Military Families Connect With Skype, Video, Photos and VoiceQuilt
Rhonda, a VoiceQuilt gift giver, sent me the photo shown above. It was part of a presentation she created for a graduate degree in communications: “2010 Deployments to Afghanistan”. In it, she shares some techniques military families use to stay connected while a loved one is overseas.
The ideas were wonderful – and applicable to any prolonged absence. So, I thought I’d share just a few.
1.) Skype Video Calls
Rhonda spoke daily with her deployed spouse, Jeff, using free skype video calls. When possible, she’d include other family members. She would even schedule family celebrations so that Jeff could be included over skype.
Amanda, another military spouse, had a young son. While her husband was deployed, Dad and son would share a bowl of cereal over skype. Regardless of the time of day, Father and son would share “breakfast”. It was a small but significant ritual that kept the family feeling connected.
2.) Flat Daddies
A few months back, I wrote about “Flat Daddies”, life-sized cardboard cutouts of Moms or Dads serving overseas. Many families include these images as surrogates for parents at school events and family celebrations. Read more here.
3.) Video BedTime
Before deploying, many military parents record videos of themselves reading a child’s favorite book. For young children, this is often a picture book; for older kids, parents will record a series of videos to read an entire book. Each video recording ends with a warm “I love you!” or “Sleep tight!”.
Military families face unique stresses thanks to lengthy deployments. However, I’m inspired by all of the creative ways they connect.
P.S. Rhonda created a “virtual birthday party” for Jeff while he was in Afghanistan. After collecting voice-based birthday toasts, she downloaded the VoiceQuilt .mp3 and used it as the soundtrack for a photo show of family and friends. Then, she shared it with Jeff on skype. Check out sample military appreciation voice messages.