This post is sponsored by United Through Reading.
If you have kids during a deployment, the bedtime routine can be the hardest part of the day. Not only are you exhausted from work, classes, taking care of the home, and staying up late hoping for an email, but your kids are tired too and they miss their deployed parent.
During a recent deployment, I asked some parents what was their best trick for handling bedtime as a solo parent. To my surprise, several of them responded, ‘United Through Reading.’ The program allows service members to record a video of themselves reading a book to their children. United Through Reading then sends the book and the video to the military family. Kids can watch it throughout the deployment any time they are missing their deployed parent– in the morning, while someone is cooking dinner, or at bedtime. Not only is it a great way to keep kids connected with their deployed parent, but it gives the parent at home a few minutes of peace too. Being able to see a loved one on screen any time you want is a real treasure during deployment.
You can find a list of our UTR locations here, including information on how to set up a site near you.
Nope, the program is free to US service members.
You can read whatever you like, and even bring along your own books to ensure you have your child’s favorite titles. However, United Through Reading sends quarterly book shipments to our active commands which include 30-40 classic titles for various ages, and we do our best to keep each United Through Reading location library stocked full of great reads for our military kids!
There are more deployment resources in the Ultimate Deployment Guide and the Deployment Masterclass.
My favorite thing about United Through Reading is that it is more than connecting military parents with their children while they are doing one of the hardest things as a parent (being separated from their children). The program also incorporates the cruciality of books and reading is a part of their life. The greatest gift my dad ever gave me was to teach me that reading can take you anywhere and teach you about anything. He used to tell me it was like opening up my brain and pouring in the knowledge. What I didn’t realize at the time was as he spoke about reading as this magical place I needed to go, he was helping me to fall in love with literacy. That’s what UTR does for military children, it gives their parents — and the service members in their life — an opportunity to put reading on a pedestal, so that children can understand from the very beginning the magic of opening a book and getting lost in a story.