More Parenting Resources for Managing at Home During COVID-19

A woman sits with her children on a sofa.

Current as of July 12, 2021


The coronavirus pandemic continues to be a challenge. Many parents are still working from home, children are on modified school schedules, and the continued disruptions and vigilance can be exhausting.

Military OneSource is committed to helping you find the resources you need to stay the course. Take advantage of the expanded hourly child care service. Add some new activities to your toolkit. Try some apps for self-care. And reach out for support if you need it. Military OneSource consultants are available 24/7/365 to help you and your family find the resources you need to meet the current challenges

Expanded hourly child care service

To support the growing needs of military families, the Department of Defense has expanded child care options. Through Military OneSource, military families now have free access to a national database of more than a million caregivers so they can find hourly, flexible and on-demand child care. The nationally recognized subscription service lets you:

  • Search for potential caregivers based on your own needs and criteria
  • Check references, review background checks and conduct interviews
  • Choose, hire and pay providers on your terms

The service is easy to access and available online for your convenience. For more information, and to register, visit the Military OneSource Expanded Hourly Child Care Options web page.

CDC resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide updated advice on a variety of current parenting topics including:

  • Daily Activities and Going Out – includes advice for dining out at restaurants, playing sports, hosting and attending gatherings, and more
  • Travel – offers information on air, train, bus and car travel, links to daily state case numbers and recommendations for destinations around the world
  • COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit – provides specific tips for promoting social, emotional and mental health of children in age groups 0-5, 6-12, 13-17 and 18-24 years

Activities resources

For preschool age children:

For youth and teens:

Resilience resources

Military families know that life challenges can inspire us to be our best selves. This time at home lets us practice stress-management skills and try new tools. The following resources can help build resilience:

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. 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 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram platforms, and continue to check the Coronavirus Updates for Our Military Community page for updates.

How to Keep Family Stress Away While Everyone Is Home

Family of three doing crafts together

Current as of June 16, 2021


You’ve got experience adapting to unexpected changes in your military life. And that “roll-with-it” attitude will guide you as you help your family learn ways to reduce stress and build resiliency while spending more time together during the 2019 coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Localities may have lifted some restrictions, but quarantines could be reinstated to stop the spread of the virus and its variants. Here are some ways to deal with the pressures of sheltering in place and adjusting to changing health guidelines.

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.

Stay calm

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 can increase the stress on your family. Focus on what you can control by employing some of the following strategies:

  • Lead by example. Your children are watching how you handle the quarantine, and they will pick up on your stress. Do your best to model healthy ways to handle stress by using coping skills when you feel tension building up.
  • Limit exposure to news sources. Reduce your anxiety by setting daily limits on the time you spend watching or reading the news. Start with 10 minutes a day and adjust depending on what works for you. Follow these stress relief tips throughout the day and share them with your family.
  • Keep your children informed. Ask your children what they know about the coronavirus and what they are concerned about. Talk with your children about COVID-19 and provide age-appropriate, reliable information. Help clear up any misunderstandings they may have and stay focused on the positive.
  • Engage in relaxation techniques. Find a quiet place at home, get comfortable and try this Chill Drill designed for service members and families.
  • Stick to a schedule. Structure can bring you a sense of calm and certainty during this uncertain time. If you are working from home, here are some Tips for Teleworking During the Outbreak of COVID-19.

Stay connected

Family, friends and your military community can provide support and strength at times like this. Consider these ideas to stay connected while keeping your distance.

  • Remain in touch with family and friends. Schedule time to connect with family and friends through virtual coffee dates, dinner parties or casual catch-up sessions using video chat apps or phone calls. Bring back the art of handwritten letters and include your children, perhaps showing off their artwork. You’ll brighten peoples’ day with mail from your family.
  • Flex your muscles together. Exercise is a huge stress reducer. Engage the family in a game of tag or by taking turns creating balance challenges and scoring it like a game of H-O-R-S-E. Create an obstacle course in the house or yard and time each other as you run, walk, crab walk, walk backward or skip through the course. Be creative. Go on a “Simon Says” walk around the house or yard and take turns being the leader.
  • Use your military community resources. If finances are causing you stress, review your options on Military OneSource. There are different relief organizations that may be able to address your specific situation.
  • Read together. Couch cuddles while reading to your children can build great memories. You can also use reading as quiet time – something you all do from separate rooms to give everyone space to relax. Use your MWR Digital Library for video books that read to children or e-books for older youth and adults.
  • Make dinner a group effort. Connect with your children by having them help with planning and cooking dinner as well as setting and clearing the table and washing and drying the dishes. Doing these activities together teaches them life skills and, more importantly, creates a space for them to talk about whatever is on their minds. They may talk more when doing tasks beside you than talking face-to-face.

