Posts

Celebrating the Month of The Military Child

The lives of military children are marked by a unique culture and set of circumstances, oftentimes making them feel isolated from their non-military counterparts. The sacrifices these children make are easily overshadowed by the experiences of their active-duty family members. But make no mistake – a military kid has an inner strength like no other. 

Coping with the deployment of one or both parents to war zones, frequent moves, living in cultures far different from their own – these types of experiences can set military children apart. 

Studies show that there are some potentially positive outcomes of living a military life as a child. Military children tend to be very adaptable and resilient. They often have an increased cultural awareness and acceptance that can only come from connecting with various parts of the world first-hand. These kids tend to roll with the punches and shift gears with minimal stress because change is nothing new to them. 

Of course, there are two sides to every coin. Along with the upsides of a military childhood come some potential struggles. The transitory lifestyle many military children live can hinder their ability to develop concrete relationships, which may be problematic both early on and later in life. Additional concerns can stem from the variations in availability of educational resources or even just educational paradigms within which military children must work as they move from place to place. 

It’s fair to say that from a young age, this unique group of children faces challenges most civilians won’t ever have to navigate in their lifetime. 

In an effort to honor the challenges faced and sacrifices made by our military kids, former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger established April as The Month of The Military Child. Not only is this a month to focus on military child support via special programs and activities, it is a time to honor the incredible resiliency this group of young, unsung American heroes displays every day. 

Where Can I Learn About The Month of The Military Child Activities and Events?

Many of this months’ events will be hosted or sponsored by military communities across the globe. Check with the Office of Public Affairs on base to get started. Military Readiness Centers, on-base Child Development Centers, and The Department of Defense Dependent School can also be great resources to learn how your community is celebrating. 

Creative Ways to Celebrate the Month of The Military Child

Wear Purple – April 22nd is Purple Up! Day. This is the day for communities, military and non-military alike, to don purple in a show of support for military children. Purple indicates that all branches of the Military are represented. 

Eat Purple – Similar to green foods on St. Patricks Day, prepare a purple meal to show your military kids that they mean the world to you. Food coloring can easily transform everyday foods or beverages into a special treat. Think purple milk, purple mashed potatoes, or purple rice. If you want to go the more natural route, try adding purple cauliflower, grapes, or berries to your military child’s plate. 

Make a Video – Make a purple- or military-themed video in honor of The Military Child Month, and then share it on your social pages. TikTok is a fantastic platform for creating videos with all kinds of fun effects. 

Use Facebook – Engage your community online! Ask your kiddo a military-inspired question and post his or her answer. Call on other military parents to do the same and ask them share their childrens’ answers in the comments. A few ideas: 

  • What does it take to be a hero? 
  • What do you love most about being a military kid? 
  • What does being a child of the military mean to you?
  • What does honor mean to you?

Tap Into Hashtags – Don’t forget to tag your posts with the best military child hashtags around. Here are some to get you started: 

  • #kidsservetoo
  • #militarychild
  • #purpleup
  • #motmc
  • #militarykids
  • #monthofthemilitarychild

Present an “Official” Thank You – Search the web for printable certificates in honor of Month of The Military Child, or just use this one. Fill in your military kid’s name, print, and present it to him or her in a creative way. 

Decorate! – Celebrate your military child with a special space in your home. It could be his or her bedroom door, the kitchen bulletin board, a wall in your dining room or anyplace else they see regularly. Add photos of them with their military family member, mementos from different places they’ve lived, maybe even some military memorabilia that has meaning to them. 

Resources for the Military Child (and Their Families)

Whether you are expecting your first or transitioning your last to college, there are a plethora of resources available to support military children and their families.

Military Kids Connect – A place for military kids to connect with each other. The site offers opportunities for children to develop and build relationships with friends who understand what it’s like to be part of a military family. 

Focus Project – FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) provides resilience training to military children and their families by teaching practical skills to help overcome common challenges. The program helps build on each child’s current strengths and teaches new strategies for communication, problem solving, goal setting, and creating a shared family story.

Military Installations New Parent Support Program – Helps military parents, including expectant parents, transition successfully into parenthood and provide a nurturing environment for their children. The program offers support and guidance for many of the unique challenges that face military families.

MilitaryChildcare.com – This secure DOD website provides a single location to find comprehensive information on military-operated and/or military-approved childcare programs worldwide. Once you create an account and household profile, you have access to all of these resources at any time from any location. 

Military OneSource Digital LibraryYou’ll find ebooks and audiobooks on every topic imaginable. Also available are databases and reference books to help you learn a new skill and keep kids engaged.  

Celebrate Your Military Child

There’s a reason that the dandelion is the unofficial flower of the Military Child. These incredible kids bloom everywhere the winds carry them. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate The Month of The Military Child, remember the goal is simple: remind military children across the world of how incredibly important they are to our country and to their families.

Military Connection: Military Family Month: By Debbie Gregory

Military familyNovember 11th is Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor and recognize the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served in our military. While the citizens of this country could never do enough to show their gratitude to Veterans, over the last several years, government projects, corporate events and individual personal initiatives have made honoring military Veterans a 365 day a year occasion. But often, the sacrifices made by the families that support our men and women in uniform get overlooked. That is why, since 1993, November has been declared Military Family Month.

In a statement issued on October 31st, President Obama proclaimed November 2014 as Military Family Month to acknowledge the tremendous contributions military families make in support of our service members and our nation. The proclamation said:

“During Military Family Month, we recognize every spouse, parent, sibling, child, and loved one who stands with our service members, and we reaffirm our solemn vow to serve these families as well as they serve us.”

Military families contribute more to the war effort that they will ever know. Their letters, emails, care packages and love help service members through the hardest times. Often, even the memory of time spent with loved ones can boost a service member’s morale. But what most Americans don’t always see are the sacrifices made by the military family members who don’t wear a uniform.

While all of today’s service members have volunteered to serve, their families, especially their children, did not. And they sacrifice a great deal too. Spouses single-handedly manage their households while their loved ones are deployed. Children of service members often go months without their military parent being able to attend school functions, sporting events, holidays and birthdays, not to mention just being physically present in their lives. Often times, parents and other family members help their service member pay bills, raise children, care for their pets, and maintain vehicles and property while their hero is deployed.

Being a military family member is a tough job, one that is often thankless and full of hardships. Please do all that you can to honor, recognize and thank military families in your community.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Military Family Month: By Debbie Gregory