Faces of FOCUS
During my time as FOCUS Site Director for Naval Base Ventura County, I have come to admire the amazing resilience of the military family. In the face of constant changes, both major and minor, these families bear up and thrive in amazing ways. For many military families, summer can be a time of significant transition and change. School transitions, moves, duty station changes, and travel all present challenges and changes to much needed routines. Whatever your perspective on these and other transitional events may be, your family deserves all of the resources and support FOCUS can provide.
This edition of FOCUS Quarterly is all about ways to help your family thrive in the coming months. My article “Building Routines that Last” will help you use the long days of summer to establish skills you can use all year long. Our “FOCUS on…Transitions” article provides great ideas to keep your family strong through any military transition. In our “For Those in the Know…” section we shine a spotlight on two organizations doing wonderful work supporting military children both through times of change and during everyday life. Finally, if you’re looking for a few tricks to help your kids out during a move, please don’t miss this edition’s “FOCUS’ Top 5”. We hope you and your family find these articles useful and enriching. As always, FOCUS is at your service.
Site Director, Naval Base Ventura County
Building Routines That Last
As the weather warms up, many of you are already forming strategies to tackle the challenges to your normal routine that summer brings. Perhaps you are excitedly anticipating new adventures, trips, and activities, or maybe you are plotting out cool crafts and fun backyard games to do at home. Whatever your plans for the coming months, I want to encourage you to use the long days of summer to adjust your routines in ways that will benefit family members all year long. Below are my top four routines to cultivate during the summer months. Pick a favorite and try it out.
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Take a look around your neighborhood this time of year and you will notice that things are changing. You may see that the trees are full of life, the bees have multiplied, the scent of sun block is in the air, and the sound of moving trucks is in our ears. Well, at least in our neighborhoods. Summer is the time for transitions, and military families are no exception.
While transitions provide families a fresh opportunity for growth, it can also be a time that brings a great deal of stress. The traditional life transitions can be tougher for military families when it seems like the lives of everyone around them are changing too. Relocations for “PCS Season,” long vacations, and new schools are just a few transitions that military families may face.
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FOCUS Top 5
Items to Help Kids Master Moving
- Deep breathing stick. This is a simple tool you can make at home to help kids master the relaxation tool of deep breathing. Take a popsicle stick (or similar object) and on one end glue a picture of a candle flame and on the other end glue a picture of a flower. You can personalize it by asking your kids to color the pictures before they glue them on. Once the glue has dried, show the child that they can breathe in through their nose, like they are sniffing a flower, and then they can breathe out through their mouth, like they are blowing out a candle.
- Move book. This is a fun craft project that can help keep your child busy while you are packing and make the transition easier. For instructions on creating a move book click here.
- Kid-friendly camera. It can be helpful for kids to have visual documentation of the journey they are making from one location to the next. Seeing where they started and the path they took to their destination is grounding and offers a sense of security.
- Treasured item. A tangible reminder of your current home, such as a leaf from their favorite tree or a shell from the beach, encourages kids to remember happy moments from their previous house.
- Reminder of an exciting event. It’s nice to provide a tangible reminder of something exciting that kids can look forward to in their new city. Suggestions include a photo of a cool park near the new house or a brochure from a zoo they will be able to go visit.
May is National Military Appreciation Month
FOCUS thanks all the service members and their families around the globe for the daily sacrifices they make in support of our country.
National Military Appreciation Month was established by Congress in April of 2004 as a way to recognize and celebrate the service and dedication of the members of the United States military. This month includes Loyalty Day, VE Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day. The purpose of this month is to honor and remember all military personnel; both those currently serving and their families and those who have served throughout our country’s history.
For more information about all the ways to celebrate this month and more information about its history please visit the official National Military Appreciation Month website.
For Those in the Know
Armed Services YMCA – Making Military Life Easier
The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) is a non-profit organization, based in Alexandria, Virginia. ASYMCA has 14 dedicated branches in 10 different states throughout the United States. The ASYMCA supports military service members and their families all over the world with a focus on children and families. Today, the ASYMCA, a national member association of the YMCA of the USA, operates in more than 150 program centers worldwide. They work hand-in-hand with the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security and with the support of a dedicated volunteer corps. The goal of the ASYMCA is to enhance military life by providing a wide range of free services, such as: childcare, hospital assistance, spouse support services, food services, and deployment support. Additionally, the ASYMCA offers emergency support, computer training classes, health and wellness services, and holiday meals. For more information, please visit www.asymca.org.
Military Youth On The Move
Military Youth On The Move has a whole new look! This recently updated website is designed for children between the ages of 6 to 17. The site is broken down into three sections, Kids (6-8 years old), Pre-Teens (9-12 years old), and Teenagers (13-17 years old). Each section offers age appropriate articles on topics that interest military kids and teens, such as moving, healthy living, getting help, and staying safe. In addition to their written articles, Military Youth On The Move provides useful information for kids in the form of podcasts and videos, there is even a community message board for teens. The site also contains articles and a message board for parents to access information they can use to help make military transitions easier for their kids. To check out the site for yourself visit them at: apps.mhf.dod.mil/myom.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out our FOCUS World calendar which provides 30 days of suggested activities to assist you in building a stronger family. If you have had a chance to use the calendar and have any feedback, we would love to hear it!
In 2008, the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) contracted with the UCLA Semel Institute to implement the FOCUS Project for United States Navy and Marine Corps at 9 USN and USMC installations. In 2009, FOCUS Project was expanded to include 14 sites, including the USMC Wounded Warrior Regiment. In September 2009, FOCUS Project was made available to Army and Air Force families at designated installations through support from the Department of Defense Office of Family Policy.
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