“Mommy, where is my daddy?” April is Military Child Month.

April 17, 2009 · Filed Under Military Parents, Military Resource, This & That 

militarychildmonth-Apr My grandson will turn three in June, he frequently is asking now: “Where’s Daddy?” “When is Daddy going to take me swimming?” “I miss Daddy”. “Mommy, why isn’t Daddy here?”

When my daughter-in-law told me this, it broke my heart. She tries very hard not to cry in front of the baby because she knows he’s too little to understand how much mommies miss daddies too. She is also worried how they should handle yet another good-bye when my son has to return back to Iraq after R&R.

What is the right thing to do? Take him to the airport so he can give his Daddy one more hug? Leave him at home with Grandmom and Grandpop taking away one more precious Daddy and son moment?

One of the most moving photographs I have of them was taken the morning my son left to Iraq (last deployment) back in 2006. My daughter-in-law, holding the baby (then only 3 months old) sleeping peacefully, my son crisp in a brand new ACU, hair freshly cut, paratrooper fade, scarlet airborne beret in one hand and his other hand gently touching the baby’s head with a look on his face that still brings tears to my eyes today.

How do you explain the complexities of the world to a young child? Base after base, in every branch of the armed services, this same picture appears in the photo albums of all military families. It doesn’t matter the child’s age; every phase of childhood development presents a challenge to the military family.

sesame street kids

Military children face many challenges, additionally increased stress related to deployments, less time spent with a parent or sometimes both and frequent moves.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the Sesame Street Program on military families. Below, you will find an annotated list of resources, each was examined and annotated (author’s notes and additions].

I would like to thank my fellow blogger “militaryhealth” (DoD, Military Health System Website) for the website I based this list on and dug in deeper for even more sources. These resources will give you tools and valuable information on what you can do to help your child overcome the unique challenges associated with military life. This post will be abbreviated(otherwise it would be way too long for the blog) and graphics reduced in size. You may view the complete/list plus my additions on my page in examiner.com (I am the Military Health Examiner, Miami) or on my blog (“military health matters, the blog”) or the “Families and Children” Page on Military Health Matters Resource Center.) Some of the descriptions have been taken from the US Department of Defense, Military Health System, “Kids Corner” Web page, some I have added/annotated, others I have abbreviated for the purpose of this post].

For Kids:kids.gov

Kids.gov – An official U.S. government kids’ portal that provides resources to children and parents, and contains a variety of interesting and educational content for kids. Kids.gov links to over 1,200 web pages from government agencies, schools, and educational organizations.

America Supports You – Kids Take Action – Find out how kids like you are supporting our American troops.

CIA’s Parents & Teachers Page – This section gives you additional resources, lesson plans, and discussion points for you and your children/students to learn more about the CIA and its history of intelligence. [There are other CIA pages for Grades: K-5th and Grades 6th – 12th).]

FBI Working Dogs – The FBI has some very special working dogs. Power is the newest addition to the group of Working Dogs at FBI Headquarters. His job as a Chemical Explosives Dog is to sniff out bombs, explosion debris, firearms, and ammunition. Other FBI Working Dogs find drugs, money, and people. Just how do they do it? There are additional pages, Grades K-5 and Grades 6-12.

Special Needs – Military Homefront – Resources for special needs children from military families — newsletter subscription, mentoring groups, Webinars, resources, checklists, advocates, support programs and more.

Veterans History Project – (Library of Congress) – The Veterans History Project relies on volunteers to collect and preserve stories of wartime service. You can browse the first-hand accounts from veterans of some of the wars America fought in. (Also has Youth Resources Pages).

MTOM – MTOM for Kids provides information to help children successfully make the transition when their family moves. The site covers saying goodbye, how to move and being a kid. Sections are divided for younger children and teens.

mtom-mil Deployment Kids – Deployment Kids offers children’s activities related to deployment, including downloads, a distance calculator, journals and games. Really Cool downloads!!

Wacky Grownups! A great section for kids to understand how grown-ups feel during their loved ones deployment.

