Seeing Themselves: Reflecting the Military Side of Young Children from Military Families

Girl hugging military dad

Being a military kid is a big deal for a child! Big enough, in fact, for child care providers as caring adults to acknowledge and support it as part of the child’s developing self-identity and to reflect and respect it in the child care environment in which military kids spend a big chunk of their time.

How do child care providers do that? Below we discuss in depth four strategies to integrate reflections of military life into the child care …

Strategies Child Care Providers Can Use to Help Young Children in Military Families Relieve Stress

Toddler girl crying

If you are a child care provider working with children in military families, it is important to understand the stresses of military life and to find ways to help children relieve stress in the child care setting. Even the youngest children may experience stress during major changes related to military service, such as the absence of a parent during deployment or moving to a new home.

Children also respond to the stress of the people around them. When the parent …

Children's Books for Young Children in Military Families

Navy officer reading to children

Children’s books are such a great way to help children deal with change – and military life certainly has plenty of that!  Here are some books that can help young children deal with different changes that may occur in their families. The books in bold have a specific military theme and include characters in military families. Others are recommended because of how well they deal with emotions from a child’s perspective. Even though the situation doesn’t involve a military element, …

What Child Care Providers Need to Understand about Stress in Military Children

Child holding soldier's hand

There’s no question that military life can be stressful for all members of military families, including young children. Child care providers working with children from military families need to recognize that living in a military family has emotional ups and downs and find ways to help children cope with the stresses of military family life. The first step in helping children manage their stress is to understand how and why children in military families experience stress.

The Body’s Stress Response

Coping with Change: Practical Ways That Child Care Providers Can Support Young Children from Military Families

Welcome home

Child care providers know that if there’s one thing about military family life that’s predictable, it’s that it is  unpredictable! Change happens. A lot. These changes usually affect children from military families in very significant ways that they neither control nor fully understand. Whether it’s a parent going far away or the return of parent, or a move to whole new place – the impact is enormous. Coping with such significant change is a monumental task for very young children. …

Coping with Change: Young Children in Military Families Find Comfort in the Familiar

Soldier giving girl high 5

As a child care provider, you know the importance of familiar routines for young children. They like to know when and what to expect. This is especially true for military children. Every child experiences changes as part of normal life. But as someone who provides child care for military families, you know that the changes common to military children are super-sized:

  • A parent is out of reach for long stretches of time…and then comes back, shaking everything up all over

Reflections of Military Life in Children’s Pretend Play

Boy playing with water gun
As Maggie surveys her active 3-year-olds on the playground, she notices one of the boys pointing a toy shovel like a gun out the window of the play structure. “Derrick!” she says as she comes closer, “you know we don’t play with guns at school. Find something else to play.” 

This is a situation that plays itself out over and over in child care programs. Many child care providers are uncomfortable with children pretending to use weapons and want to …

Ways Child Care Providers Can Teach Preschoolers Self-Control

Children playing together in sandbox

Learning self-control is an ongoing process in each child’s development. Child care providers can play an important role in encouraging children to develop self-control through interactions, appropriate guidance, and child-directed activities. When encouraging children’s self-control, child care providers need to be sure their expectations are appropriate and realistic for the particular child. The child’s age can be an indicator of what to expect, but children of the same age can be at different developmental levels. Be sure to consider the

Ways Child Care Providers Can Help Children Deal with Grief and Loss

Service member comforting child

Young children need help and support to understand death and other losses. Helping a young child deal with loss and grief is one of the most difficult responsibilities a child care provider may face. Young children do feel grief when they lose someone or something special to them. Most adults recognize that children experience grief at the death of a loved one — including a family member, a friend, or even a pet.

But children also experience grief during other …

Choosing, Introducing, and Caring for Pets in Child Care

Pet in cage in child care

Having a pet to talk to and touch can be a great benefit to children in child care, especially shy youngsters. Children can learn responsibility by caring for a pet and may enjoy watching animals play and eat. Having a pet in your child care program takes thought and planning. Before you go out and buy a snake or a rabbit, be ready to ensure children are safe and healthy around the pet and the pet is treated gently and …