When Your Military Kid Doesn’t Sleep {And How To Support Them}

Every time we go through a long-term separation I feel like I learn something new. There’s a new experience or emotion that is felt that was different than the last one. But this latest one has been a unique experience that has challenged even this eighteen-year military spouse (girlfriend/fiance). My littlest child began to struggle with his sleep. This was something that I had never experienced with the other two. Yes, we’ve experienced anxiety, stress, sadness, separation issues from me, but never sleep issues to this extent. Not only was falling asleep difficult, but his sleep was just not restful. He had giant circles under his eyes all the time and it was starting to affect his school work. He would just sit and stare at his work, the morning being especially difficult.

We tried a lot. We tried melatonin, we tried staying up later and he even slept with me. Thankfully our school is amazing and have worked with me since my oldest was in Kindergarten to support not only my kids but other kids in the school that are military. The school counselor is stellar and has worked with me to create small groups for military kids, as well as set up a mentor program in which older students spent time with younger students with deployed parents. There is a lot of support for military kids on base, in military schools and schools within the military base pyramid. But the further you get away from the bases there is less available institutionally for the students. After much discussion, we launched another small group, and also decided to let him sleep in and have an excused absence for school.

Make sure to establish a good relationship with your school as a military family! Connect with teachers, specialists and your school counselor! These relationships will be vital to your child.

The other thing I looked into was a weighted blanket. I have previously looked at these for my oldest son, who has struggled with anxiety and focus. But I went for it for my boy and headed over to Amazon. First thing when ordering a weighted blanket is you have to make sure you get the right heaviness. Here’s a chart to help you decide on the right weight for your child. There are plenty of places to get your weighted blanket, and if you’re crafty you can find some great tutorials on making your own. But I went straight to Amazon and ordered this blanket right up! It came and it has been such a success! Combined with letting him sleep as needed and the small group sessions with the counselor, he is slowly starting to be himself.

Weighted blankets are an amazing resource for families that have kids, or even adults, that struggle with anxiety and sleep issues.

I’m a believer and I was skeptical at first. It’s been such a hit that the other two have wanted to steal it away, so two more are on the way to my house as we speak! I think its so important to be open when it comes to dealing with deployment or long-term TDYs, or even just lots of travel, and kids. You never know how they are going to process it. Each time can be different, as has been the case in my house. With each phase in a kid’s life comes new experiences, and that is true even without the added stresses of military life. Some things have not changed. Communicating with your kids about your feelings is important. I’ve always been open with my kids about being sad or missing daddy. It has ended up making them feel more open about sharing their own feelings. It is a way to connect on a deeper level to each other. As my kids have gotten older I’ve shared with them how Mommy needs a little more help than normal because we are busier. They have responded so well to that simple honesty. I also do my best to pull them in when I really need them and give them a break on some of the smaller chores that they would normally do, and it has been truly amazing. Don’t be afraid to give them more responsibility. The way that has made my kids feel has been great. They have felt empowered and important like they are really contributing to the family and helping while daddy is gone.

Have you tried a weighted blanket? What did you think?

What are some strategies that you have developed over time to help cope with deployment?

*this post contains affiliate links, thanks for your support*

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What Military Kids Want You to Know Might Surprise You

When I asked my kids out of the blue one day what they think people should know about being a military kid I had an idea of what they might say. What they ended up saying surprised me and put a little smile on my face. Granted my little goobers might not be an acceptable survey pool, considering the number of military kids there are in the world; but I was pleasantly surprised at their responses. If I sat and thought about it though I should be. Military kids are ridiculously resilient, able to pack a box and leap tall buildings in one single step. Okay, maybe they can’t leap tall buildings in real life but the hurdles they jump with surprising ease surprise me every day. So, here is what my three military kids want you to know about being them.

  1. Its really hard sometimes – Deployments, long hours, and for us – frequently monthly travel as well – mean that I am often the only parent they have. Some weekends I want to just sit down and cry because I have to figure out a way to be in four places at one time. I know that sometimes the kids bare the brunt of this.
  2. You get to meet new people alot!! – Only one negative and they already jumped in with a positive! They started rattling off all the people they get to meet, from Daddy’s military friends, new school friends, new church friends and even the First Lady.
  3. You get to see alot of places – Inside my mama heart was literally growing three sizes. My kids have been to a bunch of places, either because we lived there or we drove through and visited on a PCS adventure. I always hoped those would be exciting things for them and that they would remember them as such. So far, it seems as though they have.
  4. You have a dad you can brag about – this came from my 11 year old, who has for a good majority of his little life planned on following in his Dad’s footsteps. He’s me in a tiny boy package. He embraces all that military life is. Wants to watch the movies, wear the sweatshirts and loves to talk about all the cool parts of his life and what his Dad is all about. For the record, my daughter jumped in and said “Or mom too!!!” I gave myself a little pat on the back for that.
  5. Finally….my little guy jumped in. And in all his six year old seriousness he said, “You get to have lunch with your dad in his outfit (aka – Uniform). It’s all about perspective and priorities people

When people ask me about the military life I know that I would immediately be thinking of all the downsides, or struggles. I’d be quickly going through the list of things that I’m advocating for or things that I’d like to see changed. In my adultness I’m missing the good things. This is true I think no matter what your life is, military or not. And I was so incredibly proud of my kids, and frankly myself. Having shown them not so great sides of me, especially when dealing with the hard stuff of military life, I know I must be doing something right. Together my husband and I have helped them see the fun parts of military life, how to look on the bright side of things.  As far as I’m concerned my kids are rock stars and I’m so proud to be their mama.

