Military families experience unique circumstances that can impact children’s happiness and well-being. Deployments can also be a difficult time in the lives of military families.

During these stressful events, childcare providers have a special opportunity to support children and families. Childcare providers can help build resilience in children by strengthening the provider/child relationship. The Center for the Developing Child defines resilience as the “ability to overcome serious hardship.”

Childcare providers support children who face stressful challenges by doing the following:

  • Maintaining consistent classroom routines as much as possible. This provides children with a needed sense of stability and safety.
  • Developing children’s social emotional learning. Learning how to get along well with others and being able to identify, control, and express emotions are significant contributors to success in school and life.
  • Creating a sense of belonging for children and military youth. The CDC welcomes children into the program and addresses them by name. They ensure every child and youth has their own space for their items. The classroom/programs are decorated with family pictures, artwork, and projects. When children feel supported, it builds their resilience.
  • Providing opportunities for children and youth to talk about what is going on in their lives, but not forcing them to talk. Encouraging children to talk about their feelings and validating them strengthens children's coping as they hear that their feelings are normal and accepted.
  • Being watchful of changes in children's behaviors over time. Changes in behaviors, for example acting out or withdrawing from peers or caregivers, may indicate that a child needs extra support.
  • Encouraging families to connect with other families and community resources. Connecting with others allows families to share experiences and healthy coping strategies. Community resources can partner with families and deliver needed services.

Relationships are the foundation of building resilience in children. Positive caregiving from childcare providers help build resilience in children and youth. For more information visit your local Child and Youth Programs.