But, in communities where there aren’t many other military families, children may feel alone or may be hesitant to say their mom or dad is in the military because it singles them out as different. Reinforce a child’s pride in their parent and strengthen the bond between the child and parent with these strategies:
For most children, turning 10 means more than just entry into double digits in a military family. It’s also the age when a military child typically gets a personal ID card. Yes, their very own computer distorted photo, just like dad or mom. Even though they aren’t “in” the military, kids serve in many ways. They send care packages to their military parent when they are deployed. They take on new responsibilities when situations change in their families. They grow up with a sense of community and service to country.
Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have given military kids a greater understanding of their parent’s job. Children at Ramstein Intermediate and Middle Schools in Germany asked to be in a club for children in 3rd through 8th grade called Kids4Kids. These children of deployed parents got to see what it was like to go through processing for deployment, from eating Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), to sleeping in a tent.
Many kids at Operation Purple camp said their favorite activity at camp was Military Day, which included watching Blackhawks whirl in for a landing and a Q&A with a military guest speaker. Operation Purple campers said the experience of a week at camp with other military kids going through a deployment reminded them that they, too, were part of the efforts supporting troops overseas.
Use these strategies as an opportunity to reinforce the positive efforts that military kids make by supporting their parents—and by just being kids:
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Additional opportunities to serve include: