Dandelions are the unofficial symbol of military kids. They put down roots anywhere and can survive nearly anything. Not only do they survive, but they bloom no matter what the conditions. They stand ready to blow in the wind to their next adventure, their next home. April is the month of the military child, and I can’t think of any group more deserving of their own month. After all, these kids don’t get any say in their lives, but they spend them giving up time with their parents so that their mama or daddy can protect all of us. They leave their friends every couple of years and start over so that their parents can serve their country in a new place. Honestly, in a lot of ways, the kids are actually more resilient than their parents. They often learn to make friends quickly, find new ways to entertain themselves, and explore new places, while we’re struggling with unpacking a house, trying to make it home, and worrying about friends we’ve left behind. They’re better at looking ahead than we are.
There are so many ways we can care for our military families, but making sure they’re on the military child level is a different thing. Send this list to your kiddo’s teacher to use this month, do these activities with kids in your neighborhood, or even with your own child to remind them of their friends who might be having a tough time. More important than anything on this list is to let the military children in your life know that you’re there for them, no matter what, no matter where the military takes them.
10 Ways to Celebrate the Month of the Military Child
- Decorate Your School or Street in Purple– Purple is the color of the military child, so deck out your halls in it for the month of the military child! Give all the kids a reminder that there are kiddos who are sacrificing time with their parents so that they can all stay safe.
- Dress Up Themes– Dress up for the day in patriotic, camo, purple, whatever makes you think of military kids. April 15th is not only tax day. It’s also the day to PURPLE UP!
- Adopt a Military Unit— This could be a unit that your neighbor’s kiddo belongs to or someone in your kid’s class’ parent is in. Send them colored pictures, letter, or care packages. Trust me when I say even the simplest of gestures makes them smile when they’re overseas.
- Adopt a Military Family– Find a family whose parent is gone and offer to bring them a meal once a week, mow their lawn, help with homework, give the parent at home a night out, etc. The month of the military child doesn’t have to end with April!
- Create a World Map– Have military kids put pins in every place they’ve lived or where their parents have served. Then, have civilian kiddos do the same. Point out the similarities between them so the military kids don’t feel so alone!
Ask a Military Member– Ask a military member to speak at your child’s class to share what their job and life is like.
- Create a Time Zone Wall– Put up a wall of clocks with different time zones, making sure to include the time zones where a deployed parent is or where a military child might be moving.
- Know That The Mamas Left at Home are Trying Their Best— The choices a military couple make are never easy, but they’re more like you than you might think. Make sure you understand that they’re trying their best, just like you and your spouse are.
- Show and Tell– Have all the kiddos in your class or even just your group of friends bring in something military-related. That might be a picture of a grandparent who served, their favorite military airplane, a G.I. Joe doll, or something related to where they’ve lived before (if they’re a military kid). Help them learn more about their military friends during the month of the military child!
- Find Out More About Your Local Base– If you live in the south, you likely live near a base. If you live elsewhere, you’re probably not TOO far from one, either. Often, they have a family center that can give you more information and ideas for taking care of your local military families. It never hurts to ask for help when it comes to ideas specific to your area!