Ways to Help Your Children Cope With Moving

Father talking to son

You’ve received your PCS orders. Between packing and looking for a new home, you’ll have another big job to do if you’re a military parent – helping your children cope with moving.

Received PCS orders? Before you go, contact your school liaison.

Find out how a school liaison can help you and your family navigate school selection and youth sponsorship.

Military families move frequently, so this can be both an exciting and challenging time for children and teens. Keep in mind while you’re busy preparing, they’ll need extra attention and help in this transition. Prepare and show how to move with confidence. Utilize the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and Plan My Move tools to help manage your family’s move details. Here are a few tips to make your next move a smooth one for your entire family.

Helping your children say goodbye and plan for the move

Being part of the military community, you know that mission success is all about being prepared. Good results follow good preparation. Preparing your children for the move will make it easier for them to adjust. Some tips:

  • Alert your children to the move ASAP. Just like you, they need time to prepare and time to adjust to the idea of moving and saying goodbye to their friends.
  • Listen to your children and provide answers. Your children may have lots of questions or may need some space during this transition. Answer their questions as best you can. Be patient with yourself and your children during this time. Help your children research their new school, nearby parks and installation activities. The adjustment — for you and your children — will take time.
  • Let your children help. Get them involved. Teens may be able to search online for new houses and scout out their new school or fun things to do on the new installation. Older youth can help pack, and younger children can pack their own belongings, favorite items or “first day box.”
  • Reassure your children. Tell them that you love them and that together the family will adjust to their new address. Your children take their cues from you. Stay positive and keep them involved in the move. Remind them that you’re a military strong family and that new adventures await!
  • Celebrate your children’s favorite things. Before the move, make a point to take some family time to visit your favorite parks, restaurants, recreation spots and other favorite places. Have them take something special or a photo from one of those places to the new house and encourage your child to find a new favorite spot in your new location.
  • Look ahead. Spend time with your children researching their new school, area parks and base activities. Make it fun. It’s an exciting journey!

Helping your children adjust to their new home and school

After your initial planning, there are several steps you can take to help your children transition smoothly to their new home and school.

  • Consult with your installation’s school liaison. Many installations have a school liaison to serve as a bridge and facilitator between schools and military families. School liaisons are your primary point of contact for all school-related matters, especially a school transition. The school liaison at your current installation can connect you to your new installation school liaison who will help smooth the transition to your child’s new school. Let your school liaison help you and your family navigate school selection and youth sponsorship during this time of change. Your school liaison can work with your new school to minimize the disruption of transitions and inform schools about issues related to the education of military youth. Find your current and future installation’s school liaison contact information on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.
  • Request a sponsor. The Sponsorship Program connects you with someone at your new location. Sponsors can help ease the transition for inbound service members, civilians and family members. If you haven’t been assigned a sponsor, you can request one through your new unit, which will try to match you with a sponsor with similar rank and family status.
  • Look into the Youth Sponsorship Program. Many installations give youth the chance to meet a new friend and become acquainted with their new installation through the installation’s youth program. Where available, they can exchange emails, talk on the phone or chat online. For more information, visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and click on Youth Services and your new installation. The youth program staff at your new installation can offer more information on the Youth Sponsorship Program. Families with children may also want to visit Military Kids Connect, an online community for military children and youth. The site offers games, videos and links to teen-led installation tours.
  • Remain patient with your children. If they weren’t nervous before, they may be now that you’ve moved and they are facing a new school, neighborhood and friends. Listen, support and be there for your children during the transition.
  • Smooth your children’s entry into school. The military helps you ease what could be one of the biggest stressors for your children – a new school. All 50 states have agreed to help military families ensure their children can enroll in needed classes, play sports and graduate on time through the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. Here’s how the compact can help you and your students:
    • Enrolling is easier. Using unofficial records from your old school allows your students to enroll without delay, before the official transcript arrives. You also have 30 days to obtain any needed immunizations.
    • Getting key classes. Rest assured that your children will be placed in appropriate required classes, advanced placement and special needs programs while awaiting evaluation at their new school. The new school can assess your child but can’t put your child in a “holding class” during the assessment time.
    • Playing sports and other extracurricular activities right away. If your child is eligible, the new school will facilitate participation in extracurricular activities even if application deadlines or tryouts have passed.
    • Graduating. The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children helps to ensure there will be no delays as a result of the move in terms of your high schooler’s graduation.

