April is Month of the Military Child. This month was established to underscore the important role children play in the Armed Forces community.
There are approximately 2 million military children, ranging in ages from newborn to 18 years old; 1.3 million military children are school-aged. Having a month to recognize them and what they have been through is important.
Here are 10 thoughtful ways you can celebrate your military child during the month of April.
- Write them a letter. If your military child is old enough to read, write them a letter about how much you care and appreciate them. They can keep this letter close and read the words from time to time. Even better if the letter comes from the parent who is serving in the military.
- Take them out for their favorite treats. My own boys love to go out for ice cream. Think about a fun treat that your military child would love and take your kids out to thank them for being military children. Every child is going to enjoy doing something like that.
- Show them photos. If your children have been military kids for a long time they might not remember some of those early years. Show them photos when you were stationed somewhere else or any fun trips you went on together.
- Be patient. You should always be patient with your kids, especially when military life is making things a little more stressful. Your military child might need you to be there to understand that what they are going through is hard and to acknowledge that.
- Read them a book about military life. There are quite a few military kids books. Take time to read one of these books to your military child. They should be able to relate to the characters and see that they are not alone in their experiences with military life.
- Listen. Sometimes just listening can be a good way to celebrate your military child. They might just need someone to hear what they have to say or how they are feeling about what is going on in their life.
- Ask them questions. Check in with them. Even if they are little, ask them what they are thinking or feeling about an upcoming military event. Some children won’t just come up to you and talk about what is going on. Sometimes they just need to be asked.
- Help them make new friends. Losing friends is one of the hardest parts of being a military child. Help them make new friends and find fun things for them to do. Encourage them to sign up for activities that they would find interesting and take them to fun events in your community.
- Make a special dinner. Pick one day in the month of April to make a special dinner for your kids. Not much of a cook? Take them out to their favorite restaurant. Let them know why and celebrate together.
- Explain why they are a military child. Older kids might enjoy knowing the story about why your spouse joined the military in the first place. April would be a good time to let them know why they are a military child and what it means that their parent serves in the military. This can also be a good conversation starter to answer any of their questions or talk about their feelings.
Whatever you do during the month of April, make sure to remember your military child. Sometimes life can move so fast that we forget that they are just children trying to figure out why things keep changing so much during their lives. Taking a month to celebrate them is important.