RAF MILDENHALL - Children born into military families are often exposed to many challenges which they must overcome. With one, or even both parents deployed, the child may experience feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Service members give up a great deal in serving their country, and often at their childrens’ expense.
“Military One Source has numerous things parents can request, such as DVDs and books, that they will send to parents for free,” said Cynthia Harrison, 100th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center chief. “Additionally, the 100th FSS A&FRC has books in our Discovery Center and some DVDs parents can check out as well.”
In addition to those existing resources, the Defense Department and Sesame Street have unveiled a book and DVD to help develop resilience in military children.
“Little Children, BIG Challenges” is the name for this new book and DVD featuring characters from Sesame Street. These products teach military children that challenges are a part of life and how to deal with difficult times and events.
The creators of these new products recognize that all children are different; they cope differently with the stress that life brings. Some children may act up and become difficult to deal with, perhaps looking for attention from teachers and classmates to replace the attention previously given by a now-deployed parent. Others may become very introverted and distance themselves from those around them. They may feel that those they love will leave them, so they try to restrict the people they become close to for fear of losing them, too.
“Resiliency and coping skills tools designed to help children, such as this new ‘Little Children, BIG Challenges’ Sesame Street book, are invaluable resources for both military families and our youth and child development center professionals, as we help our children deal with the many stresses that military life poses,” said Matthew Driver, 100th FSS Airman and Family Services chief.
The book uses Sesame Street characters to help a child find ways to deal with many problems including bullying and how to behave in the home at meal times. And even though the book and DVD may be a little young for older children, their messages can help the whole family unite to help a struggling child.
The book is a family tool; it’s not meant for children to take away and flick through the pages themselves, but should be read with an adult. The adult can use story time as a way to discuss the book and its contents. The DVD should also be watched together as a family, so the child is afforded the opportunity to ask questions and clarify any issues that are raised with the DVD.
By watching a child react to certain areas of the book or DVD, an adult may realize the child is going through an issue that he/she doesn’t feel comfortable discussing at home. For example, if the book discusses bullying and the child becomes anxious or uncomfortable, it may be a sign that the child is being bullied at school, or is perhaps bullying others. This could then be a discussion topic with the child to find out more.
“We look forward to receiving this new resource very soon at the base library, at the A&FRC and in our child development center, to help benefit all Team Mildenhall families,” Driver said.
For more information about resources for military families, contact the A&FRC at DSN 238-3406 or commercial 01638 543406.