Contact your installation school liaison for assistance in helping you and your children transition to their new school and find out about services and programs available at your new installation.

Having your move details in order, as well as being a strong and caring role model for your children, will help you and your family make a smooth move. Use your installation’s relocation assistance program to help you plan for your move, transition your students to their new school or get referrals or information to reduce the stress around moving. Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or schedule a live chat to ask how Military and Family Support Service can help you ease your family’s move. OCONUS/international? Click here for calling options.

Child Care Options For Military Families With Special Needs

Teacher and two young students in classroom

Finding the right care for your child with special needs starts with asking the right questions. The military services offer quality, affordable child care options, both on the installation and in the civilian community. Finding the best fit for your child is not impossible. Here are some questions to ask as you search for the best child care decision for your child with special needs.

What are my child’s rights?

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects children from discriminatory practices in child care programs, unless the child’s presence would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others or require a fundamental alteration of the program.

You should also know:

  • Military and civilian child care programs must make reasonable accommodations to integrate children with disabilities.
  • Programs cannot assume that a child’s disability is too severe for successful integration.
  • There must be an individualized assessment based on professional observations, past history and standard assessment criteria.

What types of installation child care settings are out there?

There may be several child care options on your installation:

  • Child development centers — On your installation, you’ll usually find a child development center offering care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Hours may vary but are typically 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays with extended hours at some locations, year-round. Some centers offer part-time and hourly care, too. Your child would be placed with other children in the same age group, who may or may not have disabilities.
  • Family child care homes — Family child care homes may be a good choice for your child. In their own home, providers care for a small group of children of all abilities, up to age 12. The home may be on or off the installation and may offer additional hours, such as before and after school, nights and weekends.
  • School-age care programs — These programs for children ages 6 to 12 are usually open before and after school, on holidays and for summer day camp. These care programs may use space in a child development center but are more often located in youth centers or schools. The children receive a planned curriculum and the ability to interact with their peers, who may or may not have disabilities.
  • Installation programs for youth and teens — For children ages 12 to 18, many military installations offer activities and classes at youth or community centers. These programs are open to children with and without special needs.

What is the best setting for my child with special needs?

If your child has special needs, your military service will work closely with you to find the best placement for your child. You can contact your installation child development center to learn more about child care options for your family. Each installation works with a multidisciplinary inclusion action team, or IAT, that includes the parent in the discussion of how to best meet the individual needs of the child.

How do I find child care in the civilian community?

If you don’t have access to installation child development programs or you prefer to have your child cared for off the installation, you still have options.

Installation resource and referral programs

Most installation child development services programs have a resource and referral office to help you find the right care for your child with disabilities. Keep in mind:

  • This office will be the first contact when you are looking for child care resources.
  • MilitaryINSTALLATIONS is the place to find contact information for military child development resource and referral offices.
  • Reach out to the enhanced EFMP Resources, Options Consultations, or ROC, for easy access to the information and resources you need.

Other options

Child Care Aware of America manages the fee assistance program, known as Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, for each service branch. The fee assistance program offsets the cost of child care, making community based child care options more affordable and accessible to eligible military families.

Some children may require more than routine or basic care, such as children at risk of, or who have disabilities, chronic illnesses or physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions. MilitaryChildCare.com is a Department of Defense website that helps families in any service branch find and request military operated or military subsidized child care anywhere in the world. The website assists families in their search for care for their child with special needs through a process that includes an IAT and military service-specific IAT protocols. The IAT process supports reasonable accommodation by considering the needs of the child, the child care environment, staffing and training requirements, and the resources of the program. Programs welcome the opportunity to discuss each family’s needs throughout their search process. More information is available by contacting the local program.

You may also contact the Exceptional Family Member Program to explore child care resources for families with special needs.

How to Teach Your Military Child About Healthy Boundaries

Child kisses parent on cheek

The concept of personal boundaries is one of the most important concepts you can teach your children so they can grow up to have happy, healthy relationships. Plus, learning about healthy personal boundaries as a young child lays the foundation for understanding consent as a teen.

Not sure what’s “normal” sexual behaviors for growing children?

Learn more about common – and healthy – behaviors in children, so you know what to expect and how to help them.

