Military families will sometimes readily give caregivers and teachers information about their service or stress in their lives. It is not uncommon to hear a parent at drop-off time say “I am deploying in two months and Charlie is having a hard time.” Other times a teacher or caregiver may be caught completely unaware of a family’s military involvement. It is helpful to know how to respectfully and effectively identify military families without making assumptions.
How to identify military families:
Build rapport with families so they feel comfortable sharing information with you. This is something that directors, caregivers, and staff should strive to do for all families, not just military families.
Ask questions without being pushy or nosey. “What is it that you do for a living?” “What line of work are you in?”
Let the children tell you what they feel comfortable sharing. They may say “Mommy is in the Army. She has to go away soon.” If this is news to you it would be a good opportunity to ask the parents about it.
Create a center that welcomes and values military families so that a community feel is built. Don’t assume that just because your center is not adjacent to a military base or facility that you will not have military children attending.
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