April: Military Child Appreciation Month

April is the month of the Military Child and there are around 1.2 million children of Active Duty Members in the U.S.

I never knew they had a special month until we had our own son.

I have so many military friends out there who have their own little kiddos and it's time to celebrate them! Some of you reading this right now may even be a military mom yourself or the wife of a military service member. And your kids truly deserve recognition!
I thank God everyday that I got medically discharged from the Air Force because otherwise life would have been even more insane and we probably wouldn't have our little Jackson. I never would have said that three years ago when I was in the middle of getting discharged, during my dream of becoming a pilot, but it was such a blessing in disguise. I applaud all those mil-to-mil spouses out there who make it work! But God's plan for us was different.

Jax has already been through two deployments (and numerous long TDYs) since he was born and he is only 2 years old. The first deployment was much harder on us (than him) because Jax wasn't aware of what was going on yet being that he was only four months old. It was even harder because my husband would be missing his first Father's Day with Jax. Let's clear things up, my husband is different than most---my husband lives for family and would be a stay at home dad if we could afford that---his core belief is FAMILY and he is an amazing dad with infinite love for Jax. Because of this we were both upset that he would be separated from Jax at such a young age. My husband felt like he was going to miss so much and that Jax wouldn't remember him when he got back. We were lucky enough to be able to plan a visit to see him half way through his deployment and this made the deployment easier for all of us and gave us a lot to look forward to. We flew out to Okinawa, Japan for about a week...my sister-in-law (Katie) and I flew on a plane for 13 hours (and then another for 3-4) with a four month old just so he could see his Daddy. Some would say we were crazy. 😂 But it was worth it and was such a fun experience (even if he'll never remember it), and if Jax was older I would do it again in a heartbeat. We were able to celebrate a belated Father's Day and experience so many new things together as a family. 
Special shoutout and huge thank you to Katie, Dziadz and Busia for making this possible-without you guys it never would have been possible!

If you ever have a chance to do this with your military children and it doesn't create too much stress or anxiety I would definitely try to. A lot of children from civilian families aren't able to experience other cultures and see other parts of the world but that is one of the huge positives to being in a military family! It creates a set of unique adaptive skills that they will use for their entire life. But the same thing that creates a sense of adventure and adaptation can also create a lot of issues for your military child.

The constant moving is not always easy on them. It breaks their normal routine and creates so much change and moving pieces in their lives. The "military brat" oftentimes can develop psychological issues, have issues at school and act out more often. This is why communication is key for a military family. Make sure you get them the help they need or seek counseling if you can't talk them through it. The next time you are stressed about your upcoming move or the next deployment make sure you check on your children's emotions as well, they are going through just as much (if not more) and may not know how to handle it or express it.

Even though military life can cause more stress on children, take advantage of all the advantages it can bring. You'll travel across the states, and possibly countries, and that helps create a certain type of resilience and adventure in a person. Acknowledge that resilience and love them for it. Thank them for being the way they are and making the sacrifices they make. Take advantage of all the special discounts that are available to military children as well. Here you will find places that have those discounts and special deals! Treat your children for all they go through and take them somewhere special.

But mostly, just love your children every moment that you can. Take advantage of the times you have together as a family and the little day to day moments that you share. Create a positive environment for them as much as possible. Communicate with teachers what your children are going through and if a spouse is on a deployment. Create a deployment wall to help them visually see what is going on. Get books that help them emotionally understand what is going on. Talk, talk, talk.

Take care of them. They are tough 💪 but deployments are tougher. Check out my page on How to take care of the kids during a deployment for more helpful information. These kids deserve all the recognition they can get because their strength and resilience is incredible.

Comment below ↓ on how you give your kids recognition.

Thank a military child this month! 💜

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