Boundaries can refer to a number of physical and emotional guidelines you establish for yourself. Physical boundaries can include the physical space between you and another person, the comfort you feel with physical touch, and the way you share and respect another person’s belongings. Emotional boundaries include unspoken rules of how you treat or speak to someone and how you expect to be treated in return. Emotional boundaries also allow us to identify and separate our needs, wants, opinions and emotions from others. Boundaries are healthy when we have identified our limits, we are confident with our choices and opinions, and we are able to stand up for ourselves when necessary if what is acceptable is threatened.

How do you lay the foundation for boundaries and consent with young children? First, you have to teach them about healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries are not too rigid (where we refuse to listen and grow), nor are they too loose (when we can’t say no to others or allow others to define what is right for us even if it feels wrong to us). Everyone has the right to set limits with others about what they do and don’t want to happen. For young children, boundaries and consent begin with asking for permission and understanding they, too, can expect to be asked for consent in return.

The best way for military families to show children healthy boundaries is to model it themselves – both with your children and with other adults. Here’s a list of some common ways you can help your children learn to build this resilient skill in everyday family life.

  • Respect the spoken “yes” and “no.” Clear communication is the foundation to teaching healthy boundaries and asking for permission. Help them practice saying yes or no in certain situations, rather than relying on body language alone. That way, children won’t just assume a behavior that makes them uncomfortable is okay or that it’s “rude” to refuse unwanted contact.
  • Ask for permission before offering physical affection. Touch should not be an automatic right for anyone – family, friend or stranger. Like adults, children can decide who they’d like to hug, high-five or hold their hand without repercussion. For example, a child may choose not to high-five a stranger’s hand at the grocery store, even if an accompanying adult thinks it’s polite to do so.
  • Offer small choices for decisions which impact them. By offering your military children the chance to make their own decisions within reason, you’ll show respect for their personal right to decide for themselves. Questions like “It’s time to get dressed – would you like the red or blue shirt?” or “Do you want oatmeal or eggs for breakfast?” are easy ways to do this for young children without overwhelming them.
  • Reinforce the idea that rules and healthy boundaries go both ways. Boundaries that your military child may enforce for themselves can also exist for others, including fellow playmates. For example, Tommy has the right to tell Mary to stop pushing him because that’s crossing his personal boundaries. Mary can tell Tommy to stop pulling her ponytail as well, because she has boundaries, too. As an adult, you can help children to understand that boundaries apply to everyone, and different people may have different types of boundaries.
  • Talk about “gut feelings.” You’ll need to explain that sometimes people get a weird feeling that something isn’t right, even if they’re not sure why. They should trust that inner voice, because that’s an instinct we all have to keep us safe. That gut feeling might help them avoid a suspiciously friendly stranger, for example.

By modeling consent and respect for personal boundaries, you can help your military child stay safe as they actively seek secure relationships. And remember – Military OneSource is always able to boost your MilParent power by connecting you to military programs and support designed especially for military parents, like the New Parent Support Program, the Military and Family Life Counseling Program and Thrive.

Common Military Acronyms

A male Air Force captain listens to a radio during an outdoor training exercise.

Sometimes it feels like the military has a language all its own made entirely of acronyms and abbreviations. And while your service member is probably fluent in this strange tongue, you may need a little help to keep up.

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Military acronyms: The basics for new recruits

AAFES: Army and Air Force Exchange Service. The retailer that operates post exchanges on Army and Air Force installations.

AIT or “A School”: Advanced individual training. The hands-on career training and field instruction each service member receives before being qualified to do a specific military job. This specialized schooling varies by military branch.

ASVAB: Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. A multiple-choice test a prospective recruit takes before enlisting to see if they are qualified to join and which military jobs they qualify for.

DOD: Department of Defense. The department of the U.S. government responsible for military operations.

MEPS: Military Entrance Processing Station. Where service members take the ASVAB, get a physical, choose their military job and swear in.

MOS: Military occupational specialty. This is a service member’s specific job in the military, from artillery and aviation to engineering and intelligence.

OPSEC: Operational Security. The process of identifying and protecting information about military operations.

PT: Physical training. Key to military readiness, service members will be expected to meet fitness standards throughout their enlistment.

PX: Post Exchange. A store at a military installation that sells merchandise and services to military personnel and authorized civilians.

Military acronyms: Chain of command

CO: Commanding officer. The officer in charge of a military unit, such as captain for a company (Army) and squadron commander for a squadron of aircraft (Air Force).

JSC: Joint Chiefs of Staff. A group of senior military leaders who advise the president, the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council on military matters.

NCO: Noncommissioned officer. A military officer who has not received a commission, such as sergeant (Army) and warrant officer (Navy).

