November is Military Family Month, a time to recognize the unique challenges that families face when supporting their servicemembers. Children may need to deal with a parent’s deployment or uprooting to move to a different community – and a new home, school, and friends. Here are some resources to help parents and kids cope in healthy ways to changing circumstances.
The One. The Department of Defense’s site, MilitaryOneSource.mil, can help you research every service branch’s programs for child care, youth activities, and parent support. It also has information about the initiatives for military kids run by nonprofits like Mission Youth Outreach (from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America) and Operation Purple Camp (from the National Military Family Association.) Visit MilitaryOneSource.mil to get started.
Heads Up! What’s the best way to protect your kids online? Talk to them. It can be easy to over-share, embarrass yourself, mess up your computer, and possibly get messages from creepy people. Sure, kids value the opinions of their peers, but most tend to rely on their parents for help on the issues that matter most. The FTC has two guides that can help. Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online (for parents, teachers, and others) offers practical tips for getting the conversation started about social networking, privacy, mobile devices, computer security, and dealing with cyberbullying. Heads Up: Stop, Think, Connect is a guide written and designed for kids ages 8-12. It covers basic points to help kids protect themselves, their information, and their devices.
Get with the program. Your Morale, Welfare and Recreation program can provide a wealth of opportunities for fun and enrichment, including free passes to national parks; free memberships to 1,700 YMCAs and more than 2,300 private fitness facilities; free admission to museums; and a mil-kid summer reading program in connection with your local library.