April Is Month of the Military Child
April marks the national observance of the Month of the Military Child, when the Department of Defense and service members across the country honor military children and youth for their sacrifice in supporting their families and their country. During this month, we celebrate their fortitude and generosity, remembering their important place in the military community. Among the children we honor this month are those with special needs – those who live with disabilities of all kinds and forge ahead one day at a time to make unique contributions to the world.
Military children are remarkable examples of resilience, strength and flexibility. They pack up their books and clothes and say goodbye to friends every couple of years. They help manage the home front while a parent is deployed. They exercise courage at school, at home and in the wider military community. Military children are:
- Open-minded and accepting. They are exposed to different cultures and different ways of life, so they tend to be more tolerant and considerate of all kinds of people.
- Responsible and independent. They know how to use a skillet and stove before their civilian peers because they've often had to help mom or dad.
- Flexible. They learn how to embrace change and go with the moment.
- Generous. They understand how to share, reciprocate and be a team player.
Children of service members didn't develop these qualities by chance. They earned them, much like their parents earned honors at battle, by facing their challenges – constant moves, separations from parents, new schools – in positive ways. This month, Military OneSource is promoting free resources for military children, especially those with special needs, to support them as they deal with challenges unique to the military life: making new friends, managing transition stress and finding fun activities on and off the installation. Programs include:
- Military Kids Connect – An engaging website that helps children connect to an online community of other military kids, prepare for upcoming moves and have fun with lots of engaging tools and games.
- Education Directory for Children With Special Needs – A directory that provides military families with children having special needs tools and resources to help with the transition to a new location, including early intervention services for children birth through 3-years-old and education services for children with special needs 3-years-old through 21 years.
- Military Youth Coping With Separation – A video developed by military pediatricians and adolescent medicine specialists to help military youth understand that they are not alone when they experience family separation.
- Exceptional Family Member Program – A program that ensures family members' documented medical and educational needs receive consideration during the assignment coordination process. Through the Exceptional Family Member Program Family Support office, families can receive assistance with navigating military and community systems of support.
- Military and Family Life Counseling Program – Face-to-face, confidential non-medical counseling, briefings and presentations both on and off military installations.
- Military OneSource Specialty Consultations – Consultations with specialists in key areas, such as education, transition stress or special needs.
Celebrate Month of the Military Child by checking with your local installation's child and youth programs for events in April honoring military children. And be sure to wear purple on April 21 to recognize military children and youth: Purple Up! for Military Kids is an initiative of 4-H Military Partnerships.