XO: Executive officer. The second-in-command to a commanding officer.

Military acronyms: MilLife paperwork

BRS: Blended Retirement System. The military’s new retirement system, which extends benefits to about 85% of service members, even if they don’t serve a full 20 years. This system uses the Thrift Savings Plan described below.

DEERS: Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. A database of military families and others entitled to receive TRICARE and other benefits.

LES: Leave and Earning Statement. This bimonthly statement reports what you’ve earned, how much has been withheld for taxes, your leave balance and what allotments you have. Service members in the Air Force or Army may choose to receive their pay monthly, in which case the LES would be reported only once a month instead of twice.

POC: Point of contact. The person you contact about a specific program or assignment.

TRICARE: Military health care program. TRICARE provides health benefits to service members, retirees and their families.

TSP: Thrift Savings Plan. Similar to a 401(k), the TSP is a government-sponsored retirement savings and investment plan. The TSP is a fundamental part of the military’s new Blended Retirement System, described above.

Military acronyms: Finance and housing

BAH: Basic Allowance for Housing. Compensation service members receive to cover the cost of housing when government quarters are not provided.

COLA: Cost of Living Allowance. Compensation service members receive to offset the cost of living in more expensive areas of the U.S.

OHA: Overseas Housing Allowance. Compensation service members receive for housing outside the U.S. when government quarters aren’t available.

POC: Privately Owned Conveyance. A service member’s personal vehicle that is not owned by the government.

Military acronyms: Locations

CONUS/OCONUS: The continental U.S., or CONUS, is the 48 connected states and District of Columbia. OCONUS is outside the continental U.S.

DITY: Do-It-Yourself, or a personally procured move, which can save a service member a lot of money moving. This is often associated with moving during a permanent change of station.

FOB: Forward operating base. A temporary, secured operational position that supports strategic goals and tactical objectives.

PCS: Permanent change of station. The relocation of an active-duty service member to a different duty location. Service members may PCS every few years.

PPM: Personally Procured Move. A move a service member plans and conducts on their own, instead of having the military do it. PPM expenses may be reimbursed by the military.

TDY: Temporary duty station. A temporary assignment at a location other than a service member’s permanent duty station.

Military acronyms: Service branch evaluations

EER: Enlisted Evaluation Report. The evaluation form used to record the performance of enlisted members of the Army.

EPR: Enlisted Performance Report. The evaluation form used to record the performance of enlisted members of the Air Force.

FITREP: Fitness Report. The evaluation form the Marine Corps and Navy used to record the performance of officers and enlisted members. Evaluations are called Chief EVALS or EVALS, depending on rank.

OER: Officer Evaluation Report. The evaluation form used to record the performance of officers in the Army.

OPR: Officer Performance Report. The evaluation form used to record the performance of officers in the Air Force.

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Understanding and Supporting the Military Spouse in Your Life

Couple reunited after deployment

Military spouses hold a unique, but important role in upholding our nation’s strength. Although they don’t serve the country directly, their support to those who do is vital to force morale and readiness.

May is Military Spouse Appreciation Month – a time when military spouses are recognized and honored for their contributions. If you aren’t or have never been a military spouse, it can be tough to figure out how to show your support. A good place to start is by learning more about life as a military spouse.

Life as a military spouse

The life of a military spouse may be filled with exciting new adventures along with periods of separation and loneliness. Spouses are generally flexible and strong, and often required to be independent while their partner is working towards their mission. Many have children and jobs to balance along with the demanding aspects of their partner’s military career.

While individual experiences may differ, life as a military spouse generally involves:

  • Frequent moves. On average, military families move to a new duty station every two to three years. It can be difficult to leave jobs, say goodbye to friends and start over in a new and unfamiliar community. The upside of moving every few years is the opportunity to live in different parts of the country and in some cases, the world, but there are also challenges adapting to a new environment and culture.
  • Separations from extended family. Moves are bound to take the military spouse in your life far from close friends and family. This can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness, but it also can enrich their lives as they meet new people and engage with their community.
  • Separations from their partner. A service member’s deployment can be hard on a spouse. They may worry about their partner’s safety and miss their companionship. They may feel overwhelmed by the burden of doing everything on their own. The service member may miss important events – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, even the birth of a child. This can lead to sadness and even resentment. However, military families tend to find creative ways to include the deployed member in these events. And while deployments can take their toll, they can also show spouses just how much they are capable of handling on their own.
  • Finding ways to reconnect when their partner returns home from deployment. There is often a readjustment period when a service member returns from deployment. The spouse at home may have established a new routine while the returning spouse may wonder where they fit into the household. This can be a rocky period in a relationship that requires patience and lots of communication. Couples learn valuable skills during this period that ultimately strengthen their partnership.