Military families tend to be resilient. Keep reaching toward your family and military community for support and know that Military OneSource is always here to serve and support you.

Stay current

Stay up to date on the latest information regarding COVID-19. Select legitimate news sources that provide facts and not escalating drama. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

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.

Staying Financially Fit With Financial Assistance, Counseling and Resources

Hands taking notes holding phone

Current as of March 9, 2021


Your military member is trained to stay focused on the mission at hand. But personal and family concerns can make that hard to do. And financial hardship is one common stressor that is on the rise.

If your service member has seen a drop in family income due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, is struggling with managing a paycheck for the first time, or is facing money troubles for other reasons, help is available. This includes service members and their immediate family having access to free resources such as financial counseling and emergency financial assistance.

Emergency relief for service members

When money is already tight, a job loss, costly car repair or other unexpected expense can increase debt quickly. But service members who are struggling to pay the rent or utilities may qualify for short-term help.

Each branch of the service has an emergency relief organization. Depending on the circumstances, these organizations provide interest-free loans, grants or a combination of both:

COVID-19 relief, zero-interest loans for National Guard

National Guard service members and their families are eligible to apply for an interest-free loan in the range of $500 to $2,000 with proof of a COVID-19 hardship.

Apply for the loan through the Enlisted Association National Guard of the United States We Care for America Foundation. Complete the verification form on the website and have your unit commander, a state senior enlisted leader, battalion command sergeant major, command chief master sergeant, first sergeant or a family programs representative sign the form. You must provide proof of a COVID-19-related financial emergency as well as your current or former status as a member of the National Guard.

The USAA Foundation and the American Red Cross are partners with EANGUS in this financial-relief effort. The ARC plans to process all applications within five to eight days of receipt. Once approved, the ARC will distribute the funds as quickly as possible.

Financial counseling can help now and for the future

Free financial counseling is available virtually through Military OneSource, and in person through installation programs. Financial counselors are experts in money management and are familiar with the issues that service members face. They can help your service member:

  • Come up with a plan to pay back debt
  • Take steps to resolve credit problems through referrals to appropriate military and civilian resources
  • Create a budget and control spending
  • Save for short- and long-term goals such as buying a car or home, or saving for college

Learn more about free financial management counseling options through Military OneSource.

Your service member can schedule one-on-one financial counseling through:

Free financial education builds knowledge

Military OneSource and installations offer free financial management classes, seminars, online tools and more. Your service member can check the installation’s Financial Readiness Management Programs to see what’s available. There are virtual options, too, including:

  • Money Matter courses. These 45-minute courses were developed by financial experts who understand military life. Topics cover car-buying strategies, consumer credit, developing a spending plan, investing in your future and moving in the military.
  • Consumer, business and financial publications are free for your service member through the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library. Publications include Consumer Reports, Business Plan Builder, Entrepreneurship, Morningstar Investment Research Center and Weiss Financial Ratings.

Financial protections for service members

Your service member makes many sacrifices to serve our country. Financial hardships due to the demands of active duty or unethical lenders should not be among them. That’s why the federal government has added a layer of financial protection specifically for military members.

  • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides service members with financial and legal protections for financial hardships brought on by the demands of active duty. These range from interest rate reductions to eviction protection.
  • The Military Lending Act protects service members and their families from predatory lenders who charge high interest rates and fees.

Help your service member stay mission ready and financially fit with the help of these free resources. Your service member can find more financial tools, information and resources, including military pay charts and calculators, on Military OneSource’s Personal Finances in the Military page.

Your service member doesn’t have to face financial hardship alone. Free information, resources and counseling are available.

Thrive Helps Military Parents and Children

A service member greets his young daughter

The Department of Defense is committed to the health and well-being of military children and families. That’s why DOD teamed with the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State to create a parenting-education program.

Thrive is a free online program for busy parents like you. It promotes positive parenting, stress management and healthy lifestyle practices. Find out how Thrive can help you raise healthy, resilient children from birth to 18.

