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Homecomings: Together Again

Sam and his family.

This day may be the result of weeks of preparing, and the full homecoming experience may last for some time afterward. As with any highly anticipated event, the reality may be different from your family's expectations. Of course, having your loved one back is wonderful, but it's also a major transition. Your child will continue to need your special support to deal with any difficulties. With advance planning, you can prepare your child for the joys – and sometimes the difficulties – of having his family together again.


Remember to take it slow; be patient. If your child is shy at the initial reunion, you can set the example. Let him see mom and dad hug. Let him set a comfortable timetable for reconnecting.

Remember, even a few months is a long period of time as a child grows and develops. There's no need to rush. Relationships have changed; family members have grown emotionally and, for children, physically, too. Remind your child that change helps families become stronger.

Talk with your child beforehand about what to expect. Point out that just as he's changed over the last few months, so has his returning parent: Your child may have grown an inch, tried a new food or learned to say his ABCs. The parent who's coming back may have been to a new place, been in difficult situations and also learned new things.

Routines will need to be readjusted. Introduce changes slowly. Little by little, you'll have to learn how to be a team again.

Remind your child that he is loved — softly, loudly, daily. Hugs help, too!

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