It’s become commonplace for there to be a national “day” or “month” for just about anything these days. National Pet Day? Check. National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day? Check. National Hug a Plumber Day? You betcha! Obviously, some of these are more serious than others. For instance, at Give an Hour we’re celebrating volunteers and their generosity during the month of April.
But, we’d be remiss if we left out the Month of the Military Child, which also occurs each April. We often don’t consider the sacrifice made by the children of our service men and women and they deserve to be recognized for their bravery on the homefront.
According to 2020 Demographics Report published by the Department of Defense, there are 1.6 million military children. During Month of the Military Child this year, Military One Source, an organization serving military families, is focusing on the overall mental health and well-being of military children – obviously a topic near and dear to Give an Hour. Check out their toolkit featuring resources and programs to support and celebrate military children of all ages.
The Military Child Experience
Military kids often go through things that their peers may not understand. We spoke with a group of military moms who shared some of the situations their children experience, which may play a role in their emotional health and well-being:
- Deployments may be “normal” for service members and their families but that doesn’t mean it’s easy – especially for the children who are without a parent for an extended period. This may lead to separation anxiety, which can take an emotional toll.
- Frequent moves are the name of the game for military families. For the kids, this can mean a disruption in their education, short-term friendships and even a lack of continuity for medical care.
- Life in the military also can create new experiences and expose children to new cultures and the ability to expand their circle of friends.
Emotional wellness can be especially important to help children get through the rough patches that inevitably will come their way. And this may be even more true for children of military parents. To help kids practice healthy habits, Give an Hour created a children’s activity book with suggestions for developing healthy habits and feelings. Download a copy for yourself.
The bottom line is this … Joining the military is a family affair. When one member joins, the entire family joins. It’s a life filled with unique experiences, as well as challenges. So, it’s important for us to remember that mental health=health for kids, too, not just adults.