November is Military Family Month. As a leading community-based organization, the YMCA is dedicated to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
The Greater Joliet Area YMCA offers the following tips to help children of military families cope while loved ones serve overseas:
Avoid the Countdown
Try not to focus on the expected homecoming date of a loved one serving overseas as these dates can change. Instead, emphasize how your loved one will be home once the work is done.
Give a Geography Lesson
Consider using maps and books to help teach your children about the place or region where their loved one is stationed. This can help to empower children and provide them with some comfort.
Family Ties that Bind
To help your child stay connected to their loved one during separation, try building a holiday care package. And, be sure to take advantage of services like United Through Reading that videotapes a parent reading their child’s favorite book. Or, you may want to consider the Armed Services YMCA’s Operation Kid Comfort program, which provides a personally handcrafted quilt or pillow.
Monitor the Media
News stories can scare or alarm children. Be sure to keep an eye on their media exposure and be prepared to answer questions prompted by what they see and hear.
Take Advantage of the Internet
Facebook, Skype and other chat services are a great way for your child to keep in touch with their loved one in real-time. This also allows your child to see that their loved one is safe while providing important bonding time.
Find Time for You
When a loved one is away, the remaining caregiver takes on the brunt of the family responsibilities. This can be stressful, and many Ys offer discounted membership opportunities for active military personnel. The Greater Joliet Area YMCA offers a $0 Joiner’s Fee and a complimentary one month adult or family membership for those with an active military card. To learn more about our Military Outreach program, please contact Volunteer and Community Engagement Director Dori Fugate at (815) 267-8600, ext. 210 or via email at [email protected].
Thank you to those who have dedicated themselves to serving our country. We are grateful for your service.