Military children, the U.S. military community’s youngest members, are recognized for their contributions, courage and patriotism this month. The Department of Defense recognizes April as the Month of the Military Child. “We want to highlight their sacrifices [and] support of the military member in their families, so it behooves us to take time from the busy calendar of our events and recognize military children,” said Barbara Thompson, the director of DoD’s Office of Family Readiness Policy.
The Department of Defense began recognizing military children with the Month of the Military Child in 1986. The month of April will be full of activities and community outreach initiatives. According to the DOD, there will be “parades, fairs, art and poetry contests will abound as installations develop engaging and amusing activities to solidify the bonds among families and communities.”
Thompson said, “We want to make sure that children’s voices are heard during the Month of the Military Child. It’s a fun time to be with their families [and] to take part in the various activities that the services developed to recognize military children.”
Sacrifices of Military Children
Throughout the year, military spouses often receive more attention than the roughly 1.9 million U.S. military children who have one or both parents serving in the armed forces receive. We must not, however, diminish the sacrifices the children make. And we must remember to support them, along with our troops, spouses and entire military families, throughout the entire year.
Military children must learn to cope with the uncertainty of schedules and unfamiliarity of environments and situations. Military life, from its deployments to permanent-change-of-station moves, is very tough especially on young children.
As Thompson explained, “That can be a real sacrifice, because each parent is a very important part of that child’s makeup,” she said. “So we want to make sure that when they move or change schools, all of those transition times are supported with resources, programs and services.”
Year-Round Support for Military Children
Military children and military families can find a number of resources for support and education throughout the year. There are child development programs for younger children and youth development programs for older military children.
Military parents also have options to help them raise children in the military. There are family support centers on military installations. And there are other services like Military OneSource which offers support 24/7, 365 days a year and offers that help face-to-face, online, over the phone and via video.