A memory box is a great way for your children to be able to reconnect with an absent parent, brother, sister or relative when they return and record moments easily throughout the deployment. It is something that you can do together or let them do it quietly on their own. Have them decorate it and encourage them to put in ticket stubs, reports, a shell or rock they find, photos, awards, notes, etc. When your family member returns they can quietly sit down together and go through some of the items.
- Use a shoe box or buy one from the store about the same size (too small they won’t be able to put much into it and too big and there will end up being way too much that they can’t remember why it is in there)
- Make it a part of a weekly routine
- Have a night where you decorate the box with whatever they like (you could make one for yourself too)
- Remind younger family members that anything with an expiry date can’t go in there
- Take picutres of things that are too big or will decompose before they return
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Megan Egerton Graham is the author and creator of the While You Were Away www.whileyouwereaway.org series of books and programs. She has taught every grade from Kindergarten to grade 12. Her specialists are in Guidance (Deployment) and Special Education (Behaviour). She has been a guidance counselor for several years and now works as a Principal for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. Megan has taught on military base schools and is a military wife and mother of two. Her husband continues to be an active member of the Canadian forces. She has also written a Deployment Handbook and Reunion Handbook for the Canadian Forces and continues to work with Military Resource and Readiness Centers, social workers, deployment support co-ordinators and school liasions both in Canada and the US. She travels around North America providing support to schools, military bases and personnel working with Military families. She is continuing to write books to strengthen and develop resilency within military families.