DoD commemorates Month of the Military Child

Children pin their father, an Army major, during a ceremony promoting him to the rank of lieutenant colonel. The DoD estimates there are currently more than 1.6 military children who also make sacrifices in defense of the nation.

Every April since 1986, the Defense Department has celebrated the Month of the Military Child.

‘’Alongside many service members are brave military children who make significant contributions and sacrifices for family and country while dealing with the challenges of military life,’’ said Patricia ‘’Patty’’ Montes Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy.

One of the challenges faced by military children is the fact that military families move on average every two or three years, causing impacts that include changing schools and friends.

The department and military services are committed to celebrating and supporting these children to ensure they and their parents thrive — not only during the Month of the Military Child, but throughout the year, Barron said.

“Each of you plays a unique and invaluable role in your family and in the overall military community,” she said, adding that there are more than 1.6 million military children.

Dr. Kelly Blasko, counseling psychologist and lead of Military Kids Connect at the Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health branch, said, ‘’Military kids are the cornerstone of military families worldwide. Helping ensure their health and mental well-being enables military parents to focus on serving the country. Military kids provide creative and resourceful support to their families and communities, all while regularly adapting to new environments and making sacrifices alongside their parents.’’

DoD will host a number of live events on the Military OneSource Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube throughout the month, including Blasko; Trevor Romain, best-selling children’s book author; and Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist.

In addition, throughout April, people are encouraged to ‘’purple up’’ and show their support to military kids by posting a selfie while wearing purple and posting it to social media with the hashtag #purpleup.

Blasko is also encouraging families to participate in related events or access available resources, including:

• Military OneSource: a DoD-funded program that provides comprehensive information, resources and assistance on every aspect of military life through its call center and website. Service members and the families of active-duty National Guardsmen and all reservists (regardless of activation status); Coast Guard members when activated for the Navy, DoD expeditionary civilians and service members’ survivors are eligible for Military OneSource services. The free services are available worldwide 24/7.

• Military Kids Connect: an online community for military children ages 6-17. It provides access to age-appropriate resources for military kids, as well as resources to help parents, caregivers and educators understand and support military kids at home and in school.

• Sesame Street for Military Families: a free, bilingual (English and Spanish) website where families can find information and multimedia resources on military deployments, multiple deployments, homecomings, injuries, grief and self-expression.