Not only is Veterans Day on November 11: November as a whole is an official month for military families. Started in 1996, Military Family Month recognizes the “home front personnel” who fight their own daily battles:
- Frequent moves and other life adjustments
- Eating, sleeping, and/or parenting alone
- Anxiety over the risks of military service and/or civilian attitudes toward the military
- Loving someone who may be frequently absent, emotionally as well as physically.
It’s important to thank military personnel and Veterans for their service. It’s at least as important to help their families feel secure and understood.
Things You Can Do During Military Family Month
- Attend Veterans Day celebrations and related events.
- Put out a sign or banner that says, “We appreciate our military families.”
- Participate in a prayer service or vigil for military families.
- Help organize a potluck, family night, or carnival for military family members.
- Visit the MilitaryOneSource website for insights on life in a military family.
- Seek out personal-experience accounts from military family members (try the MakeTheConnection website for a start).
- If someone in your office or religious congregation has a spouse away with the military, treat the at-home spouse to a cup of coffee or a home-cooked meal. Or offer to watch their children while they take some “me time.” (The kids probably need their own “time off from stress” anyway.)
- If a military spouse seems overloaded at home, offer to lend a hand—with company and conversation as you work together. Shared chores make lighter hearts.
- If a spouse has recently returned from deployment, offer to watch the kids while their parents share a “couple night” to get reacquainted.
- Always be a good listener when someone shares their experiences. (One caveat: Do not say, “I know exactly how you feel.” Even if you’re from a military family yourself, everyone’s experience is different.)
- Military families move frequently due to reassignments. Make a habit of welcoming newcomers, and of staying in touch with former neighbors.
- Send a Thanksgiving or early holiday greeting to a military family. Or write a “just because” note.
- Invite military families to your holiday gatherings.
- Join a social media group that offers support to military families.
- Share information on businesses that offer military-family discounts.
- Share age-appropriate resources for children who may be fearful about having a parent in the military.
- Ask your nearest Veterans Service Organization about volunteer opportunities.
Apps for Military Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families
- BridgingApps for Veterans list
- BridgingApps Veterans Caregivers and Family Support App List
- Calendar or Google Calendar
- Executive Functioning App List
- Financial Fitness App List
- Hero Care
- Insomnia Coach
- Life360: Find Friends & Family
- Mental Strength App List
- Physical Fitness App List
- PTSD Family Coach
- USAA Mobile
- Veteran Connection