The Month of April is the Month of the Military Child and I’m celebrating all month long with posts every Monday. These posts will feature stories about military kids, tips, and encouragement for those living the military life. I’m kicking off the first Military Monday post with 4 Ways to Thrive with Military Kids.
Military life is hard enough on adults; constant change, loved ones away. Add children in to the equation, with their own set of emotions and struggles, and it can become nearly impossible. Here are my top four tips to not just survive, but thrive in the midst of military life with military kids.
1. A Consistent Bedtime
This may seem silly but I have found it imperative to keep a consistent bedtime for my girls, especially during the times when my husband has been deployed, working late hours or traveling for work. (Which happens to be a majority of our married life.) As they get older it becomes harder to do, with evening activities, practices, and homework but I try my best to stick to the same bedtime every night and an early bedtime at that. Don’t get me wrong, my kids aren’t climbing into bed at 6pm. But they are in bed at a decent hour that allows them to get the rest they need and gives me a few hours (or minutes depending how tired I am) to relax, catch up on laundry, answer emails or watch my favorite show.
2. A Support Group/Network
Whether a circle of good friends, a church community, or wives group, a support group is crucial to thriving military life. And this is especially true if you have kiddos. You need another mama (or two) who gets what you’re going through and other kids who understand what your kids are going through. This lifestyle can feel isolating at times and having a set of friends to have play dates with, go on outings and spend lonely Sunday afternoons with will help you feel like you are not alone.
3. A Dependable Babysitter
I seriously don’t know what I would do without dependable babysitters. Never get a break, I guess. I use them for school meetings, appointments, or a much needed date night out. My girls love it when a sitter comes over and I do too. It is good for all of us. There are all kinds of great sites that make finding a caregiver easy and safe. If you’re not comfortable with online sites, ask neighbors or friends for recommendations. My favorite place to get sitter recommendations is from the church we attend.
No matter how you find them, just be sure to meet with them beforehand to make sure they are the right fit for your family. That way when an event comes up or a weekend when your spouse is home, you won’t have to hunt to get a sitter last minute.
4. Quality Time Together
I have found it important for my own family to find meaningful activities to do together. In this military life, we don’t always get a lot of time together so we try to make the time we do get, matter. Quality over quantity, if you will. Now that doesn’t mean we jam-pack our time together but we do try to be intentional about making our own traditions and how we spend our time. This way we don’t feel as though we have wasted or mismanaged any of the time we had when my husband has to leave again.
Military life can be hard at times. But we don’t just have to survive. By maintaining a consistent bedtime, surrounding your family with a support group, enlisting a dependable babysitter, and creating meaningful time together your family can thrive in military life, especially with kids!