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Have you ever seen emotional military parent and child reunions on the news or on YouTube? These typically intense and heartwarming stories often take place at schools or in childcare settings. As moving and touching as these reunions are, cautions have been raised in recent years.
School and childcare administrators and staff, in concert with PTOs and family members, can be proactive in developing policies ahead of a request for staging such a reunion, whether it is filmed on the family's own cameras or with a film crew. Some things to consider to help ensure that a school or childcare environment best meets the needs of military children during parental deployment and reintegration are as follows:
1. Understand the needs and abilities of the child(ren) of the returning service member.
2. Identify potential ripple effects of surprise reunions in the school and child care environments.
For more information on programs related to children coping with intense emotions please see the Clearinghouse Continuum of Programs or contact our Technical Assistance Team for live help. In particular, the programs Coping Cat and Cool Kids (School Version) may help youth with anxiety disorders or who have reported symptoms of anxiety.
Sources of background information and further reading:
This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture,
and the Office of Family Policy, Children and Youth, U.S. Department of Defense under Award No. 2010-48709-21867
developed in collaboration with Penn State University.