Married to the military? As the nation thinks about its independence this 4th of July, momlogic gives thought to the service members who protect our country, and the wives and mothers who support them by holding down the home front.
Kimberly Seals Allers: With frequent relocation and limited school options, raising well-adjusted, confident kids takes real parenting moxie. Here are some time-tested and military-mom-approved tips for raising kids in the military lifestyle.
Raising a Military Brat?
1) Manage Moving
Moving is part and parcel of the military life. But the kids aren't going to like it if they always hear you complaining about what a h*llhole the new base city is. Be positive. You need to sell it! Use the Internet to find places of interest, their favorite sports activities, or dance programs in the area. Then make the actual move an adventure. Plan some fun activities for the transitional period between leaving the old house and moving into the new one. And see if there are any kid-friendly fun spots along the way if you're driving to your new home.
3) Make School Transitions Easier
For some military kids, it seems that just when they have gotten used to a school, it is time to move again. To help ease the transition, one military spouse contacted the new teacher and set up a pen pal system. The students sent letters and pictures with brief introductions, and her child did the same. By the time they arrived at their new station, her son was looking forward to his new class. If possible, choose a school where there will be other military children. Also, be sure to check out the school's website for any extracurricular activities, and ask the coach or teacher for a peer buddy. Check out Military Students on the Move: A Toolkit for Military Parents (scroll halfway down the page to find the free pdf publication).
4) Develop Single Parent Survival Skills
Let's face it, military spouses are technically single parents most of the time. To keep your sanity and your home running smoothly, get the kids involved in all aspects of the house. Limit the number of activities each child participates in. Ask for help from family and friends. Post chore lists and schedules to make things easier.
5) Keep Kids Close to Extended Family
Cousins, grandparents, and other extended family members are great connectors for your kids. Keep in telephone, e-mail, or webcam communication with family members and visit as often as possible. Including family members on vacations, exchanging photos, e-mails, and letters, and celebrating important life events together are more great ways to stay in touch and create stability for military kids.
For more military-mom-approved tips for raising confident kids in the military lifestyle, check out my new book, written with Pamela McBride: "The Mocha Manual to Military Life: A Savvy Guide for Wives, Girlfriends, and Female Service Members."
|Kimberly Seals Allers is an award-winning business journalist and founder and editor-in-chief of MochaManual.com, a weekly online magazine for moms of color. She is the author of "The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy" and "The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profit." Kimberly is a divorcing mother of two and lives on Long Island, NY.|