How does Thrive work?

Thrive has four interactive modules organized by age group:

  • Take Root: for children ages 0-3
  • Sprout: for children ages 3-5
  • Grow: for children ages 5-10
  • Branch Out: for children ages 10-18 (Coming in 2021)

Each module has tips for your child’s age group. Build on strengths you have and develop new skills as your child grows and changes. Suggestions include how to:

  • Find a parenting style that works for your family.
  • Help your child make good decisions, master new skills and more.
  • Support your child with positive discipline techniques.
  • Model an active lifestyle.
  • Manage stress.
  • Be a positive role model.
  • Communicate with your partner or support circle.
  • Plan and prepare healthy meals.
  • Manage screen time.

Check out these helpful parent-resource infographics for a sample of the program.

How is Thrive different from other parenting programs?

Thrive grows with your child. The four age-group tracks are free, available in online formats and immediately accessible.

Other benefits of Thrive include:

  • It provides program choices that fit your family.
  • It promotes social-emotional, cognitive and physical health.
  • It is flexible. Pause your session at any time.
  • It is interactive and fun.
  • It is available to the public and shareable with family members and caregivers.

Whether you are expecting your first baby or raising teens, let Thrive support you along the way. Learn more and enroll in the program today. Find information about other parenting resources.

Getting Help for Combat Stress

Guardsmen with dog

Learning to recognize the signs of combat stress in yourself, another service member or a family member who has returned from a war zone can help you call on the right resources to begin the healing process.

Combat stress and stress injuries

Combat stress is the natural response of the body and brain to the stressors of combat, traumatic experiences and the wear and tear of extended and demanding operations. Although there are many causes and signs of combat stress, certain key symptoms are common in most cases:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Uncharacteristic irritability or angry outbursts
  • Unusual anxiety or panic attacks
  • Signs of depression such as apathy, changes in appetite, loss of interest in hobbies or activities, or poor hygiene
  • Physical symptoms such as fatigue, aches and pains, nausea, diarrhea or constipation
  • Other changes in behavior, personality or thinking

Combat stress sometimes leads to stress injuries, which can cause physical changes to the brain that alter the way it processes information and handles stress. You should be aware of the following when dealing with a stress injury:

  • Stress injuries can change the way a person functions mentally, emotionally, behaviorally and physically.
  • The likelihood of having a combat stress injury rises as combat exposure increases.
  • The earlier you identify the signs of a stress injury, the faster a full recovery can occur.
  • If left untreated, a stress injury may develop into more chronic and hard-to-treat problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • There is no guaranteed way to prevent or protect yourself from a stress injury, but there are things you can do to help yourself and others recover.

Stress reactions

Different people handle stress — and combat stress — differently, and it’s not clear why one person may have a more severe reaction than another. Here’s what you need to know about stress reactions:

  • Stress reactions can last from a few days to a few weeks to as long as a year.
  • Delayed stress reactions can surface long after a traumatic incident or extended exposure to difficult conditions has occurred.
  • An inability to adapt to everyday life after returning from deployment can be a reaction to combat stress.

How to get help

If you or someone you know is suffering from a combat stress injury, it is important to get professional help as soon as possible. Reach out to one of the following resources if you have symptoms of combat stress or stress injury, or if you are experiencing severe stress reactions:

  • Combat Stress Control Teams provide on-site support during deployment.
  • Your unit chaplain may offer counseling and guidance on many issues that affect deployed or returning service members and their families.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs has readjustment counseling for combat veterans and their families, including those still on active duty, at community-based Vet Centers.
  • TRICARE provides medical counseling services either at a military treatment facility or through a network provider in your area. Contact your primary care manager or your regional TRICARE office for a referral.
  • The Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence provides free resources on traumatic brain injury to help service members, veterans, family members and health care providers. Resources include educational materials, fact sheets, clinical recommendations and much more.
  • Veterans Crisis Line offers confidential support 24/7/365 and is staffed by qualified responders from the Department of Veterans Affairs — some of whom have served in the military themselves. Call 800-273-8255, then press 1, or access online chat by texting to 838255.
  • Non-military support channels such as community-based or religious programs can offer guidance and help in your recovery.

If you are suffering from combat stress, you are not alone. Reach out to get the help and treatment you need to be able to live your life fully.