Showing your support for the military spouse in your life

Military spouses tend to be resilient. Over time, they develop new skills, create new support systems and learn to adapt to changing circumstances. Any extra support or recognition that you show the military spouse in your life can go a long way toward making them feel strong and understood.

  • Call and check in. It’s nice to do this any time, but particularly meaningful during deployments, after a recent move or during other times you know the spouse may be under strain.
  • Send a card. A handwritten note is always a welcome surprise.
  • Offer to take the kids for a night, if you live close enough. A night off from parenting responsibilities to reconnect with a partner or just enjoy some solitude is a huge gift.
  • Make a meal or send a gift card to a local restaurant. Whether it’s eat-in or takeout, everyone enjoys a night off from cooking.
  • Offer to be a listening ear. Let the military spouse in your life know that you want to be a supportive person in their life. Often that means just being available to listen.

Resources for military spouses

There are a number of resources to support military spouses. See if the spouse in your life is familiar with them.

  • The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program. Frequent moves and other challenges of military life can get in the way of a spouse’s career. SECO supports military spouses with education and career guidance, scholarships and partnerships with employers who have committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses.
  • Non-medical counseling. Free and confidential non-medical counseling is available on the installation through the Military and Family Life Counseling program and through Military OneSource.
  • Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultation. Free and confidential, this specialty consultation from Military OneSource features a number of tracks, including Strengthening the Couple Connection, Staying Connected While Away, Reconnecting After Deployment and MilSpouse Toolkit.
  • Re the We on Military OneSource features links to services, resources and expert guidance to rekindle, repair or reset a relationship.
  • The Blog Brigade features posts from military spouses about a range of topics, including military life, deployment, parenting, relationships, career and education, health and wellness and moving.

While May is Military Spouse Appreciation Month, it’s important to recognize the feats and challenges your military spouse conquers throughout the year. Asking about their experiences can make them feel supported and understood, while opening the conversation can deepen your relationship and show your loved one that you care.

Top 10 Ways to Practice Resilience Skills During Challenging Times

Parents playing with baby

Current as of March 24, 2021


Uncertain times like these can present incredible challenges. Normal life has turned upside down because of coronavirus disease 2019, and although progress has been made, no one knows when things will be settled again. Military families are used to uncertainty and challenges and already have skills needed to remain resilient in challenging times. The current COVID-19 situation can be an opportunity to practice your resilience skills and share them with others.

Keep calm with COVID Coach

This app can help you cope with pandemic-related stress. It’s free, secure and recommended by the Department of Defense.

Need More Parenting Resources During COVID-19?

You may be looking for new ideas for managing children at home during the pandemic. Try this updated list of extensive parenting resources.

 

Change and uncertainty can increase stress and anxiety. A healthy dose of concern can help solve problems, but paying too much attention to things we can’t change can leave us feeling powerless and more stressed. Here are 10 things you can do to practice staying strong and build resilience skills to help yourself, your partner, your children and other loved ones:

