Child Health, Safety, and Well-being

 Celebrating Military Children

Last Updated: January 10, 2024


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Celebrating Military Children - Purple Up! with P3 

April is traditionally celebrated as the Month of the Military Child with the theme of "Purple Up!" because purple is a color used to represent all military services. The principles of activity and nutrition are great ways to engage children during the month of April. Inspire yourself and your Family for a Purple Up! theme!

Below you will find great tips for reinforcing healthy life styles, supporting connection and creating memories with the awesome military kids in your life and those around you.  

The military family can live healthier, more balanced lives with proper sleep, activity, and nutrition in a crisis. Feel better and reduce stress by keeping or starting your routine with these concepts.

1. Plan healthy meals for your family and your kids — add a PURPLE theme.  Look for new recipes that you and your children can make together. Aim for 8 servings of fruits and vegetables with all the colors of the rainbow.

  • Make blueberry French toast with blueberries and blackberries on top
  • Blackberry-sauced pork chops
  • Blueberry coffee cake
  • Fruit smoothies with blueberries, yogurt, and other fruits (try adding some spinach for fun)
  • German red cabbage
  • Blueberry-Dijon chicken
  • Yogurt, granola, and blueberries for breakfast
  • Salad with blueberries and goat cheese

2. Stay hydrated and eat well.  Drink plenty of water, plan family meals, and challenge your children to learn to cook something new!

  • Have kids pick out recipes to try at home.  Have them set the table.
  • Try having a picnic in the living room or on the back porch.
  • Try simple ingredient recipes and add extra vegetables or fruits to the recipe.
  • Make a game of who is drinking the most water or the most fruits and vegetables through the day.
  • Sort the pantry, and try a recipe with an ingredient from the shelf.

3. Stay moving — keep your Family moving. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise + 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Moving a little each hour, about 10 minutes, adds up quickly and will keep your energy up and your mind focused all day!

  • Challenge the kids to a quick game of freeze-tag.
  • Try indoor tag, or a scavenger hunt with a special prize at the end.
  • Take your kids and the dog out for a walk around the block.

4. Spend extra time playing with children.  Think outside the box and inside your home environment. Create time blocks for play and activity for you and your children to stay active.

  • Create an obstacle course in your yard or living room (use different purple objects or military items to build the course).
  • Encourage PLAY—Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity as well as physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.​
5. Challenge the Physical Activity Doldrums.  Health happens where we live, work, and play, so create a network of support and encouragement around you to optimize your chance for success!  Exercise in ways that feel like play.

  • Hopscotch
  • Dancing
  • Jumping rope

6. Include your kids with home resistance training and agility training.  Build strength and toughness by focusing on the seven essential movements. Strength training is essential to being optimally fit!  Use these seven foundational movements to work all your major muscle groups; most exercises can be done at home without the need for equipment!  

  • Stay motivated with a fitness contest that you and your kids can work on as a team.
  • Include sports into the mix—soccer and basketball can be played at hom

7. SLEEP is important for all ages.  Children need a regular routine and regular sleep patterns to have the brain processes information.  Create an optimal sleep environment— dark, quiet, and cool!
  • For teens and children, stick to consistent bed and wake time—even on weekends—as it will help to synchronize the brain to be able to fall asleep and awaken at the appropriate times.
  • Establish ground rules for technology for children and teens in the evening to help with sleep habits.
  • The chart below shows how much sleep is needed for all ages.​

Age group Age Required Sleep
Newborns0–3 months14–17 hours
Infants4–11 months12–15 hours
Toddlers1–2 years11–14 hours
Preschoolers3–5 years10–13 hours
School Age Children6–13 years9–11 hours
Teens14–17 years
8–10 hours
Younger adults18-25 years7–9 hours
Adults26-64 years7–9 hours
Older Adults65+ years7–8 hours​​

Source: How Much Sleep Do I Need?​External Link​ Retrieved December 21, 2017 from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website.

8.  Create a Month of the Military Child event at home. Ask your kids to help in the planning. Set a date, and include friends via a social media platform.

  • Dress-up throughout the month of April. Decorate the house with purple, purple camo, military insignias, and so forth.
  • Create your own "Wall of Honor" recognition for your parent or your military experience.  Create a poster board or slide presentation share.
  • Create a "Wall of Honor" for your military kids with photos from different duty assignments with purple construction paper.
  • "Share Your Story" Project: Whether a military dependent yourself, classmate, friend, or neighbor of a military student, we are all impacted by the military community. Share your military-connection story through the visual arts, creative writing, musical composition, poetry, and so forth.
  • Reading or listening to stories!  Check out the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Digital Library Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Digital Library!​External Link
9. Stay connected and support military kids during stressful times.

  • Talk to your kids. Kids are much less stressed when they understand what's happening. Make a plan with your kids, and decide what they would like to do.
  • Make a schedule for your family.  It helps to manage expectations for everyone. 

10. Take advantage of the opportunity to teach your children about health and fitness.  Be ready to answer their questions.