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A Homecoming

I’ll take any opportunity to give a shout out to a veteran-owned/military spouse owned business. I just will. Its something that a lot of us do, and it really sets our community apart from so many others. I am so blessed in return by our community. Our amazing photographers are also dear friends who donated their time to us. If you are in the Maryland, Virginia, DC area and are looking for a photographer check out Gronde Photography!

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Kinskii – Bringing Military Families Closer Together

This is a sponsored post, in partnership with TapInfluence. I was compensated for my time. However, I only participate in sponsored posts that I believe are valuable to my audience, and to the Military community.

I am so excited to tell you about an exciting Kickstarter campaign that could potentially be so amazing for Military families. Today is the launch day and I thought it would be the perfect time to tell you a little bit about Kinskii and let you check it out for yourself. It definitely intrigued me as a military spouse, and a mom to Military Brats. Its more than communication, its an interactive way to have some “hanging out” time when your loved one is gone, military or not.


While this video doesn’t show a military family, I was totally picturing it! Tugs at the heart strings!
What is Kinskii? : Kinskii is a way to have family playtime with your little one from any distance. Kinskii will be available in the app store or on your PC/Mac. We are creating every single game with education, safety and engagement in mind. 
How does it work?

I’m really excited to demo the program myself and give my readers some more feedback about it, so please keep an eye out for that. But on first glace this program seems like a fun and unique way to incorporate what we already do with technology in, perhaps, a more meaningful way. Now your kids are simply playing a game to waste time, but they are engaged with their parent that is gone. Typically I’m all about less technology, but if they are going to do it, this would be how I would want them to. Check out the videos, read about Kinskii on their kickstarter page and see what you think.

what unique things do you do to keep engaged with your loved ones while they are traveling?
what do you think of this idea?
If you watched the videos, what did you think?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kinskii. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Military Support Series – “Our Military Kids”

Jumping back into the swing of things, I am so very happy to bring to you the third installment in my Military Support Series.  In light of April being the Month of the Military Child, I thought what better organization to highlight first this month then Our Military Kids.

Our Military Kids Logo

Our Military Kids, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to provide support and recognition to military children. This may include children ages 3 years through the 12th grade of deployed National Guard and Reserve service members, along with children of Wounded and Fallen Warriors from all branches of service. The grants to children pay for fees associated with athletic, fine arts, and tutoring programs. Our Military Kids’ grants keep military children engaged in activities of their choosing, helping to relieve the stress of separation from a parent by providing a positive distraction, minimizing emotional destabilization, building self esteem, and enabling academic achievement.
 Our Military Kids provides tangible support to the children of deployed and severely injured National Guard and Military Reserve personnel through grants for sports, fine arts and tutoring that nurture and sustain the children during the time a parent is away in service to our country.
Last month I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and have lunch with Linda Davidson, co-founder of OMK.  It was truly amazing to hear the story in person, to talk about the direction and how the direction has grown and changed over the years.  To talk about the future and what other things this wonderful organization can accomplish.  Starting as a group of people who sought to serve the children of Guard and Reservists in the State of Virginia only, then growing nationwide, and not stopping until OMK began helping the children of Wounded Warriors as well.

me and Linda Davidson
Linda, and the amazing staff, Board of Directors and volunteers have worked tirelessly to provide grants of up to $500 to cover six months of extra-curricular activities for a child of a deployed service member, who is deployed for 120 days or is one of two missions overseas totaling 180 days in a one-year period and there are at least 30 days remaining, and the child will start the activity before they return home.  The grants are to support athletic activities, fine arts and also tutoring.  Most of us that are military-connected know what its like to have a loved one gone, even if its only for a two week training or field mission.  Regardless of the length of time, when it involves children its difficult.  Two weeks, two months or a year, to them its all hard.   I have personally experienced so many different types of separations and they have all been hard on my children, especially when they are too young to really understand anything.  We haven’t been lucky enough to be a recipient (because I didn’t know about OMK!!!  Crazy!!), but I know that it would have been such a blessing.  One day maybe OMK can expand to include Guard and Reservists families that are in unique situations like prolonged TDYs, Geo-Bachelor, shorter stint missions and more unique situations that I know are out there.
Our Military Kids conducted a survey of recipients (in both the Guard/Reserve and Wounded category) to garner more insight and information into the lives of these families and the effect that it has. 
  • 82% noticed an increase in the stress or anxiety level of their child during the parent’s deployment
  • 97% indicated that participating in an activity benefited their child
  • 100% found the grant application process easy
  • 99% reported that participatin significantly contributed to the overall well-being of the entire family
  • 99% thought the Our Military Kids program should be continued and made available to other families
 My little Military Kid

If they surveyed me I’m sure they would find very similar responses.  My kids are involved in Martial Arts and Awana.  I know that having those things, that pattern, that stability in their lives is incredibly valuable to my children.  The support that they find, that is extremely difficult for those of us not attached to a larger unit and/or on a substantial base is beyond words.

To learn more about Our Military Kids, please visit their website and here are some special links!

Press Release – Business support OMK (if you’re in the VA read this!!!)
Donate to Our Military Kids
Vehicle Donation Program
Our Military Kids Facebook
Our Military Kids Twitter

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