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Helping children through military moves

  • January 18, 2013

Helping children through military moves

Long distance moving is always difficult for children, especially when they're members of military families who frequently relocate. When permanent change of station (PCS) orders come in, active-duty personnel must contact their bases' transportation offices and contact military moving services to make all the necessary preparations.

However, the most important task during relocation is checking on your children and making sure they're ready for the change. Even kids that have been through multiple PCS moves may not react well to being told that they're heading to new homes.

Sit them down
You shouldn't hide the issue from your children - you should be upfront. As soon as your PCS orders arrive, you should sit your sons and daughters down to explain that you'll be moving shortly.

Be prepared for a difficult and emotional conversation and explain that relocation is a regular part of your job. Research various activities and social programs that your child can participate in once you arrive at your new base.

Keep them involved
Separation anxiety is a common problem children face during relocation because they're leaving all their friends behind. While moving is difficult and stressful, you should ensure that you're spending time with your kids so they don't feel as if you're leaving them too.

Keep your children involved so you can reassure them that moving isn't scary or worth being worried about. Allow your sons and daughters to pack a few boxes on their own or assist you with cleaning your current living space.

Pick out toys
Military parents should allow their children to have their favorite toys while on the road. While it may not seem like a good idea to pack every action figure and doll, the entertainment options can keep kids calm during the move.

Additionally, your children's toys might not be in the first box you unpack when you move into your new residence. The items you allow your kids to keep in their overnight bags can keep them distracted so your kids won't grow bored and upset while you're unpacking.

Take them out
A new area is always terrifying to children. An unfamiliar spot can be confusing and intimidating, especially if all the other kids on or near your base have formed tightly knit social groups.

Explore your new neighborhood with your child and encourage them to interact with their peers. Schedule play dates with other soldiers' sons and daughters so your kid can meet new friends.


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