*Guest Post by Jeremy Silverstein.
A military family move can be stressful for adults, but even more so for children. Uprooting your kids from their community can be challenging, especially when they must say farewell to close friends. Whether you’re relocating across the country or from a civilian community into on-base housing, there are ways you can help your children embrace the transition and acclimate to their new home.
Here are six tips to make military moves easier on children.
1. Inform Your Kids About the Move ASAP
Although talking with your children about moving can be difficult, telling them sooner rather than later can give them time to process the news. Treat it as a special announcement or call it a new family adventure. Just be sure to stay upbeat during the conversation. Focus on five positive aspects about the move such as; having a new area to explore. Your kids may just feed off your enthusiasm and get excited themselves.
2. Let Your Kids Help
Allow your little ones to help you with the planning, sorting and packing — it will involve them in the moving process. Encourage them to pack their own belongings and let them help you browse houses online. Even the simplest tasks, such as labeling boxes, can make them feel like they’re active participants in a family endeavor.
3. Address the Loss of Friends
Children need closure before they start over in a new school and city. Make sure to give your kids time to say farewell to the friends they’ve made and the places that played a huge part in their lives. For older children, closure can be a going-away party or dinner out with friends. For young kids, it could be visiting their favorite park one last time. Encourage your children to maintain connections with their friends across the miles, whether by phone, email, video chatting or snail mail. Teach your kids the simple phrase “see you later” instead of “goodbye”— it can help them understand that moving doesn’t necessarily mean an ending.
4. Maintain Your Routine
Children thrive in a structured environment. Maintaining your day-to-day routine is necessary to help them feel stable and secure, especially during the chaos of moving. Try to keep a predictable schedule for eating, naps and bedtime. Having a routine offers a sense of normalcy, which can go a long way toward helping your kids adjust to their new home. It also can help keep everyone’s stress levels to a minimum during the moving process.
5. Show Your Kids as Much Love as You Can
Kids tend to be particularly vulnerable during periods of transition, so it’s vital to show them some extra love and understanding. Whether it’s lots of hugs and kisses or spending more time together, showing your support and sharing a positive moving experience can help your kids cope.
Encourage your children to share their feelings, ask questions, and talk to you-especially if they’re having a tough time. Acknowledge their emotions and let your kids know that it’s normal to feel sad, scared, or angry when moving to a new and unfamiliar location. Don’t be afraid to share your own feelings. Doing so can open the lines of communication. Be sure to reassure your youngsters that the adjustment will get easier in time.
6. Attend On-Base Community Events
Once you’re settled into your new community, give your children the chance to fall in love with their new home by attending various kid-friendly events. Many military bases offer numerous activities and sports for youngsters. These programs help encourage socialization and your kids may even meet new friends who have similar life experiences.
Parenting plays a big role in how well your children come to terms with a constantly changing address. By maintaining open communication and following these handy tips, a military move can be an experience they look forward to with excitement instead of dread.
© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2019.
About the Author: Jeremy Silverstein is Vice President of Operations and Vehicle Dispatching at Veteran Car Donations. During the years he’s been with the organization, he has become quite an expert in the industry and has handled tens of thousands of donated vehicles.
“Veteran Car Donations is a national organization that partners with well-known veteran nonprofits to accept vehicle donations on their behalf. Donations are used for improving the lives of United States veterans. Find out how you can donate your vehicle by visiting our website below.”
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