April is Month of the Military Child (MOMC), a time where the support and sacrifice made by children in military families is honored and celebrated.  

Military Children Serve

We often forget just how much a person’s service impacts all their loved ones. Everyone from their parents to spouses, children and even friends can be greatly impacted. MOMC highlights children’s service in particular, showing some of the very real ways service can change their lives. Here are some facts about what military kids experience: 

  • Since 2001, nearly 2 million American children have had a deployed parent at least one time. 900,000 children have experienced the deployment of both parents multiple times.  

  • On average, Military kids will move 9 times by the time they finish high school. This is one of the hallmarks of military children that most people are aware of. Moving constantly can make it difficult to develop long term friendships especially in earlier years. This is a major sacrifice made by military children whether they are aware of it or not.

  • 37% of military children who have a deployed caretaker say they worry constantly about what could happen to that person. Much like older family members and friends of deployed service members, children are concerned for the safety of their deployed family members. They experience a lot of the same mental and emotional stress as adult family members.

  • Military children experience high rates of mental health, trauma and related problems. A study showed that nearly 1 in 4 military children have reported contemplating suicide at least once.

  • Bereavement experts report that for each active duty military loss, an average of 10 people are significantly impacted. Children make up a large portion of the 68,360 family members. 

History of Month of the Military Child 

This special celebration of military children was established in 1986 by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger was a WWII Veteran and father of two who realized the unique sacrifices and challenges military children faced as a result of their parent or parents’ military service. 

Military children deal with extended separations, deployments, frequent moves, and even the injuries their parents may sustain as a result of combat. This month is created to bring awareness to the needs of military children in all areas.  

Ways to Celebrate Month of the Military Child 

Military bases worldwide offer events in honor of military children. From festivals and carnivals to special performances, giveaways and other gifts, this time is used to create fun and engaging activities for military families that everyone, especially children, will enjoy. 

  • Create a fun project with your military child(ren) showing all of the places they have lived. Moving frequently can be hard for some kids, highlighting all of the fun experiences they’ve had in each new place can help reframe the moves as new adventures.
  • Acknowledge all of the contributions they make to the family unit. Showing appreciation for the special and important role they play can help boost confidence.
  • Have a special day to celebrate MOMC in your household. April 15th is Purple Up! Day when people are encouraged to wear purple in recognition of military children, but you can create your own special ways to honor your military child in your home. A dinner or a special meal, a small party or even a game night where you give your child undivided attention and allow them to choose activities are great ways to honor them.
  • Connect with other military families to help your child create their own community of other children who understand their experiences.
At Heroes on the Water, we have always included families in our program. We know how important it is to develop a holistic community that provides wellness and healing for everyone. Join us at an upcoming event, or help us by volunteering! 

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