My FIFO Family
My Fifo Family (MFF) was established with the help of resource companies across Australia almost four years ago.
Since this time it has provided more than 33,000 families across Australia with resources including activity packs, kids calendars and children’s books aimed at helping kids better understand and adapt to having a parent away for periods of time.
“My initial aim in starting MFF was to provide support to the children. However, the more I spoke to these families and the workers on site, the more I realised it was the away parent that needed guidance on adapting to the FIFO lifestyle, and advice on how to stay connected with their kids during the times spent apart,” says Deanne Hislop, My Fifo Family.
“One of the most common statements I hear is, ‘My child doesn’t want to speak to me on the phone when I’m away’. So I came up with some simple ideas to help these parents think a
little outside the box.”
Here are a few of Deanne’s Top Tips for staying connected with your kids:
- Use Facetime or Skype so they can see your face – and talk to them away from distractions (bedrooms, toys TVs etc) – and always avoid the witching hour!
- Keep conversations short and frequent. Don’t ask too many questions at once, as this can be overwhelming.
- Record messages of your voice on your partner’s phone, or leave a message on an answerphone – a good night message, a story book, or just a ‘hello’ and ‘thinking of you’.
- Leave a stack of post- it notes with short messages or drawings for the home parent to include in a lunch box.
- Fill a jar with messages from you that can be read out each evening at dinner time.
- Write a list of things your children can draw, paint or create for you while you are away and find a special place to put them all.
- Laminate pictures of your face so they can use a dry erase marker to draw glasses, beards, crazy hair etc. This also works a treat if you laminate A4 paper and use it as a place-mat for your toddler.
- Take loads of pictures and videos of your room/donga, the trip to work and anything else that your children might want to know about your time away. This also gives them context and helps them understand your ‘away world’.
- Make sure the ‘at home’ parent talks about you while you are away, for example, “I bet Dad/Mum would have thought that show was funny too”, or, “Let’s put some of these aside for when Dad/Mum gets home”.
- Take some books with you on your shift and read them over Skype or Facetime with your kids.
For more information on My Fifo Family and further tips go to www.myfifofamily.com