Health and Wellness Coaching Consultation

Covid-19 Health and Wellness


Current as of November 16, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has led to gym closures and disrupted other ways people stay fit and manage stress. At the same time, boredom at home can lead to unhealthy snacking. Good nutrition and fitness are key to withstanding the stress of uncertain times.

If you need a hand getting back on track, free Military OneSource health and wellness coaching can help. Coaches can also help you tackle stress and deal with life transitions.

Health and wellness coaching

Your Military OneSource health and wellness coach will work with you by phone, video or online chat to help with:

  • Weight management
  • Fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Health condition management
  • Stress management
  • Life transitions, including deployment, moving, becoming a new parent or retirement

How health and wellness coaching works

Health and wellness coaches provide information, support, encouragement and accountability. Your coach will not tell you what to do and how to do it, but will help you make a plan, focus on results and reach goals. Your coach will:

  • Help you identify your beliefs, values, vision and goals
  • Create an action plan to achieve your goals
  • Prepare you for any roadblocks or barriers to reaching your goals
  • Keep you focused and on course
  • Celebrate your achievements

Get started with health and wellness coaching

Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to sign up for health and wellness coaching sessions. This service is free for service members and their immediate family.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Health and Wellness Coaching for Teens

Covid-19-health wellness for teens

Current as of Nov. 16, 2020

Physical activity and time with friends are essential to the health and well-being of teenagers. But the coronavirus pandemic has isolated teens and sidelined them from team sports and many other activities.

If your teen is struggling with healthy eating, physical fitness or stress, a Military OneSource health and wellness coach can help. This free service is available to those 13 and up by phone and video.

How health and wellness coaching can help

Health and wellness coaches provide information, support, encouragement and accountability for:

  • Weight management
  • Fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Health condition management
  • Stress management
  • Life transitions

How health and wellness coaching works

The health and wellness coach will guide your teenager rather than say what to do or how to do it.

The coach will:

  • Help your teenager identify goals
  • Work with your teen to create an action plan toward meeting those goals
  • Help your teen track progress toward those goals
  • Hold your teen accountable and provide support each step of the way

A parent must attend the first session with the teenager. That session will include the assessment and initial goal-setting.

Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to sign your teenager up for health and wellness coaching sessions.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19, view the following sites:

Military and Family Life Counseling Program: What’s New, What’s Stayed the Same

Husband and wife looking at each other back to back

Current as of May 4, 2020


The Military and Family Life Counseling Program can help you stay strong through life’s challenges, including those due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. We will offer telephonic and video sessions in areas where face-to-face support is restricted.

What is the Military and Family Life Counseling Program?

Military families face unique challenges, such as deployments and moving. The Military and Family Life Counseling Program offers free, short-term, non-medical counseling to service members, Department of Defense expeditionary civilians, their families and survivors.

Non-medical counselors are available through one-on-one, couple or group sessions to help with:

  • Managing stress and changes at home due to COVID-19
  • Adjusting to deployment
  • Preparing to move or adjusting after a move
  • Strengthening relationships
  • Managing problems at work
  • Grieving the death of a loved one or colleague

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.

What’s new?

The Military and Family Life Counseling Program now offers telephonic and video non-medical counseling. This is available in areas where face-to-face support may be restricted due to COVID-19. Contact Military OneSource for contact information and a warm hand-off to your closest military and family life counselor for telephonic or video non-medical counseling.

What’s the same?

The Military and Family Life Counseling Program is here to support you with free non-medical counseling by licensed master’s- or doctorate-level counselors. Sessions are confidential with the exception of child abuse or neglect, domestic abuse, harm to self or others, and illegal activity.

Counselors who specialize in child and youth behavioral issues are available to support children and teens with non-medical counseling.

Military OneSource also offers non-medical counseling by phone, live chat, video, or face-to-face where permitted. Children and teenagers may meet with a Military OneSource non-medical counselor by phone or video, as well as face-to-face where permitted.

How to get help

Contact your installation’s Military and Family Support Center to set up non-medical counseling through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program.

You can reach a child and youth behavioral military and family life counselor through:

  • A child development center
  • Your installation’s youth and teen center
  • Your child’s public school on or off the installation
  • A youth summer camp sponsored by your military service
  • Your commander or unit training point of contact

To connect with your closest military and family life counselor, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 for contact information and a warm hand-off. View calling options if you are outside the continental United States.

For Department of Defense updates for the military community regarding the virus that causes COVID-19: