5 Ways to Appreciate Your Own Military Family

November Military Family Appreciation Month -- http://wp.me/p1d7d0-9Qt 5 ways to appreciate your own military familyU.S. Navy photo by John Narewski/Released

You know the saying, “We hurt the ones we love the most?” Our family doesn’t always get our best side. I know with three kids, my husband’s trainings, deployments and often long work hours, most days I’m just trying to survive.

I can definitely do a better job of showing my appreciation to my whole family, so I came up with several ways I will make an effort this month, in honor of Military Family Appreciation Month.

Every year, the President signs a proclamation declaring November Military Family Appreciation Month.

Businesses and organizations offer discounts, giveaways or hold special events. There are usually fun activities through MWR, Fleet and Family Support, YMCA, schools or other offices on the installation. There are some great articles about how civilians can appreciate military families or how military families can appreciate a friend or neighbor.

While reading these I couldn’t help but think about an element that was missing: how can we appreciate our own military families? Here are 5 things you can do today. I hope you will join me or create a list of your own. Who doesn’t like to be appreciated? 

1. Handwrite a thank you note

We ask our kids to write apology letters and even thank you notes after their birthday parties but I don’t think I’ve ever written my kids a thank you note. Next time they clean their room without me asking or help with laundry, I will write a thank you and not just say it. Besides showing them I appreciate them it will help my five-year-old with his reading, and set a great example on why we should all take the time to write thank you notes.

2. Give them a hug

I hug my husband and kids often but sometimes when I’m cooking, cleaning, or working I’m quick to let go. With so much to do and often being a solo parent, time is limited. But, I’m going to make a conscious effort to hug them super, duper, head-popping tight and not be the first to let go. If we’ve declared November Military Family Appreciation Month, we should hug extra-tight. 

3. An extra book at bedtime

Kids notoriously ask for one more book, one more drink of water, and one more kiss to squeeze out just a few more minutes of time before bed. This month I’m going to surprise them with one extra story a week. Maybe on a tough day where I want to hide in the bathroom and know what I appreciate most that day is bedtime. We all have those days, but this may help us all reconnect and set the tone for the next day.

4. Make them dinner

I do this almost every night already but rarely ask for much input on dinner choices. Usually, when I do ask what they want they blurt out some fast food restaurant that’s met by an immediate, “no.” This month I’m going to let my kids pick one meal a week. This will give us a great opportunity to spend quality time together discussing dinner options and probably have another conversation about fruits and vegetables and making healthy choices.

5. Tell them

This month I’m going to make sure I tell them I appreciate them. Saying, “I appreciate you taking the time to help your brother with his homework” sounds much better than a simple “thank you.” Hopefully they can use this in their own lives to show their friends
and teachers how much they appreciate them. 

We’ve declared November Military Family Appreciation month — and it shouldn’t only be for civilians to appreciate military families or for us to appreciate other families. My hope is that these extra efforts will become habits and I will show my appreciation of my family way beyond November. Take some time this month to appreciate your family. They will appreciate you too!

About the Author

Amanda Anderson
Amanda is an Army wife, mom of 3 and fur mom to a retired mine detection dog. An experienced nonprofit professional and Program Manager at Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, Amanda enjoys making a difference in the military community. With a recent move from the Washington D.C. area to El Paso, Texas, Amanda is enjoying the slower pace of Texas, local food and free time that used to be spent stuck in D.C. traffic.