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How do I plan for a service member’s homecoming?

Thinking ahead and planning for a service member’s homecoming is a good idea. The day of your service member’s return can be very stressful at the same time as it is exciting and joyful. Neither you nor your service member may have gotten much sleep in anticipation of the event. It might be best on the actual day of the homecoming to keep things somewhat quiet and simple, and perhaps schedule a bigger celebration a couple days later. 

It doesn’t hurt to ask the service member what he/she would prefer, either. Agree together on the schedule for the days or weeks immediately following the homecoming day, and figure out when to fit in friends and extended family.

One common pitfall in planning the homecoming is the temptation to spend a lot of money for a celebration. Keep in mind that the money may come in handy down the road as your service member readjusts to civilian life. Show your care through attentiveness and the time you spend with him/her instead.

In the initial days together, be aware that your relationship with your service member may take a while to get back to what feels like normal again. You have both had experiences that may have changed you during deployment. Your home and family may have changed while the service member was deployed, and he/she may feel some anxiety about reintegration into home and family life. Be patient and recognize that reintegration is a process, and it may have its rocky points. Keep your expectations grounded and realistic, and the process will go more smoothly.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.