Over the past few years I’ve gotten more and more questions from audience members about mobile apps that are available for Service members and their families. Today I wanted to highlight a few mobile apps geared specifically for military families that I personally think are both helpful and well-executed. Al of these apps are free, and most of them available on both iOS and Android platforms.
FOCUS on the Go! iOS and Android platforms – FOCUS on the Go! is a mobile app from the FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) Project for Military Families that brings family resilience skills to military families in a easily accessible way. The app includes educational games that both children and parents can play, as well as sections on Family Skills and Videos. The games allow families to practice resiliency skills such as problem solving, identifying emotions, and sharing feelings. The Family Skills & Videos sections include resources and exercises on identifying feelings, relaxation, healthy habits, goal-setting, communication, and deployment tips. In addition, there is a Family Check-Up area where families can fill out a survey and receive a personalized summary of their resilience and well-being.
MyMilitaryLife iOS and Android platforms – MyMilitaryLife was developed by the National Military Family Association. Family members can register for an account (which allows them to personalize the information that they see), or use the app as a guest user. The app provides answers to questions and resources on a variety of topic areas salient to military life. These include: the basics of military life, moving, having a baby, raising kids, spouse education, spouse employment, deployment, reintegration, separation/retirement, survivors, and caregivers.
Parenting2GO iOS platform – Parenting2GO is a collaborative effort between the DoD and the VA that provides tools and information to help parents re-connect with their children after a deployment (as well as to build close relationships with their children at any time). Upon opening the app, there are five different areas to explore:
Sesame Street’s The Big Moving Adventure iOS and Android platforms – The Big Moving Adventure app was developed by the Sesame Workshop as part of their ongoing effort to support military families. This app is geared for young children (ages 2-5) who are faced with relocating to a new home, something we know occurs frequently in military families. The app was developed to help children prepare for a move both physically and emotionally. Children start out in the app by building their own Muppet character to help them through the moving process. The app then includes games and activities that cover multiple aspects of the moving process, including hearing the news, packing, saying goodbye, expressing feelings, traveling, exploring a new home, unpacking, and making new friends. There is also a Parent Tips section that includes information on breaking the news, preparing for the move, moving, settling in, managing emotions, and starting a new school.
Sesame Street for Military Families iOS and Android platforms – The Sesame Street for Military Families app was also developed by the Sesame Workshop. With this app, they make all of their resources for military families easily accessible (resources are available in both English and Spanish). Both articles and videos are available, as well as downloadable activities. Topic areas cover the spectrum deployment issues:
Dr. Marjorie Weinstock is the Lead on Military Families and CBT-D at the Center for Deployment Psychology.