One of the challenges of raising kids in a military family is having to move more often than civilian families. A lot of military families move once every three to four years, sometimes even every two years, or less. As a parent, you want to figure out how to best help your children through a PCS.
This means that many military children attend many different schools and are often the new kid or having to make new friends because all of their friends moved away. This part of the military life can be a struggle.
As a parent, how do you help your children through a PCS?
How do you help them understand that this is all apart of your lifestyle?
What can you do to make PCSing every few years easier for them?
Helping Your Children Through a PCS Before You Leave
- If your children are quite young, you probably won’t be sitting down with them about the PCS. You will just be working to try to make the process a smooth one. They might notice changes in their home and that is important to recognize as well.
- For an older child, you will want to let them know what is going to be happening ahead of time. Then they have time to get used to the idea and spend some time with friends that they are going to have to say goodbye to.
- Get them excited about their future home and new duty station. Let them know some of the fun things you can do when you get there that you can’t in your current area. Let them help with picking out a new place to live or which room they will have. Give them a little bit of control when you can give it to them.
- Having a goodbye party might be a good idea too. Your kids can invite their friends for one last party. A goodbye party can be a way for them to say goodbye to all of their friends, and make a few memories while doing so.
Helping Your Children Through a PCS After You Arrive at Your New Duty Station
- After you get to your new location, explain to your kids what they can expect at their new school. This is especially important if you move in the middle of the school year. School-age kids are going to want to know what they are walking into.
- Find out exactly what they are nervous about and talk things over with them. That will go a long way in helping them get used to their new surroundings. They might have worries and fears you haven’t thought about and good communication is the best way to work through them.
- Make sure you are taking them places to meet new friends once you get to your new home. Check your local MWR for kid’s activities and events to go to. If you have smaller kids, you can take them to the park because most likely there will be other kids to interact with there, and maybe other parents for you to meet too.
The most important thing is that they know that you are in control of their future, even if you are not totally sure what it looks like. Your kids will look up to you and will want to know that everything is going to be okay. Let them talk to you about what they are feeling and do your best to help them out.
Keep in mind that each of your children might handle the PCS differently. You could have one child be completely chill about everything and another bothered by any type of change.
The truth is, you know your own children, their personalities and what they might need. You can apply this to a PCS just like you would any other situation. That is going to be the best way to help your children through a PCS.
Here are a few helpful links to help your children through a PCS:
- Military OneSource
- PCSing with Kids in School? This Needs to Be Your First Stop
- PCSing With a Toddler
- The Ultimate PCS Checklist for Changing Schools With Military Kids
- Children’s Books Help Prepare Military Children for PCS
- Sesame Street for Military Families
Are you moving to a new duty station soon?