Each year, April is set aside as a military child appreciation month, officially known as the Month of the Military Child. With its creation in the mid-1980s, the Pentagon and other military support organizations and agencies use the month to recognize military kids for their sacrifice and bravery on the homefront.
The term "military brat" is a badge of pride worn by generations of kids who traveled the world with their parents, moving into adulthood with the knowledge that they have the strength to handle anything. Military children deal with separations, deployments, frequent moves and even their parents' injuries as part of the life they were born into or entered with their families.
Because purple is a color used to represent all military services, the theme "Purple Up" is used over the course of the month.
Military Child Discounts
Some businesses offer discounts and freebies as a part of Month of the Military Child. Parents should check in their local area for specific programs.
Many businesses also offer discounts for military children. Check out these military discounts that celebrate military kids.
Military Child Events
Military bases worldwide offer events and celebrations during April as part of the Month of the Military Child. From carnivals and festivals, to giveaways and freebies, family officials spend the month making military children feel special. Parents should check with their local base for details on the events in their area.
On April 19, the Department of Defense Education Activity wants students to wear purple in celebration of the month and what they're calling "Purple Up" day. Rock your purple shirt no matter where you are!
Also, for the entire month of April, military kids can participate in free events, Purple Up Day and more thanks to the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.
The DoD's largest retailer will give away military "brat" patches at PXs and BXs worldwide all month. Military children can visit the customer service area at their local Exchange to receive a collectible patch while supplies last.
Also at Army & Air Force Exchange Service locations, five in-store events are planned for military kids to gather with friends and try out the latest games and toys at select stores: FurReal Baby Alive Event on April 1; Play-Doh Event on April 8; Hasbro Gaming Games Event on April 15; Beyblades Event on April 22; and Nerf Event on April 29. Look for more details at ShopMyExchange.com/momc.
Military Child Awards and Prizes
Military Child of the Year Awards
Each April, Operation Homefront marks Month of the Military Child by hosting a gala and awards presentation for their Military Child of the Year Awards. Each branch winner still will receive the $10,000 prize, a laptop computer and other donated gifts. In 2023, the gala will take place in Washington, D.C., from April 11-14.
The Military Child of the Year winners are selected through a nomination process that begins each fall. Children ages 13 to 18 are eligible for the awards, and awardees are selected based on their "scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life," according to Operation Homefront.
Army & Air Force Exchange Sweepstakes
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service's sweepstakes will give away more than $9,000 in toys and Exchange gift cards to military kids. Authorized shoppers 18 and older can enter on their favorite military child's behalf at ShopMyExchange.com/sweepstakes.
Mental Health Resources for Military Children
The American Red Cross has resources to help military children with their mental health.
A series of courses offered online can help families connect with each other, particularly before and after deployments. They also give ideas for connecting with kids and developing a plan as a family when you are facing a military-related separation.
The Red Cross also offers free confidential mental wellness classes hosted virtually. The courses are designed to help military kids work through stress. To view the available courses, check the Red Cross website.
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