Moving with children can be a little like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. A little perspective and patience is needed for you to fit all the pieces together, as well as allowing plenty of time for transition and adjustment. Here are a few tips to make your next move a smooth one for your children – and you.
- Tell your children about the move as soon as possible. Give your children plenty of time to adjust to the idea of moving and say goodbye to all their friends.
- Give your children space and answers. They may also have a lot of questions, so listen patiently and answer as best you can. Help your children research their new school, nearby parks and base activities. The adjustment — for you and your children — will take time.
- Give your children a task. Depending on the age of your children, 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 children can help by packing their own “first day box.”
- Reassure your children. 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 children take their cues from you. Stay positive and make the move fun to help them feel involved and excited.
- Enjoy your family’s 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.
- Make a plan to experience something new in your future home. You can acknowledge the sadness of leaving friends and routine while at the same time engage your children in the excitement of change. Use a map or globe to show your children where you’re headed and begin researching and exploring the different and unique places geographically near your new home.
- Help your children connect to others who have gone through similar experiences. A great resource for school-aged children, Military Kids Connect can link your children to other children who share the military lifestyle, including the upheaval and excitement of moving.
- Prepare for your move and anticipate your child’s needs and concerns. Planning ahead is key to a smooth move. Visit the Military OneSource Plan My Move page to create a personalized checklist. Keep your tasks in one convenient location, organized by topic or timeline. Whether its locating a new school, securing new housing or preparing financially for the move, the Plan My Move checklist will help ensure you won’t forget a thing, including EFMP & Me assistance at your new installation.
- Take the time and space you need to be in control of your move. Rested and organized parents create a calmer home environment for children amidst the change and disruption of a move. Reach out for child care assistance so that you and your spouse can stay on top of your move and accomplish the necessary tasks. Expanded hourly child care options are available to help you carve out time and space to handle your move details.
Moving is part of military life. The more you talk about your new home ahead of time, the easier the relocation will be for your children — and you. Let Military OneSource help you take care of your family and your move, one step at a time.