Blast “Purple Rain,” grab yourself a blackberry smoothie and slide on some sweet plum-colored shades. It’s the Month of the Military Child and it’s time for you to Purple Up to show your support!
“Okay, cool. But I’ve got a few of my own military kids underfoot at home,” you might be thinking. “I support them on the daily in the form of food, clothes and generally keeping the kids alive. We do homework and have lots of fun. I support their education.”
See, Month of the Military Child is a smidge different than the normal type of parental supporting. Not that the everyday stuff isn’t awesome. Totally keep feeding, clothing and educating your kids!
April offers the chance to really shine a light on our incredible, amazing, resilient and brave military children. And that means it’s 100% time to Purple Up!
Purple Up to Support MilKids This April
There are tons of great ways to show your support for the military child community. So grab your purple everything and dive in!
Honor Your Little Hero at School
Greet the military kids in your community with a hero’s welcome! Create a tunnel of cheering supporters leading up to the entrance to the school.
Contact your child’s school leaders, the local School Liaison Officer (SLO) and other military parents. Organize a group of volunteers to help share their thanks and greet the kids.
You might even go the extra mile and hand out goodies or other fun surprises. You might create purple shirts, stickers or ribbons. Other ideas might be a (healthy-ish) purple snack like fruit leathers, smoothies or grapes.
Talk to Other Parents
Folks outside the military community don’t “get” what our kids deal with because they honestly just don’t know. And that’s okay. It’s not their lifestyle.
Use April as an excuse to educate the other parents in your community. Ask the PTA if you could speak at this month’s meeting.
Share some of your family’s personal struggles as well of some statistics. Use the Blue Star Families Survey to help you create connections. Explain how deployments, PCSing and other unique aspects of military life impact your kids. Then, explain how civilian families can help support your child and other military children.
Volunteer at School
Ask your child’s teachers if you might be able to come in and read a book to the class or share a little bit about your family’s military adventures. You could involve your child, letting them share their story or showing pictures of your previous duty stations.
Another idea would be to help the school librarian create a display of military kid-friendly books. Set out a few of your favorites around the library.
If your child’s school doesn’t have books about military kids, you could offer to loan or donate some. This might be a great project to involve other military families, too.
Advocate for Military Kids
Military kids deal with a lot of complications in their lives. From K-12 schools to medical issues to military housing, there are a lot of issues to focus on for military children.
Which issue or issues strike a chord with you?
Whatever you feel strongly about, start advocating! There are lots of great non-profits and advocates working on these issues already. Just Google “military child + issue of your choice + group or advocacy.” There should be several great places that turn up.
For school-related issues, the Military Child Education Coalition is a great place to start. They are on the front lines of helping military kids navigate K-12 education. They have also spearheaded the MIC3 adoption across all 50 states as well as educating as many people as possible about their rights.
Military housing issues are being tackled right now at the highest levels of government. There have been hearings in Congress. It looks like our political leaders are poised to hold privatized housing companies accountable for causing illness and injury. You can add your voice to the cause, demanding action and changes.
No matter what your passion or concern, there is sure to be at least one other person traveling the same path. Reach out, connect, send letters and make phone calls.
All it takes is just one voice to start affecting change!
Make April Special on the Home Front
Sure, you take time every day to show your own military kids just how much you care. But spend a bit more effort this month to make it really special.
Consider planning a cool outing, having a kid-picked special meal or finding another way to celebrate your military child.
Find events to attend as a family on your local military base. Your FRG, base library or local USO should have at least one celebration this month.
How do you plan on celebrating your military child this April?
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