Communication is key for families trying to successfully handle deployment. Failing to talk to one another can make separation stressful and overwhelming, especially for the spouses of military servicemembers.

It is important to work together as parents through frequent conversations. Part of the challenge in ensuring that this happens is planning out times to talk. This can require flexibility for those deployed and their families at home. The other task is finding a means of communication that works for everyone. Here are five effective ways to talk with your loved one regularly to feel close to each other and make deployment less stressful. 

1. Letters
Communicating through writing is often thought of as a more traditional form of keeping in contact with someone. However, there is sentimental value in sitting down with a pen and paper and sharing your thoughts and stories. Have the kids write a letter with you and include a drawing that your spouse can hang up while away from home. noted that numbering each letter so your spouse knows which ones to read first will prevent any problems from occurring if the mail arrives at a slower pace than you write, as this is one of the reasons why people tend to choose other forms of communication during deployment.

2. Skype or FaceTime
If your spouse has access to a laptop or smartphone with Wi-Fi, FaceTime and Skype are effective ways to communicate regularly. They are completely free and combine the personal touch of a phone call with face-to-face interaction. Plan a time when all of the kids can gather around the computer and say hello to their mom or dad. Even a few minutes a day can drastically improve how up to date you are with each other's lives.  

Here are a few ideas on what to send your spouse during deployment.

3. Phone
There's nothing more personal than hearing your loved one's voice after being away from each other for a long time. Phone calls are the perfect form of communication for special occasions, such as birthdays or holidays. Children will also get very excited at the idea of hearing their parent's voice and catching him or her up on their lives in real time.

However, as long-distance phone calls can be very expensive, it may be best to save them just for these occasions. It is also a good idea to check with your phone company for military discounts, as many major businesses offer these to make communication less expensive for military families.

4. Email
Email is one of the fastest ways to communicate with your loved one during active duty. You and your children can quickly share experiences that he or she missed. They can also attach photographs and videos to give him or her visuals. Just make sure that your spouse has service wherever he or she is deployed. Many email servers show when the message has been opened and read so you can confirm that your spouse received your note.

5. Care packages
Parents magazine recommended care packages as another great way to keep in touch with loved ones on special occasions. On your spouse's birthday, for example, it can be nice to send a care package filled with his or her favorite snacks and items that he or she may miss while away, such as home-baked cookies.

Including pictures of the family can serve as a pleasant surprise for your spouse who may not have seen the children in a while. Be sure to send the package with plenty of time to arrive if you are sending it for a special date to make sure it gets there in time.