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As a parent, you want to both protect your children and help them be their best. Helping them learn and grow is a big way to achieve both goals. You’ll want to give your children a head start in their education so they can safely navigate through the sometimes tricky terrain of school. Use the following tips and resources to help your child adjust to and do well in school. You can also find resources and services to help support children after a traumatic event.
Looking for your school liaison?
Search MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to find your local school liaison.
Give your child a support network
Talk to a school liaison. Your installation school liaison is your first stop for assistance with all things education. School liaisons can help you determine the best fit for your child when changing schools and provide necessary information about culture, academics and extracurricular activities — your “must haves.” School liaisons can connect you to the Exceptional Family Member Program Family Support provider and your school’s special education department. They can also connect you with youth programs outside of school and provide assistance for your child’s specific educational needs.
Home-schooling? Your school liaison can fill you in on state and local home-schooling requirements and connect you with nearby home-school groups. Installation youth centers offer enrichment classes and may open their facilities during the school day to children who receive home school education. Contact your installation youth center for more information.
Get your child a tutor. It’s easier to keep up than catch up. Tutor.com for U.S. Military and Their Families can help your student stay ahead or get caught up. Live tutors are online and can help with homework, studying, test prep, proofreading, organizational skills and more. Tutoring and homework help is available 24/7 at no cost to active-duty service members, their spouses and K-12 dependents, as well as surviving spouses (unmarried) and surviving dependent children and orphans of personnel who died on active duty or while in retired status (whether the surviving spouse remarries or not).
Participate in child, youth and teen programs. Child and youth programs provide safe, developmentally-appropriate places for your child to socialize and grow, develop essential skills and make lasting connections. Youth centers are available on almost every installation where families PCS. Centers are staffed with trained, caring professionals who understand how to connect with youth, support them in their teen years and recognize the signs of stress. Learn more about military youth and teen programs.
Support your student at home. Learning never stops. Here’s how to support your student at any age:
- Give your child a quiet place to study, and help your student create and maintain routines that support learning.
- Monitor homework and help your student chip away at larger projects.
- Keep your children engaged about their experiences. Ask them specific, not general, questions about school. Talk about your own work and how it connects to what they are learning. Get your child or teen out for a walk to help them open up about how things are going.
- Engage children in healthy living and active lifestyles, and make sure they have a nutritious breakfast each morning to support attention spans and learning at school. Military OneSource offers fitness, nutrition and active living essentials and a number of healthy living resources to support your MilFam’s overall health.
If your child has a disability or special need, the Exceptional Family Member Program can help you navigate the Defense Department’s network of services and support. Contact your installation EFMP Family Support provider who can provide information and referral about your child’s special education needs. They also offer PCS transition assistance by providing a warm handoff to the EFMP Family Support provider at the gaining installation. Visit the EFMP & Me online tool to create an education checklist with information and resources tailored for your family. Check out the Education Directory for Children with Special Needs to locate early intervention and school-age special education information specific to your locale.
If your family has low income or a foster child, you’re eligible for the national Head Start Program. This program teaches reading, math and other key skills to children ages 5 and younger before they start kindergarten. They also receive nutrition, health and social services. Living overseas? The DOD developed the Sure Start program to provide Head Start-like services to families living overseas. The program is open primarily to 4-year-old children of command-sponsored service members. Learn more about Sure Start to see if your child qualifies.
If your child has experienced a traumatic event, reach out to the following resources for support:
- Confidential, non-medical counseling is offered through both Military OneSource non-medical counseling, available to children and youth ages 6 to 17, and child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors. These counselors are available at most installation youth and child development centers and also at many schools both on and off base.
- Following a tragedy, whether it’s experienced in close proximity or through exposure to news and social media, it can help for children to have a positive place to go such as installation child and youth centers where professionals understand the developmental needs of children, youth and teens. Contact your installation youth center for information on local programs and services.
- Your installation school liaison can also help with referral and support information for children and families who have been affected by tragedy. Learn more in this article about how to cope with a traumatic event.
Military OneSource is by your side so you support your children’s education every step of the way. Whether you are looking to give your children an educational head start, prepare for standardized tests in high school or help them learn to manage life challenges, we can help. To connect to an education consultant, call Military OneSource 24/7 at 800-342-9647, view overseas calling options or schedule a live chat.