Deployed sailors hold up smartphones with pictures of their children

New Military Parents: Seven Ways to Keep Your Child Safe, Happy and Healthy

Welcome to parenthood. Parenting can be the most rewarding and challenging job you’ll likely have. As a warrior, you’re trained to depend on a team and leave no service member behind. 

As a new parent, you’ll be caregiver at home. But you’ll still need to depend on a team. Military OneSource is part of your team. We can connect you to a larger team, resources and benefits so you can be triumphant in parenthood. 

Helping your kid thrive also means supporting yourselves

Between the hard-to-figure-out crying, middle-of-the-night wakeup calls and diaper disasters, you'll need all the help you can get to be your best. Whether you’re expecting your first or dealing with a toddler, here are seven ways to help you and your child thrive in this new chapter:

Remember: As a new parent, look to Military OneSource to help you help navigate your child—and you—through this exciting and challenging time.

  • Safety first. Don’t leave your child unattended. Sounds basic, but lack of sleep makes our brains fuzzy. Accidents happen in a split second. A child left unattended in the bath for a moment, for example. Call 800-342-9647 to get information from Military OneSource on supervision guidelines and ways to keep your military kids safe.
  • Health care coverage. You’ll want to get your newborn or adopted child covered by TRICARE. Register in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System for TRICARE coverage. Then choose a TRICARE health plan and enroll your child.
  • Parent support. The New Parent Support Program, staffed by nurses, social workers and home visitation specialists, provides many services. This includes supportive home visits to expectant and current parents, prenatal and parenting classes, play groups and more. To find a program near you, visit the military installation locator.
  • Child care. This is often a top concern for working parents. Military OneSource can help connect you to child care options on and off your installation. Also check out:
    • MilitaryChildCare.com, a Department of Defense website for military families seeking child care. You’ll find information on military-run and military-subsidized child care options across all services. Or call 855-696-2934.
    • Contact your installation's child development center for information on child care options, or visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to access a directory of providers.
  • Parent support. Military OneSource specialty consultations give parents a chance to speak with specialists with expertise in key areas. Thinking about education? Or  adoption? Need coaching or information about special needs? Call 800-342-9647.
  • Parenting newsletter and apps. The following resources are military-sanctioned and of tremendous help to expecting and current parents: Parent ReviewFrom Baby to Big Kid; Babies on the Homefront; and Just In Time Parenting.
  • Read to your children. It’s never too early to read to your child. And soon your kid will be learning to read. Through Military OneSource, you can access TumbleBooks for Beginning Readers and others resources via the Morale, Welfare and Recreation digital library.