Celebrating the Little Heroes
Red, white and blue with a touch of camo ─ colors we would naturally associate with the children of military members. However, the color that best represents the life of the military child is purple, the color designated for celebrating the month of April as the Month of the Military Child.
In 1986, April was designated Month of the Military Child by former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger to recognize and thank children from military families for the sacrifices they make living the military lifestyle. Purple Up is the campaign that propels activities throughout the Month of the Military Child to honor, acknowledge and support military children.
More than 1.9 million children have a parent serving in the military. Often, a military child must come to terms with relocation and/or deployment.
Military families often have to move, and making this transition can be difficult. For children, the experience may lead to feelings of sadness and anxiety about new friends and a new school. By staying positive and including your child the moving process, you can ease his or her fears. Sesame Street has created a comprehensive website for military families, with information and resources, including tips for helping your child relocate.
Another challenging situation both for children and parents is when a father, mother or a sibling is deployed and away from home for military service. Children may experience sadness, anger, fear, anxiety and loneliness. Often, they do not yet understand these feelings or know how to express them.
Parents are encouraged to maintain all routines and talk frequently with their child about deployment. Children thrive on routines and consistency, especially during a difficult time like a deployment. Books can help to open conversations about deployment and a child’s emotions. Below, are some books that may be helpful. Ask your local librarian for additional recommendations on military children, military life and deployment.
Lily Hates Goodbyes (All Military Version)
by Jerilyn Marler (Author), Nathan Stoltenberg (Illustrator)
Lily is a young military child. Sometimes she has to say goodbye to her daddy for about a billion days. She feels a swirl of unhappy emotions that can be scary, and she aches to feel connected to her daddy while he’s on deployment. Join Lily as she learns how to cope with her emotions and to be happy in her daily life while she looks forward to joyfully saying hello when daddy gets home.
My Mommy Wears Combat Boots is about a mother’s deployment through her child’s eyes. From special trinkets you send from foreign countries to video chatting to hear about their day, from the countdown for your return to making your homecoming very special, My Mommy Wears Combat Boots can help you to explain that, while difficult, your leaving is so important.