  • Recognize the situation and validate your feelings. It is normal to feel stressed and worried right now. There is a saying in psychology that “what we resist, persists,” so the best way to begin to address an issue is to face it. Acknowledge that things are uncertain now and know that is OK. If you are not worried or anxious, that’s fine too. Everyone deals with stress in different ways, and the most important thing is to validate whatever you are feeling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers information on managing stress during the outbreak. If you want to talk to a professional, free, confidential non-medical counseling is available through Military OneSource.
  • Talk to your children. It’s especially important to talk to children now, because even if they aren’t saying anything, they may have questions and concerns they don’t know how to voice. Talk to them in an age-appropriate manner about COVID-19 and make sure to acknowledge their feelings.
  • Follow accurate information about the virus. Make sure you are doing the things you can to stay safe and healthy while staying at home and explain those things to your family. Continue to check the Coronavirus Updates for Our Military Community page for the latest information.
  • Try to view the current social situation as a challenge rather than an insurmountable problem. Yes, times are difficult right now, but things will get better again.
  • Maintain routines as much as possible. Paying attention to things you can control helps to decrease anxiety and increase a sense of personal effectiveness.
  • Limit media exposure. Stay updated on health and safety measures, but try not to tune in 24/7. Constant media viewing can increase stress and anxiety. Choose one or two reliable news sources and schedule regular times to check updates. Make time for positive input as well. Try searching online for good things that have come out of the current social situation. You might be surprised at what you find.
  • Stay connected. Talk to your spouse, your children and extended family. Military spouses usually have a strong, established virtual support network. This could be a time where you help others develop similar connections.
  • Practice positive thinking. When you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts or worrying excessively, stop and count 10 things that make you feel grateful. Starting a gratitude journal can be a powerful daily practice, and is also something that is easy to do with children to get them to practice positive thinking skills. For more ideas, check out these resilience resources from Military OneSource.
  • Help others. Research shows that helping others decreases anxiety and builds resiliency. Search online for things people are doing during COVID-19 to help others. Have your kids draw pictures and text them to grandparents. Bring groceries to an elderly neighbor who can’t get out. Have your teenager organize a video dance party or put together a playlist for family dance time. You can also search online for organizations that are helping deployed service members and veterans, and find some way to get involved.
  • Take care of yourself and seek help if you need it. Make sure you are practicing good self-care, and addressing all five pillars of wellness. Turn off the TV. Listen to music. Get outside and take a walk. Check out these other tips for managing stress. Everyone needs a hand now and then, and the Department of Defense offers a variety of programs and services to keep service members and their families healthy and strong.

This is a challenging time, but you have tools and resources to help you stay strong. Understanding of COVID-19 is rapidly changing. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms. For Department of Defense updates for the military community, visit Defense.gov, follow Military OneSource’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram platforms, and continue to check the Coronavirus Updates for Our Military Community page.

Download the Chill Drills by Military OneSource app:

Keep calmness close by with the Chill Drills app, available for free download and use anytime.

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Blue Star Museums

Paintings hang in a gallery

Museums across America are rolling out the red carpet for active-duty, National Guard and reserve service members and their families between Armed Forces Day and Labor Day. Simply flash your ID and enjoy free access through the Blue Star Museums initiative.

2021 Blue Star Museums

The 2021 Blue Star Museums program begins on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 15, 2021, and ends Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6, 2021.

The program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Defense, the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and participating museums. The Blue Star Museums initiative provides even more ways for you and your family to explore your community, spend time together and share adventures.

Be in the know

Here are some helpful things to know about the Blue Star Museums initiative:

  • You’ll be in good company. More than 2 million military families have enjoyed Blue Star Museums since the program launched in 2010. Join their ranks, if you haven’t already.
  • Your ID card is your ticket to the museums. Just show your common access card, or DD Form 1173 or 1173-1 identification card.
  • Your admission is free, so there’s no need to limit yourself. Explore fine art, history, science, children’s museums, arboretums, historical parks, nature centers and more. Find participating museums near you or along your travel route.
  • Your Information, Tickets and Travel office can add to your fun. As you map out your museum visits this summer, check with the office to find additional attractions in your area.
  • You can enjoy a staycation in your new community. If you’re settling into a new duty station, take a break from unpacking and explore. Blue Star Museum visits will help you get to know the place and its people.

Make it a blockbuster summer. See how many Blue Star Museums you can explore. Be sure to take advantage of the other great opportunities your morale, welfare and recreation program offers.

Building Healthy Relationships

Service member hugging spouse.

Make your most important relationships even stronger. This new specialty consultation from Military OneSource helps you deepen relationships with family, friends and others through an education-based consultation.

Contact Military OneSource 24/7.

You can get personalized help 365 days a year by telephone and online.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options.

Prefer to live chat? Start now.

Building Healthy Relationships offers coaching sessions, practical tools, resources and problem-solving techniques. This consultation is designed to be flexible and personable, and is available to you by phone or video.

Identify your goals and boost your relationships

Everyone can benefit from boosting a relationship or improving communication. Perhaps you’re a parent who wants to create a stronger bond with your child. Or maybe you’re looking for ways to develop your communication skills.

This consultation offers a variety of tracks that are customized to different relationship dynamics. Your consultant will help you identify the track or tracks that are right for you. The personalized coaching sessions, educational tools, resources and empowering skills will help you be at your best. Building Healthy Relationships consultation tracks are designed so that you can do them from the comfort of your home.

