If you’re in the military or you’re the partner of someone in the military, thank you for your service! We are so honored that you’re here and a part of the Caribu family.
Military families make sacrifices daily that most people would never have to consider. It’s not just the active military members who make these sacrifices, but the partners keeping down the fort at home, and the kids who miss their parents.
If you’re looking for resources for military families, here are nine that you may not have considered. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child, so don’t be shy about asking for help.
1. Children’s Programs
For many military families, giving their children a “normal” life is important. Giving them the opportunity to read and play and giggle and learn are paramount whether you’re in a civilian family or military family.
There are many companies and organizations that give free memberships to military families and kids. Always read the company’s website to see if they offer any military discounts or complimentary memberships.
At Caribu, we always provide free unlimited subscriptions for active-duty military families. Being deployed can be difficult for many reasons, but one big reason for kids is they miss their friends and family! Caribu can help your kids reconnect with their loved ones through an interactive video-call. Not only can they catch up with loved ones, but they can read, play games, and draw together.
Next time they are missing Grandma, set them up in a Caribu video-call. Grandma can read them a book, draw together on a coloring sheet, and blow them a kiss through the screen. If they are missing their friend they just moved away from because of a PCS, help them by setting up a game of memory over a Caribu video-chat.
The Caribu app offers many books and activities for children of military families. Many of these resources are provided by Sesame Street. Sesame Street has gone above and beyond in providing support for children in military families.
With the help of all of the lovable muppets who live on Sesame Street, they cover difficult topics like relocation, deployment, homecomings, injuries, grief and loss, and transitioning from military to civilian life.
These topics can be hard for anyone, but especially for children. Sesame Street has given these children a place to come and feel safe. They cover hard topics in a compassionate, kid-appropriate way to help kids process their big feelings.
2. Resources For Meals
The last thing our military families should be worried about is where their next meal will come from. Unfortunately, this is the case for many families. There are organizations out there that are trying to put an end to food insecurities within the military community. Do some research in your area to find out what options are available to you.
Besides helping with food at home, there are many restaurants that give military members a discount on their meals. Before you take your family out to celebrate a birthday or simply the fact that you made it to Friday, check out what restaurants around you offer military discounts.
3. Tuition Programs
You may have known about the Military Assistance Program, a program that offers military members money to go to college, but did you know there are also colleges that offer discounts to military members AND their partners?
Higher education can increase yearly income, may provide job opportunities with better benefits, and may help you find a career post-military that inspires you. With all of these benefits, you would think many veterans take advantage of their tuition resources, but in fact, 68% of veterans don’t have a bachelor’s degree.
One of the problems may be support. During high school, students are supported by their parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and friends to go on to college. When you get out of the military, oftentimes you do not have that same support behind you. There are resources out there that can help you in your quest for higher education.
4. Financial Support
Everyone needs financial support from time to time. Support needed may be a loan for a car or a house, help to get out of credit card debt, or just someone to sit down with and make a retirement plan.
Whatever you and your family’s needs are, there are resources out there just for the military and their families. These organizations understand your unique needs and can help you make a solid financial plan.
5. Home Buying
If you’re looking to buy a house, there are many companies out there that offer specific military help. When you begin the exciting process of buying a house or apartment, make sure you speak to someone who is well versed in the home-buying process.
Look for a realtor that also understands your specific needs when it comes to buying a home. Buying a home is an exciting time for the whole family, so putting people on your team that have you and your family’s best interest at heart is important.
Being a part of a military family can be full of exciting opportunities. You may get the opportunity to travel as a family and meet new people. Even if you appreciate these opportunities, they can still be hard to adjust to, especially with kids. There are many programs out there that help build community within the military.
You can join previously-established communities or start your own. If you’re struggling with finding community when living far from home, you aren’t the only one! There are sure to be other spouses and children out there that are in similar situations as you are.
Community isn’t just important while you or your partner is active in the military. Transitioning to civilian life can be just as complicated. There are also organizations that are there to help you ease back into civilian life with the help of other people who have been there.
7. Health And Wellness
There are many challenges when it comes to being a part of a military family. The best way to be prepared for anything that comes your way is by taking care of your health and wellness. Health and wellness includes what you eat, your physical health, and your mental health. It’s important to focus on your health and wellness as a family, and to support each other unconditionally in these areas.
There are many programs out there that provide free or reduced resources to support your health and wellness. These may include exercise classes, memberships to community centers, access to nutritional information, or ways to support you and your family’s mental health.
8. Counseling Resources
Being a part of a military family can take a toll on the family dynamics. Marriage and communication can be difficult if you have a traditional 9 to 5 job, and you’re in the same house every day.
For the high-stress life of a military family, it adds even another layer of difficulty. Luckily, there are resources out there for military families to help support marriages. Counseling can be incredibly helpful, with 75% of people in marriage counseling saying it benefited their relationship.
The grownups in the house aren’t the only ones who may be struggling. Kids may also struggle with some of the aspects of being in a military family. They may miss their parents and worry about them while they are away or struggle when the family needs to make a move. Thus, kids can benefit greatly from counseling resources.
9. Relocation Support
Relocation is a common piece of military life. If you have received orders for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), there are many tasks to organize and consider. There are organizations out there that can provide you with resources to make your move go as smoothly as possible for you and your family.
This is a good time to call in your own resources as well. If you have someone you trust to watch your children, now is a good time to use their support. Organizing a home to be moved to a far-off location can be a lot, and it can also be incredibly boring for those busy kids! Ask for help from time to time so that you’re better able to really focus on the task at hand. Maybe the sitter can take them to the park to let them run around and Caribu is a great backseat babysitter for long cross-country drives.
Your commitment, sacrifices, and protection don’t go unnoticed. We are so grateful for you and your family’s service to our country. There are so many resources to help you and your family adjust to military life or a new move.
There are also programs that support your children, health and wellness, or food insecurities. Financial support, tuition programs, and home buying can be difficult to navigate, but there are organizations out there that can help you through the process.
Even though you and your family may not be physically close to your loved ones, Caribu wants to make your separation a little easier on everybody. Continue building connections with one another through reading and playing over a Caribu video-call!