Parenthood is full of surprises. Just when you expect a complete meltdown, your resilient military kids shock you by going with the flow. Moving can put the whole house on an emotional rollercoaster. So, here are a few tips that might make your next move a smooth one for your kids — and you:
- Tell your kids about the move as soon as possible. Give your kids plenty of time to adjust to the idea of moving and say goodbye to all their friends.
- Give your kids space and answers. They may also have a lot of questions, so listen patiently and answer as best you can. Help your kids research their new school, nearby parks and base activities. The adjustment — for you and your kids — will take time.
- Give your kids a task. Depending on the age of your kids, there are many ways to help. Older youth might be able to help plan portions of the move, such as searching for new houses online or researching fun things to do on the new installation. Younger kids can help by packing their own "first day box."
- Reassure your kids. Let them know they'll have a new home address, but the important things in life — like how much you love each other — won't change. Your kids take their cues from you. Stay positive and make the move fun to help them feel involved and excited.
- Enjoy your kids' favorite things and places. Before you go, make a point to visit the park, the frozen yogurt shop or another favorite place. You might take something from one of those places to the new house and encourage your child to find a new favorite spot.
Moving is part of military life. It has its challenges, like anything else, but it doesn't have to lead to meltdowns and silent treatment. Plan ahead as much as possible and know: The more you talk about your new home ahead of time, the easier the relocation will be for your kids — and you.