Being a military spouse has so many sides to it. We all live different lives with our spouses, in different jobs and different branches. We all adjust to the changes differently, but there are a few common threads that tie us all together.
Each of us has to keep things going while our spouse is deployed.
Our children all have a piece of them that is missing while one of their parents is deployed.
Lack of sleep is also another common thread that binds us together, this can be crippling for you and your children.
Sleep problems in children during deployment
My own son struggled with separation anxiety and had sleep problems when my husband was deployed. This continued long after he came home. It is a common occurrence for military families.
Most children struggle with fear of the dark when they are young at some point and often get comfort from running and jumping into their parents’ bed.
When one of their parents is deployed the normal stress for a young child is amplified. It can really wear them down and the parent who is home taking care of them.
Increasing anxiety when dad was deployed
We have three boys and they were all impacted by deployment, but my youngest son, Cooper, struggled with separation anxiety. While my husband was away, I was his everything.
It started first with him being increasingly clingy at drop off at school and then that anxiety followed him home from school and began to interrupt his sleep.
Each night he would come running down into my room scared from a nightmare. He wanted to sleep with me.
Sleep deprived parent at home during spouse’s deployment
Sleep is the thing that we never seem to get enough of as a parent.
While my husband was deployed, sleep was one of the most important things for my mental and physical health. It was also the only time during my day that I was alone, and no one needed anything from me. It was my respite from being mommy AND daddy. I needed that time to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep and restore my sanity.
I did what all of us do, I coped and made it through. Cooper and I struggled each night and then I would get up the next day and keep going.
If you’ve experienced deployment life, or are currently in the trenches of a deployment, you know exactly what I am talking about. The show must go one, no matter how tired mommy is.
Sleep problems don’t disappear when parent returns from deployment
I was hoping that this separation anxiety would go away when my family was whole again, and my husband was home, but that was not the case.
Anxiety can cycle in people and become a learned response to stress.
Cooper’s brain began to follow the cycle of anxiety. He would have a thought that scared him, then that made his body have a physical reaction like a stomachache or a headache. Then that feeling would kick his brain into overdrive and then he would change his behavior.
So, as we were all trying to adjust to daddy being home, Cooper was still having trouble sleeping on his own. He was as exhausted as I was and everything I had tried was not working. In fact, what started out as his anxiety was now my anxiety.
As it began to get dark outside, I knew we were in for another sleepless night. Sleep problems were really wearing us all down.
Talking with your child about fears begins the healing process
I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology and knew that I needed to find a way to help Cooper begin to manage his anxiety. As a mom, I saw it changing his behavior and he was no longer confident and secure. As someone who studied psychology, I knew what could happen if I did not get his anxiety under control.
A life burdened with anxiety is not an easy life and not one that I wanted to see my son have to deal with the rest of his life.
I sat Cooper down and asked him to tell me what the nightmares felt like and sounded like to him. He told me what it looked like in his room at night when he was all alone.
The anxiety that children feel can be kept at bay during the day when they are busy at school and playing, but it surfaces as it is quiet, and they are alone in a dark room. When a parent is far away, and they fear for their safety, it can really impact children.
It is so important for them to talk about their fears.
The simple act of just saying the thing that scares them takes a huge burden off their shoulders.
It also helps us as parents not just want to dismiss their fears, but to really listen to them and let them be heard.
The Brave Knight is created to battle sleep problems in child
That day after listening to my son, I created the first Brave Knight. He was a sweet, lovable, and courageous teddy bear who came to help Cooper at night. Each night we would sit, and Cooper would tell his Brave Knight what was worrying him, and we would talk about how he could help him.
My husband came up with the magical part of this solution.
He came up with a projecting flashlight that would project images of the Brave Knight on the walls, under the bed and in the closet. Children can use the projecting flashlight to clear their rooms of anything that would scare them. (Obviously, a military man’s input!)
Then lastly, I wrote a book that tells the tale of Sir William the Brave Knight. It is a sweet story that highlights themes, of courage, friendship, and love.
Each night we would sit with Cooper and he would tell Sir William his Brave Knight what worried him and then we would clear his room with his magical flashlight and he would say a magical wish: “Brave Knight, sleep tight, please guard me all through the night”.
It was the solution we all had desperately needed.
Cooper began to sleep all night and so did I. His confidence grew because he learned how to control of his fears and worries.
The Brave Knight reduces the struggle of bedtime fears
Some people enjoy having their kids share a bed with them, but if stress is the cause of the child wanting to be in their parent’s bed then it is important to address the fears of the child.
Sir William the Brave Knight can help reduce the time and struggle of bedtime.
He can give you some real insight into what your child fears. Sir William can bring confidence and self esteem back to your child. He can be their New Forever Friend to take with them on new adventures.
Sir William the Brave Knight can be a protector to watch over them as they sleep – even when their favorite protector is working hard many miles away.
Bring Sir William the Brave Knight to your home for better sleep today!
Don’t let sleepless nights be a battle your family fights during a deployment. Let Sir William the Brave Knight be the tool to help get rid of your military child’s sleep problems.
Simply place an order for Sir William the Brave Knight at https://magicalorderofbraveknights.com and receive a free gift with purchase for your little Prince or Princess. At checkout put the word MILSPOUSE in the notes section of the page.
Our Brave Knights Kit Includes all three products which I designed specifically to work together:
- Sir William 12-inch plush bear dressed as a medieval knight
- The Magical Order of Brave Knights hardcover 28-page storybook with knighting ceremony for your Prince or Princess
- The Magical Projecting flashlight with 8 images.
– PLUS –
- The free gift with purchase is a cozy blanket with Sir William’s image on it for another layer of protection for your little one.
Every purchase of the Brave Knight supports Gold Star military families
Lastly, we are a Gold Star family and donate a portion of all our proceeds to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. It is a charity that is very near and dear to our hearts.
The foundation has a Gold Star Family Home Program, launched in September 2018, which honors the legacy of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. The Foundation provides a mortgage-free home to surviving spouses with young children.
Colleen is a dedicated mom of three boys with a master’s degree in psychology. She has been through it all as a former military spouse!
Years of sleep deprivation and exhaustion brought Colleen to her knees, but it was also the inspiration behind the writing of her first book in a series.
However, it was her determination to help other moms and young children that led to the creation of Sir William the Brave Knight.
Colleen Marchi, CEO
Magical Order of Brave Knights, LLC