Sometimes managing military life for our kids is about striking that balance between acknowledging publicly that, being a military family is hard and letting yourself wallow in it at home. We celebrate the public display of the sacrifice of military families. But how do we protect our kids from that negativity? Because while that is reality, sometimes parenting is about refocusing our kids away from that harshness and instead toward whatever positive things we can dig up.
That's what military spouse and mom Janine Boldrin is trying to do with a new military kids magazine she has co-founded with Army wife Amy Crispino. Aimed at the 8-to-13 year old military child set, the quarterly Military Kids' Life focuses on making the best of military life from the perspective of military kids.
"I really feel like we need to send a message to our military kids of 'hey we know that there are a lot of struggles that we have and we know there are a lot of challenges, but want to send you a message of encouragement," she said.
Boldrin knows how this goes first hand. A writer and Army wife with three school-aged kids, she has experienced the challenges of explaining deployments, cross-country moves, school changes, leaving friends behind and all of the upheaval military life can bring to the life of a child. And she knows the power learning to take a positive view can have on her kids' attitudes.
"I totally get that the world needs to know that we have struggles," she said. "But within our own community, we need some means to be built-up."
Unlike many products written for military children, this one has a unique, friendly, kid-level tone. That's probably because the majority of the publication is written by military kids themselves. About 75 percent of the next issue, which will come out this spring and focus on exploration and space, will be by kids, she said.
"I have more kids wanting to write for us than I know what to do with," she said.
And while the publication currently doesn't pay their child contributors, they plan to eventually, she said.
"Their excitement in having an opportunity to see their work out there is a big thing for them," she said.
The magazine is currently only available digitally, but they expand to start a print product this summer. For now each edition is $2.99 and no subscription plan is currently available. You can check out a few pages of the current 44 page edition for free here.
The magazine is a part of Chameleon Kids, a parent company Boldrin also co-founded to help military kids and their parents adapt to military life. Check them out on their Facebook page.