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Making the Move Easier for Military Children

Children in new home with moving boxes

Moving to a new home can be both exciting and overwhelming for adults and children alike. Advance planning helps ensure there will be plenty of time for transition and adjustment for your child. Connecting to friends, family and your military community can help ease the stress of uncertainty. Military OneSource offers a variety of resources and assistance to help make your next move a smooth one for the entire family.

Your school liaison can assist with your child’s school transition.

School liaisons are your primary point of contact for all school-related matters, especially a school transition. The school liaison at your current installation can connect you to your new installation school liaison who will help smooth the transition to your child’s new school. Let your school liaison help you and your family navigate school selection and youth sponsorship and support your child’s special education needs during this time of change.

  • 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.
  • 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 it’s 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.
  • Help your children connect to others who have gone through similar experiences. Sesame Street for Military Families can help younger children with the transition.
  • Select your child’s next school with assistance from your local school liaison. As soon as you receive your move orders, reach out to your local school liaison and check out the Changing Schools MilLife Guide. Your local school liaison can help you prepare for your child’s new school by connecting you with the school liaison at your new installation who will help you:
    • Determine which school options and programs are a good fit for your child. From magnet programs to sports teams, school liaisons know the local education landscape. They will take the time to understand your child’s academic, extracurricular and social needs and wants and make school recommendations accordingly. Whether your child needs a school culture with a strong art, orchestra or sports program, your school liaison can help you identify available school options so that your child can feel at home faster in his or her new environment.
    • Choose housing near a school that is a good fit for your child. Once you identify the right combination of academic and social factors that are important for your family, your school liaison can help orient you to your new geographical area. Your school liaisons are familiar with the zones that map to the schools and youth programs your family desires.
    • Explore special education support available at your new installation. Local school liaisons offer a variety of education support for family members with special needs, including help with transitioning to a new school, navigating the special education system in your current school or addressing general education issues and needs. School liaisons can assist with referral to the DOD Exceptional Family Member Program. They can also help you with a range of issues related to a child’s education including eligibility, enrollment, placement and graduation covered under the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission.
Image of Podcast Microphone

How School Liaisons Can Help With Special Education podcast

Listen to this podcast to learn how school liaisons can help with special education and find the resources and support available to your family.

    • Connect to youth programs outside of schools. Every installation has unique partnerships for children, youth and teens in the military and civilian communities. School liaisons know what is happening on and off base and can help your child, youth or teen connect to child care and extracurricular activities, such as youth sponsorship programs. Through a youth sponsorship program, your child or teen can be paired with a peer at your new location and even correspond with him or her before arrival at the new installation.
    • Connect to Mission: Youth Outreach through Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This program provides free membership to local civilian BGCA clubs when an installation youth center is too far away. Read more about military youth and teen programs on Military OneSource. For installation-specific youth programs available to your child, contact your local school liaison.
  • Give your children space and answers. They may have a lot of questions, so listen patiently and answer as best you can. Help your children research their new school, nearby parks and installation activities. The adjustment — for you and your children — will take time.
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Talk to a professional. Some transitions are tougher than others. Reach out to the Military and Family Life Counseling Program if your child needs someone to talk to. Child and youth behavioral counselors can help with your child’s concerns. Find a child and youth behavioral counselor by contacting your installation child development centerinstallation youth center or local school liaison.

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. If you have questions or would like additional information, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, view overseas calling options or schedule a live chat 24/7.

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