Preparing for Deployment: Stressors for Parents

deployment

Perhaps the most disruptive, yet most common event for today’s military families is deployment. It’s easy to believe that the separation of a service member from his or her family for months at a time would be difficult for every member of the family. What may be surprising, though, is that the months leading up to deployment can be stressful, too.

The Emotional Cycle of Deployment

Those who study the psychological well-being of military families talk about five stages …

Supporting Young Military-Connected Children When They Are Most Vulnerable

Girl with curly hair crying

Child care professional Kara can tell when a parent of one of her toddlers is deployed simply by the increase in tantrums and clinging and the loss of skills like potty training.

What’s happening here? The short answer is stress. Kara’s toddlers are communicating (sometimes very loudly) that they are experiencing changes to their small world that they don’t understand, have no control over, and don’t know what to do about. Their bodies and brains are reacting with the …

Young Children and Reintegration: When a Deployed Parent Comes Home

Welcome home

Welcoming a deployed parent home is such an exciting time for a military family! Even very young children catch the excitement of anticipating a long-awaited homecoming. But once the exhilaration of reunion day passes, the family begins the long, slow, often challenging, and always emotional experience of reconnecting and reestablishing life with their service member at home. Child care professionals who work with military families can play a critical supporting role as children and parents alike go through the …

Provider-Parent Relationships: 7 Keys to Good Communication

 

parent and provider talkingIf we want children to thrive in child care settings, then it makes sense to intentionally build positive relationships with the adults who play the largest roles in the children’s daily lives: their parents*. Good communication is essential for building those relationships, but good communication doesn’t just happen. As child care professionals, we must be reflective and intentional about achieving effective parent-provider relationships through good communication.

Below are seven steps that child care professionals can take to set the stage …

Child Care and Military Families

U.S. Navy Officer hugging his daughterThe young children of military families need the same kind of child care experiences that all children need: care that is warm and responsive, learning opportunities that are developmentally appropriate, and relationships that respect the whole family. But providing high-quality care also means understanding the many ways that children and families differ and tailoring our care in response. When we enroll military-connected families into our program, that means taking responsibility to learn all the ways that military service impacts children …

Supporting Dads in Child Care: Let’s Play!

Father and toddler girl with doll

Supporting young children in child care includes helping to strengthen parent-child relationships. Many families who enroll their children in child care may be young, inexperienced parents. First-time fathers in particular may need extra encouragement as they establish relationships with their young children, and that’s a role child care providers are well suited for, yet often overlook.

Supporting father involvement with children may be especially important for child care programs that include military families. These families face the possible absence of …

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, …

Welcoming a New Military Child into Child Care

Girl on first day of school

Being “the new kid on the block” is a feeling many of us can relate to. Being in a new environment can be emotionally challenging. Leaving home, friends, and all that’s familiar to relocate to a completely new community is especially hard, even for the most adaptable children. If you work with military families, you know that relocation, or PCS (Permanent Change of Station), can be  a very common experience. With each move, parents and children experience the discomfort of …