My family and I are currently in the home stretch of my husband’s third deployment. As I make arrangements for our PCS move from Virginia to Texas, minus my husband, Military OneSource continues to hold my hand through it all. The resources and advice found on their website blow my mind because I do not remember this wonderful and infinite information rainbow being available during our first deployment several years ago. Then again, I had everything figured out back in the day when we were military newbies!
One of the most useful, yet insightful articles found on Military OneSource was “Healthy Parenting During a Move.” Moving can be stressful for all family members, but children are especially vulnerable to changes in routine and environment. Fortunately, you can do a lot to help ease the transition for your child.
By following these tips, you can make moving a more pleasant and less stressful experience for you and your child during your next move:
1. Let your child know what to expect.
Adults and children alike are subject to fear of the unknown. In clear and simple terms, and with a level of detail appropriate to your child’s age (older children can handle more information than young ones), explain what will happen throughout the move so your child feels more involved in the plan and process.
2. Give your child a special role during the move.
Something as simple as taking care of pets or packing snacks can make your child feel more empowered and an important part of the moving process.
3. Allow children to keep their favorite things with them.
As long as space allows, having a familiar toy, blanket, or other favorite object nearby may ease your child’s stress in an unfamiliar situation or place.
4. Keep a positive attitude.
Children often look to adults for cues as to how to react in different situations. Set a good example by maintaining an upbeat outlook throughout your move.
5. Let your children adjust at their own pace and in their own way.
Your children’s behavior-throwing tantrums or becoming withdrawn is a good indicator of how they’re feeling. Understand that these changes are normal.
6. Encourage your child to ask questions, and be available to talk and listen.
Your child may be more comfortable expressing emotions through play or art. No matter how you communicate, make sure your child knows you’re there to answer questions.
7. Maintain routines as much as possible.
Routines give your child a sense of security and stability. When you can’t stick to your usual routines, remind your child that moving is hectic, but once you get settled in your new home, things will go back to normal.
8. Plan breaks.
Give your child something to look forward to each day. Activities could include a meal at a favorite restaurant, swimming at the hotel, visiting nearby popular attractions, or giving a small gift as a reward for your child’s help during the move.
9. Celebrate your new home.
Give your child a great first memory in your new house and something to look forward to throughout the trip by planning a fun activity after you arrive.
These bullets above may seem like common-sense ideals, but I challenge you to keep in mind that these will help our children through the tough days ahead as this is PCS season. We can do this together!
Best wishes to a safe move with a speedy delivery to include no damaged goods in your military move shipment.