Each November, Military Family Month provides the opportunity for a grateful nation to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of all military family members in defense of the nation. We owe each day of security and freedom that we enjoy to all of the members of our armed forces, veterans, the fallen and their families. Behind our brave service men and women are the family members, who share in their sacrifices. There are many creative ways you can show appreciation for members of your military family. Don't be afraid to think outside of the box and come up with some ideas of your own. Here are some ideas to get you started.
If you are a service member or the partner of a service member, here are some ways you can treat your significant other:
- Take on a few of your partner's most dreaded chores. Does your partner despise scooping the litter box or scrubbing greasy pots and pans? Give a little unsolicited help with chores to show your appreciation.
- Let your partner sleep in on a Saturday. Take care of the children or the weekend chores while your partner rests.
- Surprise your partner with a creative date. Fish for information from your family and friends to see if there is something your partner has been dying to do. Take them to a musical or go rock climbing or horseback riding. Plan a fun activity they've always wanted to try.
- Cook your partner's favorite meal and have date night at home. Pull some recipes off the Internet and whip up a meal, or, if you are truly not a good cook, get take-out (but serve it on real plates, not out of take-out boxes). Your partner will appreciate the effort, either way.
With a little help, even young children can get involved and show appreciation for their parents. Children can show appreciation for their parents by:
- Making hand-made gifts for their parents. This can be as simple as a crayon drawing of the family or a more elaborate keepsake like a handprint in plaster or a knick knack made of clay. Take your children to the local craft store, and let them use their imaginations to find a creative gift.
- Serving breakfast in bed. Depending on your children's ages, they may be able to cook breakfast or help serve breakfast to your partner with a little assistance.
- Record their feelings in writing or on a video. Children are usually very honest when it comes to their emotions. Have your child write a poem, letter or card or talk on a video about how they feel about their parent. This is a great way for kids to show appreciation, especially when one or both parents are deployed.
Military children also make sacrifices to support their parents. You can show your appreciation for your children in the following ways:
- If you are deployed, send your children trinkets from the local culture. Do a bit of research to see what kinds of small gifts local people give to their children, and share that information with your children.
- Plan a family fun day where your children get to choose the activity. Take your children zip-lining, to the zoo or to a children's spa day. Make them the center of attention for that day.
- Tell them you love them. Take time one-on-one with each child and let them know how much you care about them. You can also leave love notes in their school lunch or backpacks.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Use your imagination and see how many ways you can show your family how much you appreciate them. For more tips on healthy relationships and family wellness, visit Military OneSource.