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Louise's Blog

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Pre Deployment getaway and my recommendations for your Little Troopers

When we found out that my husband was going on a long deployment in 2018 I felt like I just wanted to book something and go away and hide from the world for a weekend.

I wanted to overdose on my husband
We went to the seaside for one night and then the New Forest for one night and it was idyllic and perfect and we laughed lots while making memories. Next month it is 15 years since we got married and we realised this weekend was the FIRST time we have gone away for the weekend without our daughter and for no particular reason, which is shocking. We, you, everyone should make time especially when we spend so long apart from each other, this is our seventh long operational tour…why have we not done a pre-deployment break before?
Mudeford in Dorset
Typically my husbands deployment date has changed and he now doesn’t go until the end of the month so the break was a bit premature but still, I loved it and I took in the views and the sea air promising myself to remember those moments when I am really resentful to him being away four months into the deployment!!!
The Mill at Gorleton, New Forest
I did drink slightly too much red vino on the second night and ended up crying, to which the lovely lady at the hotel asked why, I explained, she started crying…..so I guess I am potentially suppressing some feelings but that is natural, I can’t spend the next few weeks crying I am determined to try and do things differently this time and wasting time being sad while I could be enjoying the time just seems silly. I have done that previously and it’s miserable.
The time we have now before he deploys I want to aim to be organised, get my diary full for the coming months and I will blog some checklists that I am going to put together as we go along so I can share as much as possible which may help you now or one day in the future.
My recommendations for your Little Troopers when they have Mummy and/or Daddy away
Through my work with Little Troopers I have discovered a few really good sites, products, ideas that I wish I had known about when our daughter was a little younger, we all feel helpless sometimes when your children are really struggling with a deployment and hopefully these ideas will empower you to find ways to ease the separation.
On the Little Troopers website is a specific Parents section, with information on Keeping in Touch, Coping, Homecoming and lots more. See HERE 
Books can sometimes really help, it is limited what is out there for British Armed Forces children (we are working on a project to fix this) for now though we have read and had reviewed the books that we would recommend and could help you right now, lots of options for all ages and you can view the Recommended Reads list HERE 
Pillowcases
In a recent post I mentioned the photo pillowcase I bought for my husband (which he loves!) but Amy who run Ginger Rainbow and is a military wife also has colour in pillowcases which parent and child could do together and parent takes away or child has at home or child could do and send. Either way a good idea I liked and can be found HERE  (£15)
Huggable Heroes
Jo is a military wife who runs the business creating Huggable Heroes, really great to have them in the UK now as when my daughter was younger I wanted one but only the US were making them (Daddy Dolls) and the shipping was expensive. Head over to the Huggable Heroes site for all the details or photo you need to send, children can take their ‘hero’ to nursery, nap time, special occasions even though they are away from home! Shop HERE (£25)
Worry Monster Frame
Another military wife doing amazingly and this time it is Sara, her worry monsters I have only just found (via Instagram, you can follow me @louiselittletroopers) it is a simple idea of children being able to ‘pass on’ any worries at the end of each day which I love and can really see lots of children benefiting from having these. Head over to the Etsy shop HERE (£23.99)
Reading Force
A family book club scheme specifically for military families and free to sign up to. all members of the family read the same book which you get sent and then you can talk about it, ignites conversation while on the phone! See HERE
Countdown Chalkboards
Very simple idea which children love and easy to amend if days get added to deployment, I just googled and they seem to be really expensive these days?! We have some in our shop for £6.50 very limited stock left though See HERE (£6.50) 
Cloud Pets
Really cute and many recommend these for little ones, a soft toy that links to an app and messages can be sent back and forth through the toy. See HERE 
Obviously there is lots of support available via Little Troopers specifically to help children who have a military parent serving away from home; Separation Packs, Send a Hug kits, Little Troopers Treasures story recording app, Separation journals, Weekly planner sheets, Activity sheets for countdown jars, separation paper chains and much more so do pop to www.littletroopers.net and get your hands on that support, lots of it is free.
I wish I could find a pause button as I know its going to be a rocky 2018 but I am buckled up and ready for the ride, I know I can do this, preparation is key! 
Love Louise xxx

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About Louise

Louise herself served in the British Army and saw active service in Kosovo. Her husband is a serving soldier who has undertaken six operational tours of duty since their daughter was born in 2003. Louise is passionate about helping all the Little Troopers at home through the anxiety of deployment and also the stress of a long course or exercise having experienced first hand the impact it can have.

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