Sitting at the kitchen table, having breakfast with my children, I look at them and wonder how much time flies by. My oldest is 17 and my youngest is 12. My sons have been through four moves and three new schools in their lives so far. They are so brave, I couldn’t imagine myself as a child moving so much and going to new schools. It must be a scary thing.
I asked them how they felt when they heard the news that Dad received new orders. My oldest right away said “It sucked, but that’s our life!” I asked him to tell me more.
“I am so used to moving that it doesn’t bother me anymore. I still get to talk to my friends through social media every day.” He said when he gets to a new school, he just deals with it, there is always someone new, today is just his day.
He shrugs his shoulders and leaves the table. Teenagers.
I turn to my youngest and he sits there, with his head down, and mumbles, ”It’s easy for him.” My oldest is very social, he plays all school sports, and involves himself in the community as much as he can. So I can see fitting into a new school and community could be easier for him. My youngest is the total opposite, he is very shy and not very social at all; it takes him longer to adapt to his new school.
Having that small conversation with my sons made me think about how stressful moving can be for a child. It also made me realize that every child is different and each handles moving differently. I wanted to talk more to my youngest to find out what can we as parents do to help kids deal with moving, and how to make it better. If you have younger kids, consider these tips ahead of your PCS:
- Break the news as soon as possible. Don’t wait until movers are coming to pack things up.
- Tell them in a fun and exciting way, maybe over their favorite dinner.
- Keep a positive attitude! Children can feel your vibes.
- Go online with your children and together find fun facts and things to do at your new destination.
- Find out what school they will be attending and look up the information for new students.
- If possible, visit your new location before the actual move. Or take a virtual journey!
- Consider these books to read together ahead of a move.
- The more familiar children are about their new surroundings, the easier it will be to adjust once you move there.
Moving can be hard, don’t assume your children will be okay with it all. One thing my sons did tell me was that even though moving is hard, it has made them able to make new friends and try new things that they never thought they would. Treat moving like a new adventure, not a death sentence!
What tips do you have for parents moving with kids? Share them with us in a comment!
Posted by LaTanya Roldan. Military Spouse and National Military Family Association Volunteer, Mountain Home AFB