1. Have fun! It’s very scary to have a parent serving in a war zone, so whatever things you do for fun, swimming or bowling or going to the movies, keep on doing them with your friend.
2. Be patient with your friend’s moods. Some kids may get angry or sad over little things because of the extra stress. Give them a break. They’re serving our country too.
3. Everybody has extra chores when one parent is gone. When you are over to play, ask if you can do a yard chore or wash the dishes together. It’s way more fun with two.
4. Respect the flag. Most soldiers’ families see the flag as a symbol of all they are sacrificing for our country, so stand up straight and face the flag when our anthem is played. Take off your hat and put your hand over your heart. It seems like a little thing, but it means a lot to military families and veterans, too.
5. Your friend’s biggest fan is far away, so when he makes a great play on the soccer field or has a strong finish in the spelling bee, cheer extra loud, take lots of pictures and let him know that you are proud of him, too.
6. Celebrate holidays together. It’s tricky to celebrate when one parent is gone, so help out if you can. For example, invite your friend to trick or treat with your family, so that the non-soldier parent can be at home passing out candy.
7. If there is a parade or ceremony in your town to honor Veterans’ Day or Memorial Day, show your support by going.
8. Listen if your friend wants to talk about the war. Or be willing to not bring it up if they’d rather not talk about it.
9. Everyone has opinions about this war and this president. Opinions are good, but most military families prefer not to talk about their political views in public while they have a family member at war.
10. Pray. Most military families are people of faith who take great comfort in prayer. If you are a person who prays, tell your friend you are praying for his or her soldier every day.