Service member hugging daughter.

You're the One Coming Home. Now What?

If you're the one who's deployed and counting down to heading home, you can do a lot to set yourself up for success at homecoming—and beyond.

Here are 10 Ways to Rock Your Reunion:

  1. Set your mind right and set expectations. Think about how you'll approach the reunion with each member of your family. Prepare kids and family members ahead of time so that everyone has reasonable expectations.
  2. Remember, your partner's amazing. He or she managed almost single-handedly while you were gone. Focus on the positive and show appreciation. Even though they managed somehow, they're still really excited to have you home.
  3. Let people know if you need time to adjust. Things a little overwhelming? Take a step back if you feel that you can't handle all the requests.
  4. Take time for yourself. You may not want to talk about your deployment right away. Let your partner know if you need some time alone, or just with them.
  5. Connect with your kids. It's natural for kids to feel both excited and nervous about your return. Tell them how much you missed them and the positive changes you see in them. Swap stories about your activities while you were apart.
  6. Realize that kids may miss their caregivers. The caregivers will also miss your kids. If your childcare's changing now that you're home, make plans to stay in touch with caregivers through the next few months.
  7. Anticipate that kids will test your authority. That's what kids do. Stick with the existing house rules until you're comfortable establishing your own. Be patient; it takes time to get comfortable with each other again.
  8. Include the family. Your extended family has been following your deployment too. Work with your spouse to include them in reunion activities, and thank them for their support. If you start to feel overwhelmed, let them know you need some downtime.
  9. Cut your friends some slack. Getting back together with your buddies will be great and they'll want to hear your wildest stories. If things are a little different between you, don't sweat it. Understand that they haven't been through what you've been through.
  10. Relax, stay flexible and enjoy. And if you or someone in the family needs extra help adjusting through this transition, just ask for it. Contact Military OneSource anytime for free, confidential support.