Taken from the www.tricare-west.com website for families
For the deploying parent, it is recommended he or she talk and share feelings with the child about separation, discuss ways to keep in touch, plan a special activity before deployment, swap important personal belongings with the child to keep during separation, take family pictures, and tape a favorite story. Communication with the deployed parent should be encouraged and the deployed parent should be encouraged to send separate letters to each child. The non-deployed parent or guardian must maintain routines and discipline while being reassuring. He or she should listen, discuss feelings, answer questions honestly and dispel rumors, provide age-appropriate explanations, encourage communication, and allow the child to talk. The parent should monitor the amount of time the child watches news as well. Parents should discuss the news with the child; ask what the child heard and what questions the child may have, while providing reassurance and a sense of safety. Be sure to look for signs of fear and anxiety during your conversation. Non-deployed parents need support as well. They have real issues related to the deployment and risks to which the deployed family member is exposed. It is important they stay physically and mentally healthy. The reunification of the family can present challenges and requires preparation. Children and spouses have changed and family roles may have to be redefined.