work had already paid for his flights so it brought the cost down (they were fine for him to get the train to Baltimore and back). It meant we focused on the excitement of joining him rather than being sad he wasn’t at home.

We had an OT that told us my husbands schedule wasn’t predictable enough for a kid to understand so to use and calendar to shade in the days he would be gone and then we marked each day off so every night. Sometimes he’s be gone for 24hr, 48hrs, or 56 hours so we had to come up with another color for the days he was at work but going to be home for dinner vs gone overnight but a calendar has helped them tremendously. They are just learning to read so for holidays and events I either draw or add a picture to the day.

Can you make some kind of countdown with her?

I explained the reason and made up a ‘daddy’s home’ dance lol
That and it helped that i was often excited to see him when I got home and would greet him at the door with her. so as she got older she got used to us going to say hello. and I could always say ‘i know you miss daddy but we’ll give him lots of kisses when he’s back’ , etc

Put a calendar up with the days marked that dad is gone- if she can have something little like a Hersey kiss and each day have her “get a kiss” from daddy and Mark the day off and see how many kisses she has left until he comes home :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::kissing_heart::kissing_heart:

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There is not much you can do except tell her he is at work and will be back as soon as he can. I wish my husband was going to be back in 5 days my kids miss their dad very much. He won’t be home until November at the latest.

I do a kiss jar for my son, it was cooler when my husband was deployed because it was longer and it filled up the jar more, but you could put out 5 little kiss candies and tell her every night after she eats one, daddy has this many more sleeps until he comes back home.

You just keep telling them that daddy’s at work. He’ll be back on _______. Get a little calender for them to X days until he’s back

Try doing a countdown to show when daddy coming home and maybe video call as well

Depending her age just explain work. Maybe have a little calendar for her set up and do a countdown on days he’s coming home.

My husband is currently deployed; it’s the first deployment they are old enough to understand what’s going on but the youngest doesn’t fully grasp so I took Candy Land game pieces cut out little pictures of our family and stuck them over the game pieces then added little magnets to the bottom so they’d stick to the map. I put us all where we are all on the map so my kids had a visual of where daddy is and how far away he is etc. I have smaller maps of our city that I add grandma and grandpa to, work, grocery stores- it’s helped tremendously with their understanding for distance and plus side they are learning how to read maps. I have a count down calendar next to the map and every day they take turns pulling a paper off the calendar. Communication is key. I always sit down with my boys and ask if they are confused about where dad is or what he’s doing and how they feel about it. If they have any questions. They’ve had some good ones too that I don’t think they’d have asked if I didn’t carve out time with zero distractions, no tv no phones, no games - just us. Have you tried redirecting her with a FaceTime call at the time daddy gets off instead of waiting at the door? As the time nears hype up a phone call! It’s something he can do when he gets back too that way the next time he leaves she’ll already be adjusted to phone calls. Good luck!

Use a calendar. Show her with a slash through the days he’s scheduled to be gone and at the end of each day have her add a second slash to make an X. This gives her something to look at to help process time.