You probably know someone who is currently serving in the military or who has served in the military in the past, whether they're a family member, coworker, classmate, or friend. We often think about how these service men and women help keep us safe at home and abroad, and all the sacrifices they make for us, for their families, and for their children. There are over 2 million children of service members and veterans throughout the United States. Children of service members understand what it means to serve their country at a much younger age than many other Americans.
April is a time to celebrate the important role military children play in the armed forces community, recognizing their strength, courage, and perseverance. Month of the Military Child, celebrated annually each April, gives us the chance to show a little extra love to military children of United States service members, domestically and abroad, and highlight programs, resources, and services available to support the overall well-being of military children, youth, and teens.
This year's theme is "Taking Care of Our Military Children," recognizes the unique challenges military children face, and helps make sure families are aware of the tools, resources, and support that are available and ready to serve their needs as they navigate military life. It also gives all Americans the opportunity to show support in a variety of ways. A few examples include:
- Wearing purple on Purple Up! day. You may see a lot of purple throughout Month of the Military Child, but each year there is a specific day designated as "Purple Up!" day. This year, many people will be wearing purple on April 15, but the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3) has selected Wednesday, April 19, 2023, as Purple Up! day.
- Use hashtags on social media. Hashtags like #MIC3Compact and #purpleup4militarykids give kids and their families support.
- Have a "Wall of Honor" recognition at school. Schools are encouraged to display a "Wall of Honor" as a visual depiction of the school's military student population.
- Adopt a deployed service member or unit. Create care packages that can be sent to a student's family member, or another person or unit identified through the school or community. Include things like encouraging notes, cards, pictures, etc.
Military children and families don't always have it easy – military families move every two to three years on average, and military kids change schools an average of six to nine times between kindergarten and high school graduation. By recognizing the unique challenges of military-connected children, youth, and teens, we can offer a little extra support and love to show military families just how much we appreciate them and everything they do for us.
Military Family Education Support (pa.gov)
Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission
Guide for Parents, School Officials and Public Administrators