I’ve had the privilege of speaking with so many wonderful parents around the country and have learned so much about the joys and challenges of raising children today. A group of parents that really stands out to me is military moms and dads.
My outstanding takeaway is they know how to support each other.
Since it’s Military Family Month, I thought I’d share some simple ways for non-military families to support these amazing people.
A Sincere Thank You
Saying a simple thank you to military families is lovely. Especially if you see them in an airport, on line in a store or at an event. In other words, when the only choice is a brief interaction.
Beyond a Simple Thank You
But here’s 4 basic things everyone can do when a military family gets relocated to your neighborhood. The last one is straight from the source (a.k.a. a military spouse and mom).
Welcome the new family.
One Coast Guard spouse recently described what made a big difference when being newly stationed in New York: welcome bags with information about the area delivered by a (non-military) fellow soccer mom. This warm person learned from the soccer coach that two new players were joining the team and they were part of a military family. She took them under her wing and made sure the new family felt part of the community.
Introduce your children to theirs so there is a friendly face in school or on the bus. (The “new kid” is often more vulnerable to bullying behavior.)
Offer your cell number in case there are questions. In many cases, they’re not near family and old friends. If a spouse gets deployed, offer to babysit every once in a while. It’s a stressful situation and as any single parent knows, a bit of time to decompress is critical.
I think for younger kids if they have a friend who is a Mil kid and they are not, then parents could take the time and talk to their kids about what that parent does and how they sometimes have to go away for long periods of time in order to do their job. I think when kids have an understanding of situations and are able to ask questions and work it out in their minds they respond better.We often do this with our boys. If there is a child that is different or the home life is different then we talk about what they can do to help or how to support them or even what and why they are different. — Katie, mom of 2 boys and Marine Corps spouse
Of course, there are many ways we can step up our efforts to show our appreciation in practical ways. Whether you’re military or non-military, I’d love to hear your suggestions.
And here’s to you military families. We salute you.