Helping your child to adjust during a PCS move is an essential component of a smooth move for many military families. Leaving friends behind, getting used to a new school, and finding new activities are both a challenge and an opportunity. AHRN.com has put together 5 ways to help your child make that adjustment a successful one.
Each child is different – needing support and encouragement in slightly different ways. For each military kid, though, every PCS is full of the unknown. As parents we can take steps beginning as soon as orders to help children see the positive side of a PCS.
It’s Okay To Be Sad
It is both natural and understandable to be sad when facing the prospect of leaving behind friends and familiar places. Encourage your children to acknowledge and express those feelings – even if you are jumping for joy at the news of our next duty station. By validating their feelings, you can let them know that you are proud of them for how they handle a PCS. Address their concerns by making a plan to keep in contact with important people at your current duty station.
Before sharing the PCS news with your children, do your research. Have an idea of what is available that they would find a exciting. A teen soccer player might be thrilled to know there is a top club team just down the road. Local waterparks with great websites can be a way to soften the news to soften the blow. Is there a friend or someone they know well who is currently stationed there who they’ll be able to see? It is all about filling the conversation about our move with opportunities to do something fun!
Create A Duty Station Bucket List
As you make plans for your PCS, take an evening with the whole family to do some joint research about the local offerings near your duty station. Are there any amusement parks, historically significant sites, traditional local fun opportunities? Let each family member contribute to a list of ways to enjoy the new area. Take a little time out from unpacking and getting settled to cross a couple things off your list to create some memories right off the bat!
Make Yourself At Home
Home is where the heart is, but all of your favorite things and a great space that speaks to you sure help to! Let your kids make some plans and pick out something uniquely them when setting up their new space. Painting a room, picking out new bedding or furniture, an wall hangings can all get a kid excited about new possibilities.
Saying “see you later” to good friends is difficult for adults, much less kids who may not completely understand the whys of a PCS. From pre-school on up, a circle of friends is a powerful support system during deployments, separations and the challenges of everyday life. Staying in touch with friends after a move is important, but so is finding new ones! Have a plan in place before you arrive at your new stations help your kids find new friends. Local sports camps, dance lessons, or any where else your child can find a peer with common interests are a good place to start.
We Want To Know:
What challenges have you faced when PCSing with children?