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This week’s blog post is the second featuring Christine “C.C.” Gallagher, Founder of Military Quality of Life Consulting LLC. C.C. is both a mother of two military children and a spouse to an active-duty Army soldier. C.C. has experienced many of major life changes that accompany military family life.

C.C. first collaborated with OneOp as a guest panelist during our Relationships for Readiness Virtual Conference opening session, The Family Readiness System and You.  She spoke of her experience as a mother, spouse, and entrepreneur in a military family. She joined us for an episode of our Anchored Podcast Series, Supporting Military Spouses with Employment and Higher Education Transitions in which she discussed how her life as a military spouse and mother to military children influenced her professional employment evolution into an entrepreneur and small business owner. Get to know C.C. more through her first blog post with us, Celebrating the Holidays When You Live Away from Immediate Family, and as she continues the conversation.

Useful Resources for Our Military Children: Month of the Military Child

Highly mobile military children make tremendous sacrifices as they deal with separation from their service member. These include enduring constant moves and new transitions. Our almost 6-year-old has lived at 4 different military installations and our 3-year-old has lived at 3.

According to the 2018 Profile of the Military Demographics Report, there are over 981,000 active-duty military children.

The largest percentage of active-duty military children is 0 to 5 years (42.6%). Ages 6-11 are next (32.1%), followed by 12-18 (20.3%) and 19-22 (4.9%).

The average military child will move six to nine times during a school career. That is three times more frequently than their civilian counterparts. This is according to the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).

The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community & Family Policy (MC&FP) is directly responsible for programs and policies that establish and support community quality of life programs for service members and their families worldwide. Through their initiatives, many programs provide a number of resources specifically geared towards supporting the well-being of our nation’s military families, and more specifically our military children.

As a parent, your main priority is your children.

Where should you begin to ensure that they are taken care of?

When PCS season rolls around and you start to feel overwhelmed with the coming changes, here are a few resources to keep your family on track and set your mobile military children up for success, no matter what phase of life they are in.

Quality Childcare

Child Development Centers, family child care homes, and school-age care programs are available on military installations. To learn about what is offered at your installation, visit Military Child Care, which gives military families a single point of access to military-operated or military-approved child care programs.

To find child care opportunities and resources off of your installation, visit Child Care Aware of America. This program assists more than 10,000 Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps military families every year, offsetting the costs of civilian childcare when there is no space available on the installation or installation childcare is not a viable option for your family.

Maintaining Friendships

Military Kids Connect (MKC) is an online community for military children (ages 6-17 years of age) that provides access to age-appropriate resources to support children dealing with the unique psychological challenges of military life. MKC offers informative activities, fun games, helpful videos, and an online community that can build and reinforce understanding, resilience, and coping skills in military children and their peers.

Summer Camps

Military Teen Adventure Camps: Military teens (10-18 years old of Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, and Retired personnel) have an opportunity to participate in adventure camps at little to no cost. Available camps can be found at Military Teen Adventure Camps, 4-H Military Partnerships and DOD Starbase.

Help Outside of the Classroom allows eligible students access to online tutoring and homework help from live, expert tutors in more than 16 subjects.

Eating Healthy

The DoD, U.S. Department of Agriculture with Pennsylvania State University offers 5210 Healthy Military Children tip sheets. These tip sheets showcase concrete suggestions for families and those who work with military kids to help improve a child’s health and wellness. The “5210” numbers remind children and their families to eat FIVE or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, closely monitor and limit screen time for children TWO years and older, get ONE or more hours of vigorous physical activity and drink ZERO sweetened beverages.

Although this blog post only highlights 5 programs, there are additional support programs that are offered through the government. In order to find out about these additional support services, please contact Military OneSource or call 1-800-342-9647. Military OneSource provides comprehensive information on every aspect of military life to active duty, Guard, and Reserve service members, and their families.

We want to thank C.C. Gallagher for contributing to our OneOp blog posts! Stay tuned throughout 2020 for more guest contributions from her. The next installment in this blog series is to come in July 2020. For access to all of OneOp’s blog posts, please click here.

Blog Image: Picture by C.C. Gallagher, used with permissions