Life for a child of a parent who is an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces tends to be different than the life of a child of a non-military family. From moving to new cities to dealing with a parent’s deployments, there are a lot of experiences that can cause a military child to grow up fast. But, this doesn’t mean that they don’t need support. In fact, military children often need support services to help them stay grounded during militarily active times.
We have compiled a list of ten valuable resources that can benefit children of active duty parents. From ways to express their feelings and emotions to fun projects to keep their minds occupied, there’s something here for every child.
Health Net Federal Services, LLC (HNFS) launched its children’s journaling initiative to help children successfully manage the unique challenges of military life. HNFS currently has three journals to choose from, including My Life (a kid’s journal for dealing with deployment), My Life as I Move (for dealing with frequent relocations), and My Life Continued (for dealing with the loss of a loved one). The journals are completely free and they can downloaded and printed out using your home printer.
United Through Reading
United Through Reading (UTR) is a program that serves families of every military branch and its goal is to help ease the stress families face when a parent is deployed. Through UTR, the deployed family member chooses a book from the UTR library and is then recorded reading the book. The video is delivered to the child so they can see and hear their parent as often as they wish, day or night.
Academics can sometimes become a challenge for a child who changes schools frequently. But, Tutor.com offers online tutoring and homework help for military families. Help is always available, 24/7, and it is a completely free service paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Operation Purple Camps
Operation Purple Camps are free week-long camps for children of military families. The camps are provided by the National Military Family Association and designed to help children adapt and overcome the stressors of military life.
The SAT/ACT PowerPrep Project
The SAT/ACT PowerPrep Project is a program that’s designed to help military teens prepare for their SAT/ACT exams. Students receive a semester-length interactive online course from eKnowledge. The multimedia course is valued at $350, but military students can get if for free.
Sesame Street Workshop
Sesame Street has an online workshop dedicated to helping military families arm themselves with “love, laughter, and practical tools for deployment.” There is also a second part to the workshop, which helps children and families deal with a loved one’s injury, be it physical or emotional.
Military OneSource is a military family’s best friend. It is designed to help make raising a child in a military environment easier and less stressful. From helping your child do their best in school to connecting you with quality child care services, Military OneSource can point you in the right direction for everything you need.
MilitaryKidsConnect.org is a website run by the Department of Defense with the sole purpose of giving military children and teens a means of feeling connected to each other. Children can watch personal story videos, play online games, watch animated graphic novels, and communicate with other military kids.
Dog Tags for Kids
Dog Tags for Kids is a project of Kids Charities of the Antelope Valley, a 501(c)3 charity and it is designed to help children of parents who are deployed in the most dangerous locations feel connected to their parent(s). The child receives specially engraved Dog Tags in the appropriate service color from their active duty parent serving in the field. The Dog tags are engraved “With Love From Dad (or Mom), U.S. Army (or branch), Afghanistan (or appropriate location) 2018 (or the year of the deployment).” The Dog Tags can be worn by the child until their parent(s) return home and then cherished for a lifetime.
Military Kids’ Life Magazine
Military Kids’ Life magazine is a quarterly magazine published by Chameleon Kids. The magazine covers a wide range of topics in its articles, essays, and photographs for children of active duty, reserve, veterans, and National Guard families of ALL military branches. A one-year subscription is $18.95.