By Tara Smith
& Guest Blogger
April is unique as we take time to thank the courageous sacrifices that military children who endure while their parent(s) serve(s) in the military. This year’s celebration theme is “Taking Care of Our Military Children,” referring to their mental health and well-being, feelings of support, and recognition for all that they go through as part of a military family. Sometimes we can get caught up in the busyness of life and easily fall into routines, unconsciously overlooking the needs of those around us.
Here are 3 ways to stay present with your child and tell them they matter.
Sometimes we get so focused on our daily routines and the needs of our servicemembers that we forget to check in with how our kids are feeling and thinking. Don’t forget to take time to focus on them, whether it’s wearing the color Purple in celebration of the month, taking time to do what your kids want to do, or simply asking what’s on their minds.
This month, think about what positive attention you can give your kids to show that their presence matters.
Providing affection to our children is a way to connect and make them feel secure, even for a moment. It recognizes that their needs are essential and being met, even if it’s only for a quick minute. How does your child express love? Is it a fist bump, an arm around the shoulder, a hug, or a kiss? Giving affection means “I love you, I support you, and I care for you.”
This month, think about what types of affection your kids ask for and how you can provide it to them.
Affirmation means your child’s needs are never too small to go unnoticed. Celebrating your child in the big events and even in the small moments is critical. Your words are important and can impact your child’s sense of self-worth. Consider which positive words or sayings you tell your child, and make sure to say them so they know you care.
This month, think about how you can incorporate positive affirmations into your daily conversations.
There is a multitude of programs and support systems that are available to help military children, youths, and parents thrive. Check out your local base MWR for events to celebrate your military child. Here are a few to check out:
- Sesame Workshop Rolls Out Self-Care Content for Military Families
- Summer Camps for Military Children, Youth, and Teenagers
- USO (Find a local USO to see local events)
Tara is an active-duty Marine Corps spouse of 10 years. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides therapy to children and their families. Tara is a SpouseLink Ambassador, an expecting mother, and has one horse and two dogs. In her spare time, you will find her working out, walking her dogs, and spending time with her horse.