10 Ways You Can Support Military Families
1. Welcome New Military Families to Your School
Extend a personal invitation to the next meeting. In a recent survey, 68% of military families had volunteered in the last month. Military families are an excellent resource for your PTA as they've been all over the country and seen it all!
2. Support for Military Families During Deployment
During a deployment, schools can be the only source of stability and routine a child has. Provide resources for teachers and staff on how to support children while their parents are away. Help teachers identify those who may need assistance.
Consider adopting a family going through a deployment and check in with them periodically. Sometimes something simple like offering to help shuttle the kids to different activities can be a big help. The National Military Family Association provides a great resource for communities that are supporting military families. National Military Family Association Community Toolkit
3. Know and Comply with the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3)
The MIC3 provides for the uniform treatment of military children transferring between school districts and states. As of August, all 50 states have adopted the compact. This compact covers children of active duty members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and even active National Guard members and children of the Commissioned Corps of NOAA and the Public Health Service. Visit their website for downloadable brochures and one pagers for schools.
4. Use Technology to Communicate with Servicemembers
Active duty service members may not be able to attend meetings and parent-teacher conferences but they do want to be involved. Include them in PTA/PTO emails and newsletters.
Arrange for teachers to have Skype or FaceTime conferences with the servicemember who can't make it in person. Classes might enjoy using Skype to talk to the servicemember and learn about their deployment and where they are stationed.
5. Show Support for Our Military
Display the servicemember's branch of service symbol on or near a teacher's door. It will show support for the military family and will also help military kids to identify others like them.
6. Celebrate the Month of the Military Child in April
Participate in an activity to show military families that you understand and appreciate them. Help the school participate in Operation Appreciation, a letter-writing campaign for servicemembers and their families. Operation Appreciation
7. Create a Parent-Buddy System
Ask PTA members to volunteer to be a Buddy Parent for a new family. These volunteers can assure that the new families have a contact on who they can ask questions and they can help coordinate additional support that may be needed for the family. This helps ease the transition and can increase parent engagement.
Include information in your newsletter that discusses military life. Ask military kids and their families if they would like to contribute essays, pictures, and other materials.
8. Educate Your Community on Military Life
How can families in your school support servicemembers and their units that are on deployment or veterans in your community?
9. Host a Freedom Walk
Show your appreciation to those in uniform including the military, police, fire and rescue. Classes can dress up as these heroes and parade outside. Veterans can be invited to speak and students can participate in an essay contest. Create a Hero Wall with names of veterans, active duty, police, fire and rescue family members.
10. Say Thank You
Showing your appreciation for what military families sacrifice can be as easy as saying thank you. Remember that the entire military family serves.
As Veteran's Day approaches, choose one or several of these simple ideas to show your support to Military Families. Additional Resources for Schools & Communities To Support Military Families