VA Kids – VA Kids offers a variety of games, resources, scholarship information and links for students in grades K through fifth and sixth through twelfth. Information is also provided for teachers, grades K-5, 6-12.

For Parents:

pediatricAMassoc2 pediatricAMassoc American Academy of Pediatrics – The American Academy of Pediatrics Military Youth Deployment Support Web site has been designed to support military youth, families, and the youth serving professionals caring for this population.

Our Military Kids – Provides support to the children of deployed and severely injured National Guard and Military Reserve service members. The site provides activities and tutoring that nurture and sustain children while their parents serve.

National Military Family Association – The NMFA educates military families about their rights, benefits and services available to them, and provides information regarding the issues that affect their lives. Excellent, information for all age children, teens, and spouses.

opmilkids

  • Operation Military Kids – Operation Military Kids is the U.S. Army’s collaborative effort with America’s communities to support children and youth impacted by deployment.
  • Excellent, with podcasts and YouTube presentations.
  • podcast
  • Military Child – Military Child Education Coalition is a non-profit organization that identifies and addresses the challenges facing the highly mobile military child.

Excellent resource: Publications : SchoolQuest; Military Parent Information; Child and Student Programs; Education, Training, and Resources; Coalition Partnerships; Blogs

Connect For Kids – Connect for Kids gives its Web site visitors the information and tools they need to learn about issues affecting children, families, and communities.

Transforming Kids’ Lives Through Free Arts Programs: Founded in 2001, ARTS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization driven by people who believe in the power of the arts to heal, inspire and empower **check this site, has a form for children to communicate with their deployed fathers.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – SAMHSA focuses on building resilience and facilitating recovery for people with or at risk for mental or substance use disorders.

For Professionals:

Zero to Three – Zero to Three informs, trains and supports professionals, policymakers and parents in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers. ZERO TO THREE Fact Sheet >Alerts of new content in the Zero to Three Journal

Military K-12 Partners – References and information for K-12 military education partners. Be sure to check out References & Guides and provides additional excellent resources! Military Life & Culture (2nd set of resources on page), includes studies and reports, legislative information, and a section on Grants & Funding.

Karen- Proud Army Airborne Mom!!

H-Minus! aa

 

 

Military Health Matters Resource Center,

Military Health Matters – “the blog”,

 

All children are precious, military children are precious angels.

Comments

4 Responses to ““Mommy, where is my daddy?” April is Military Child Month.”

  1. LAW on April 19th, 2009 12:00 pm

    was at a book signing for Alison Buckholtz’ new book – Standing By. She talks extensively about how deployments affected their children, she is passionate that we have to help these littlest draftees, the ones that didn’t sign on the dotted line.

    LAW

  2. Karen [milhealth] on April 20th, 2009 4:49 am

    It is so hard for them, when they are that age there is not much you can say to them that they will understand. On a lighter children’s note: When I stayed with my son/family… every night I would play with Ben during his bath, Pirates. First, he would have the pirates fight…then I would show him how they all became friends and would share the ‘chest of gold’. Now, I will have to change the story to: “well, these four pirates don’t want to be friends with anybody, and they took a man who didn’t give permission to be taken… so in this submarine, are the Navy Seals…and they are going to have to take out those bad pirates….” (and if I don’t tell him this… his daddy will! ).

  3. Mamaw on April 20th, 2009 4:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing the links to other sites for mental/emotional health issues for our deployed soldiers children. I had found the DVDs for Sesame Street and older children on MilitaryHOMEFRONTs website as I mentioned in an earlier blog. What a great resource/sharing tool PZ is! I just wish that we did not have to spend so much time visiting site after site to gather information for our children and grandchildren to help them through these difficult times.

  4. Karen [milhealth] on April 20th, 2009 9:13 pm

    Thanks, I also have a resource site (wiki) with more info that I started based on the premise of so much info out there and pulling some of it together in one place. (My site is a 100% voluntary project and will always remain that). If you check it out and want a topic placed on it, please let me know. (militaryhealthmatters.org) Karen
    Proud ABN Mom, “H-Minus”

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