Countdown 'til Daddy Comes Home

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Ways to Countdown 'til Daddy Comes Home

Every family is different so it is important to pick a way to countdown 'til Daddy comes home that will fit the age and temperament of your child. I have a child that is a chocolate monster so the long distance kisses no longer work for our family now that he can reach the top of the refrigerator. We now use surprise slips and the kids love that they have input into what goes into the jar. This is supposed to be fun and help your child cope so make sure you pick something that will not add stress to the family during the separation from your loved one.

Surprise Slips

Cut a slip of paper for each day or week the parent will be gone. Have family members write an activity on each slip of paper and place in a jar. Pull one out each day or week to enjoy a surprise activity.  This does not have to cost a lot of money! It can be as simple as have a picnic at the park, family slumber party or have ice cream for dinner.

Long distance Kisses

One of the things kids miss most when their parent is gone is their hugs and kisses. Get a jar for each child and fill it with chocolates, one for each day the parent will be on the trip. Then, the parent who's leaving puts air kisses in the jar in front of the kids so the chocolate kisses are covered with real kisses. It's fun to see the jar slowly empty and get a sweet “kiss” each day from their parent.  

Calendars

Create a two personalized calendars to cross off each day the family will be separated.  Fill your child’s calendar with pictures of their parent and the parent’s calendar with pictures of the family.  Young children have a hard time with the concept of time and seeing it visually will help them understand the length of their parent’s trip. When our family has had long separations we have another month closer to daddy coming home celebrations when we change the month on the calendar. We do something a little more expensive than the surprise slips like going to the movies or miniature golf. It is also a great idea to send the parent on the trip a surprise package to celebrate too. To make the time seem to go by faster, always have something to look forward to on the calendar, like when family is coming to visit, and vacations. This will break up the amount of time the family is separated into more manageable blocks.

 Paper Chain

There are two methods to use a paper chain for your countdown. The first is a countdown chain, where you make a paper chain with one link for each day the parent is going to be gone and remove one each night. The other way is a countup chain where you add a link to the chain day by day, giving you a real perspective on how long a parent has been gone. It is also a great idea to write something about your day on each link creating a kind of journal. If you do the countdown chain, save the links in a jar or put on a scrapbook page to share
them with your loved one when they get back.

Countdown Chart
Click on the files below and print your own countdown chart.  Place it in a page proctector and use a dry erase marker to countdown the days 'til your Daddy/Mommy Comes Home.

Do you have a fun way that you countdown?  We would love to share it with our readers!

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