I’m sure you’ve had a conversation with someone and asked, “Where are you from?” and the response was “Everywhere. I’m a military brat.”
At one time this response made me feel bad for them. I felt they didn’t have a real home or real friends because they never stayed put long enough. That was just my ignorance before I joined the military world.
Now I see all the amazing opportunities and environments that military children are exposed to.
Here’s 10 practical and healthy things we can teach our kids so that this lifestyle can benefit them in the long run!
1. Be open to friendships
Some kids have no problem making friends. And the other ones may need a bit of a push from us (parents). This is an excellent trait that will help your child throughout life, whether they are going to college, starting a new job, or relocating. You can grow this skill by simply teaching them conversations starters.
(115th Fighter Wing photo by MSgt Paul Gorman)
2. Try NEW foods
Keeping your palate flexible is the equivalent of keeping an open mind. Try a new restaurant once a month as a family, or let your child pick a new fruit or veggie when you go to the grocery store. I’ve experienced some of the best meals while traveling and eating outside of my comfort zone.
3. Learn a second language
What do you call someone who speaks one language? AMERICAN. It’s funny because for most of us, it’s true. Benefits our children can have from learning a second language can include a sharper mind, better job opportunities, and expanded connection to other cultures.
I grew up in Florida so it’s second nature to wear a light sweater with my clothes that I can peel off when the day warms. This valuable lesson will help your kids not to dress in thick sweaters for the day and then the weather goes from 55 to 80 within a few hours. It does that in certain places you know…
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Smelley)
5. Embrace other cultures
More than learning about other cultures, our kids get to experience them. Teach them to enjoy the differences. They might even want to start incorporating some into everyday life.
Everyone needs a private place to SAY IT ALL! Journaling is not only an excellent way of expression and getting your thoughts out, but it’s also a nice thing to look back on and reflect on how certain moments felt. The good, the bad, and the funny.
7. Take a piece of life to remember from wherever you go
There’s an interesting idea called a travel corner. It’s a spot that has photos of different places you’ve traveled and items/souvenirs gathered along the way. Not gift shop souvenirs, but shells, feathers, stones, and branches.
(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Aimee Fujikawa, 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
8. Don’t forget your friends
When your kids find a good friend who becomes a bestie, find ways for them to stay in touch. You can FaceTime every now and then. You can also have them create gifts for their friend’s birthday. How cool is it if they become pen pals and write each other letters? It’s quite possible that they may cross paths again.
9. Home is what you make it
It can be difficult to feel at home when every few years you’re packing up and moving again. This is an opportunity to teach your child how to create happiness. What types of things do they like? They can get creative with making their space reflect their personality and if this changes with every move, that’s fine. Let them take the lead on what type of vibe they want to surround them.
10. Find the “takeaway” in every experience
Teach kids to adapt to their situation rather its an unwanted duty station, or new school. Find the good because ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!
If you’re a “military brat” what’s a practical lesson you learned growing up?
This article originally appeared on Military Spouse. Follow @MilSpouseMag on Twitter.