Military families move every three years on average. Unfortunately, this change can put a lot of stress on the entire family – especially the children.
Some children handle change well, and others don’t. But, either way, a move can be a pretty jarring experience for a child who has close friends nearby and is settled happily into their current home.
If you’re facing military relocation and moving with children, here are several tips that will help make the move easier and keep your children happy:
1. Learn about your new hometown and tell your kids about the fun things to do there.
Start researching interesting things to do in the city you’re moving to. Once you’ve found a few ideas, let your kids know and have them tell you which activities they’d like to try. For example, if your kids are outdoors-y, show them pictures of an awesome local park in your new hometown and ask them when they’d like to visit it.
If you have older kids, you can even get them involved in the research process – they might be excited about helping you plan fun family outings!
Bottom line: when you let your kids know that you’re moving, focus on how exciting the changes and new opportunities will be. By doing this, you’ll help you kids keep their minds off the stressful tasks associated with moving, like changing schools, needing to make new friends, and settling into a new house.
2. Inform your children of certain details of the move to help them feel more at ease.
Uncertainty can be tough on a fully grown adult, so imagine how negatively it can affect a small child!
To help your kids feel more secure throughout the moving process, let them know far ahead of time when the move is going to happen. You’ll also want to tell them when you’re going to start packing so there is no surprise when they come home from school and see some of their stuff in boxes.
3. If your child is involved in activities, try to make sure those activities are available in the new area.
Do your kids play soccer? Go to piano lessons? Take art classes?
Whatever they do, try to plan ahead and make sure they can continue their activities once your family moves. For example, if you have a daughter who plays piano, start scoping out a good piano teacher far before you move so she can transition more easily and pick up right where she left off with her old teacher.
…But what if your new area doesn’t offer the same activities?
Well, that’s where it gets tough. With some activities, you can consider online options or commute to a nearby city that offers what you’re looking for. Yes – it might be a bit tougher for you kids to transition this way, but at least they’ll still get to do what’s important to them!
4. Look up the child’s school online with them.
Constantly changing schools is one of the hardest parts of military relocation. As soon as your child feels accepted and settled in, he or she must start all over again.
It’s easy to understand how this could frustrate even the most adaptable kids. So, help your child get excited about the change by showing them their new school online or scheduling an in-person visit if you live close enough. If the school offers new activities that the previous one didn’t, be sure to mention that. That way, your child will feel like they have opportunities to do things they couldn’t before.
5. Let the kids make certain decisions about the new home.
While you probably don’t want a 5-year-old to decide on what flowers to plant in your garden or what color to paint the walls in your kitchen, you can involve them in decorating your new home a bit by letting them make minor decisions that will feel major to them.
For example, let them choose the color of their new bedroom walls or pick out a fun shower curtain for their bathroom! You might not agree with their taste exactly, but they’ll feel more at home when they’re happy in their space.
6. Have an open conversation and encourage your kids to tell you how they feel.
During difficult times, healthy communication is so important! Even if you find that your kids’ emotions about the move are mostly negative, you can use that as an opportunity to provide them with the encouragement they need during the difficult transition period.
7. Encourage your kids to make new friends while treasuring the old ones.
If you have outgoing children, you probably aren’t too worried about them making new friends. But what if your kids are shy?
First of all, let them know that they can keep in touch with their old friends – this will help them feel like they still have someone their age that they can relate to. If the drive isn’t too far, you can schedule occasional visits. If that’s not a possibility, you can let your child talk to their old friends on the phone or video chat with them via Skype.
As far as making new friends, give your children plenty of opportunities without pushing them too hard. If they’re attending school and involved in activities with other children, they’re sure to meet new friends in time.
8. Use the online resources available to military families.
Need more help planning your move or encouraging your kids throughout the process? Here are a few helpful resources you can use:
- Military OneSource – This site helps military families with all aspects of their lives, including everything from health/wellness to deployment/transition.
- Operation We Are Here – This site offers tons of resources for military families and helps them get the support they need to live happily.
- Military Spouse – Is your husband or wife in the military? If so, this blog is for you!
And keep in mind that, if you’re moving to Killeen as a military family, I can help. I specialize in military relocation to Killeen and would love to chat about what you’re looking for in your next home.
Plus, I know a lot about the area. So, I can easily give you and your family the information you need when you’re moving with children and trying to transition to Killeen.
So, reach out to me, Dagmar Rogers, by calling or texting 254-258-0777. I look forward to helping your family find the right home!