  • Strengthening the Couple Connection. This track focuses on providing educational resources, guidance on common issues couples can face being a part of the military culture and tools to support strong relationships. Consultations can include both or one partner.
  • Healthy Parent-Child Connections. This track allows the parent to work with a consultant to identify relationship goals, with parents receiving education and resources to enhance these vital relationships. It is also possible for children to attend sessions with their parent as appropriate.
  • Communication Refreshers. Communication can be one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship. This track offers individuals or couples educational webinars, inventories and services to improve the way they communicate with one another. This is an excellent path for those seeking to enhance communication with a spouse, colleague or family member.
  • Staying Connected While Away. Part of military life can come with deployment and separations due to military duty. With this track, a consultant can assist service members or adult loved ones with identifying goals and resources to assist with emotional coping and keeping connected with that family member during these times.
  • Reconnecting After Deployment. When service members return from deployment, a major shift can occur for the entire family. This track is tailored to the unique period of reintegration by assisting service members and/or family members with identifying goals and providing materials that can ease stress and shape resiliency.
  • Blended Family. Couples may encounter new family dynamics when partners have children from previous relationships. This track focuses on co-parenting as a way to build a solid leadership unit for the military family, accounting for unique experiences and dynamics. This is an excellent path for those couples who are trying to introduce civilian children to military life.
  • MilSpouse Toolkit. From education on military culture to navigating resources, this track is beneficial for new spouses who may feel disconnected from their family and want to identify a support system in their new community. This track focuses resources to assist new and current military spouses with adjustment to the military lifestyle, developing coping skills and resources for resiliency.

If one or more individuals do not speak English, your consultant can facilitate a three-way call for simultaneous language interpretation.

Start building healthy relationships

Since this consultation is available by both phone and video, you can get started anytime. Call 800-342-9647 or start a live chat to schedule an appointment with a Building Healthy Relationships consultant. OCONUS/International? View calling options.

Strengthen Your Coping Skills With Building Healthy Relationships Specialty Consultations

Couple stand in airplane hanger

Current as of April 13, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has upended lives everywhere. Staying home and away from usual support systems can challenge even the strongest relationships.

If your family is feeling the strain, Military OneSource can help. Our Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations offer coaching sessions, practical tools, resources and problem-solving techniques.

Individual tracks are available by phone and video to improve connections with your children, your partner and others during these uncertain times.

Cope With Stress as a Couple

The COVID-19 pandemic can strain even the strongest relationship. Review our guide for ways to cope.

Specialty consultations for all of your important relationships

The Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultations offer a variety of tracks that are customized to different relationships. When you call Military OneSource to arrange a specialty consultation, your consultant will help you identify the track — or tracks — that are right for you.

  • Strengthening the Couple Connection. This track includes personalized coaching sessions, educational resources, guidance and tools to support a stronger partnership during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • Healthy Parent-Child Connections. You will work with a consultant to identify goals for your relationship with your child. Your consultant will also give you education and resources to enhance your bond. If appropriate, your child may attend sessions with you.
  • Communication Refreshers. Good communication is at the heart of healthy relationships. This track focuses on improving the way you communicate with others and is helpful for couples, as well. It offers educational webinars, inventories and services.
  • Staying Connected While Away. If you’re away from your partner or family during the pandemic, this track might be right for you. A consultant can help you identify goals and resources to help you cope emotionally and stay connected with your loved ones.
  • Blended Family. This track focuses on co-parenting when you and your partner have children from previous relationships. It may be especially helpful for those who are learning new family roles at the same time their children are feeling isolated due to school closures and other precautions.
  • MilSpouse Toolkit. If you are a new military spouse away from your family and support system, this track may help. It can help you adjust to the military lifestyle, develop coping skills and identify resources in your new community.
  • Reconnecting After Deployment. A major shift can occur for the entire family when a service member returns from deployment. Coming home amid the changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic may cause additional strain. This track can help you identify goals for this reintegration period. It also includes materials that can ease stress and boost your family’s resilience.

Healthy Relationships resources

Find information and tools to keep your relationship strong.

Call 800-342-9647 or start a live chat to schedule an appointment with a Building Healthy Relationships consultant. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.

Our understanding of COVID-19 is changing rapidly. Stay up to date by checking the Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page for updates.

It is natural for all relationships to feel tested during an emergency or crisis. If your spouse or partner has made you feel unsafe or afraid, help is available through the Family Advocacy Program. Speak to a victim advocate to explore next steps, or call or chat with the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7, at 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.