Moving can be an exciting adventure for adults, but for kids, it can be a stressful experience. PCS, or Permanent Change of Station, is a term that sends shivers down the spines of military families. But fear not, parents! I’m here to help you make this transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.
First things first, communication is key! Keep your children informed about the move as soon as possible. This will give them time to prepare and say goodbye to their friends. Don’t forget to answer their questions honestly and patiently. Trust me, they will have a lot of them.
Throwing a farewell party is another great idea to keep things positive. Make sure to snap pictures of their old house and friends. You can use these photos to create a memory album or collage to commemorate their old life. Don’t forget to buy postcards of your new town to help your kids stay connected with their old friends.
Exploring your new community is also important. Do some research online with your children and visit your new community if possible. Make a map of their new neighborhood or town and include pictures of places that will be important to their lives.
Involve the whole family in the moving process. Assign specific jobs to your kids to help them feel part of the move. Let them pack and label a “favorite things” box that they can open for comfort and security immediately upon arrival to their new home.
Once you’re in your new home, try to maintain familiar routines. Keep bedtime, family mealtimes, and special traditions the same. If you want to boost morale, add a few new toys, a backyard playset, or fun furniture for their bedrooms. And let your children be part of the decision-making process of what to keep and what to donate/discard. Encourage them to decorate their new rooms and make it their own.
Camping can be a fun family adventure to help ease the first night in a new house. Pitch a tent – inside! Make it a cozy and fun experience for everyone.
Finally, make sure to meet your new neighbors early on. Take a walk around the neighborhood with your children and introduce yourselves. They can help connect you to other families with children who are the same ages as yours.
And if you need extra help, there are plenty of online resources available. Sesame Street for Military Families has great tips for parents and downloadable PDFs for children. The Military Child Education Coalition supports military-connected children through education, advocation, and collaboration. Military One Source also provides information, online tools, and personalized support for military families.
So there you have it, folks! PCS may equal stress, but with these tips and resources, you can make this transition a fun and memorable experience for the whole family.