Tips for military families to stay physically, emotionally strong
Sesame Workshop – the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street – knows when a parent serves in the military, the whole family serves. That’s why we created Sesame Street for Military Families, an initiative to help families cope and connect through the unique challenges of military life, including transitioning out of the Military. Now in its twelfth year, and in partnership with our friends at the DoD, we recently launched several new resources to assist military families in their efforts to stay physically and emotionally strong.
These new resources can be found on the Sesame Street for Military Families website which offers digital resources for parents, and features articles suggesting ways for families to connect through self-expression, sharing feelings, and healthy physical activities. There are also games and videos for kids that teach simple mindfulness and resilience techniques like belly breathing and positive self-talk. One of our favorites is Comfy Cozy Nest, a digital activity that lets children decorate Big Bird’s nest – and helps them imagine a calm, safe place of their very own.
Tips for Military Families to Stay Physically and Emotionally Strong
- It takes a team. Surround yourself with supportive people. Connect with your community, friends, and extended family. Seek available services on your base such as the family centers that schedule playdates for parents to drop in. It may feel like you’re all alone, but think again—usually there are people who want to help. Let them! Asking for help when you need it is an important problem-solving skill.
- Model Self-Confidence for your kids. When you need extra encouragement, remember your successes and pull on the strengths and resources that have helped in the past. Use them to develop coping strategies and make healthy choices. You are your child’s greatest role model.
- Make a thank-you jar. All week long, family members can put in little notes or pictures of things they’d like to thank other family members for—helping to make a bed, reading a story, shooting baskets together, and so on. At week’s end, open up the jar and share the gratitude. It will lift everyone’s spirits, making them feel valued and encouraging future cooperation.
- Your family has the moves! Your kids want to be strong and active like you. Together, create a short family routine you can do early in the day. Ask your kids afterward, “Do you feel more energetic than before you exercised?”
- Challenge your kids to eat a rainbow of foods every day. Next time you’re at the market, let them choose different-colored fruits and vegetables to bring home. Have them count the colors on their plates!
- Play with your food. Have fun with food—for example, melt a little low-fat cheese over a just-introduced vegetable. Or invite your kids to make a picture: Broccoli makes great trees, and a slice of orange can be the sun.