When we talk about military kids over the course of April, month of the military child, we talk about what we as military parents, educators, caretakers and friends can do for military kids. We talk about how we can help them make it through this life.
Taking time to raise awareness and educate is definitely important, but what if we’re missing part of what this month could be all about?
What if we’re missing out on celebrating our kids?
I have two military children of my very own and both have experienced military life as deeply as they possibly could have for their young ages. My 3-year-old has moved four times to four different states and done a deployment and several lengthy training separations. My 1-year-old was born while his dad was away, and is the cutest test of patience and adults’ ability to keep him alive you’ll ever meet.
These kids are already seasoned.
They are born into a life of sacrifice. The first thing out of my 3-year-old’s mouth every morning is “where is my dad?” Thankfully the answer has recently been “he’s at work – you’ll see him tonight,” but that isn’t always the case. They don’t have a choice about sacrificing – we choose it for them.
Which makes me want to spend month of the military child not just hypothesizing about the best way to get them safely to adulthood, but thanking them for being who they are by doing some fun things just for them. Here are three ways ideas for celebrating month of the military child with your kids.
Head out for a fun event. Military installations across the services use April as a time to reach out to parents and their kids by hosting some fun events. Fort Campbell, Ky. where we are stationed, for example, is holding several free movie nights as well as a family fun day at the end of the month. Check out your installation’s MWR website or Facebook page for what they may be doing.
Invest in some MilKid books. Even though my guys are little, we love to read. And fortunately, when it comes to books, there’s plenty out there aimed at military kids. The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) has a pretty good list here, and here is another on pinterest. Neither of these include this book by Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden (which I talk a little bit about here). Story books help kids young and old feel like what they are experiencing is normal. Plus, who doesn’t like a new book?
Make it craft time. I’ve never met a child who didn’t like sitting down to do some hands-on crafts. And there are plenty of crafty projects you can do that celebrate your child. Here are some ideas.