Month of the Military Child
FIT4MOM x Melissa Smith
Today we want to celebrate our strong military kids! These are the kids behind the scenes of our brave men and women in the armed forces. From young ages, children in military families are forced to leave behind their favorite places, adjust to new schools, make new friends, and try to find a way to make each new place feel like home. When mom or dad is deployed or away for work, they become our little helpers, always ready and willing to perform tasks to help keep the house running.
Melissa, owner and instructor for FIT4MOM Little Rock, is a proud military spouse and mama of two. She shared about her daughter’s experience:
“Deployments are hard for everyone, but especially our children. Their normal routines are altered and they have to adjust to life without one of their parents. Our most recent deployment is when I saw the most changes in my daughter. The first 2 weeks are always the hardest. the missing, the asking, and the ‘wanting dad to do it’ usually starts to happen. Then the tantrums, outbursts, and nap strikes follow. So many emotions happen during the first couple of weeks, it's exhausting. But eventually, we find our new routine, our new rhythm. Every time my husband is away we start with the same cycle: the missing, the asking, the wanting...until she gets comfortable with it just being us again”.
These experiences are common in military families unfortunately, but here are some things you can do to prepare and help the time pass by:
Prepare them for the upcoming changes - A few days before a parent leaves begin letting your child know that mom/dad will not be there to do the normal things. Give as much detail as you can: where they are going, how many sleeps they will be back in, if there will be any visitors coming - the more prepared they are, the better.
Pick something special you do only when they are away - Throw themed parties on Fridays, hit up our favorite ice cream spots, or order take out and indulge in extra screen time.
Create crafts for care packages - One favorite craft is "sending a hug". It only requires a few materials and it's done in less than 10 minutes. A tutorial can be found here.
Stay busy - This is the best time to get connected to your local community and find out what's going on. Weekends could feel long. Try filling them with park playdates, picnics at the park, visits from grandparents, trips to the local zoo, and venturing out to discover your city.
We want to hear about your military child! What are some of their favorite activities while their mom or dad is on a TDY or deployed?
Photo and tips from @thatmamaonthemove