Being a military family means that you know what it's like to spend your life helping to protect the country. You make many sacrifices over the years, including having to move to different locations.
Military families are often told last minute that they're moving to a new state, or even a new country. While parents are able to understand and accept the news, kids have a much more difficult time.
In order to help your kids transition through your next move, here are some helpful tips that will make the move a little easier.
Let Them Know Early
The first and most problematic part of a sudden military move is that it happens so quickly. One day, kids are living their lives and having fun with their friends, and then the next they have to come to peace with the fact that their lives will change completely very soon.
The best thing you can do to help your family transition for a military move is explain what's going to happen as early as possible to your kids. Let them voice their concerns and help walk them through what the move will be like.
If kids get more time to process an upcoming move, it'll seem less scary to them. Try to allow them to have as much time as possible to get used to the idea of the move so they feel included in the process.
Encourage Their Help
Another part of what makes a sudden move so traumatizing is that kids feel helpless. Their entire lives are uprooted without anyone asking how they feel or if they want to go.
When you can, encourage them to help with the move. Give them control over how they pack their room. Let them label the boxes and choose what goes with them and what's donated.
You can also get them to help plan their future home. Ask them how they want to decorate their new rooms once the move is complete and give them magazines or pictures to flip through for fun inspiration.
Visit Their Favorite Places
An important part of accepting a move is also learning to properly say goodbye to their current lives. While kids might not feel comfortable having a goodbye party or formally saying the word to their friends, you can help them say goodbye in other ways.
Take them to all their favorite local places before you move. Give them one last trip to the ice cream shop or the toy store they always beg to visit. Wherever you've made memories, go visit those places for a final time.
It'll help if these visits are spread out between when you tell them and when you move, so they have that important time to accept that the move is really happening.
Use Family Decorations
Kids also need help after the move is complete. Once you're in your new home, decorating it the right way can speed up your kids' process of adjusting to the new place.
You can keep family as the center of decorating by hanging things like family photos, your kids' artwork or the good grades they bring home from school.
Put your family's decor all around your home to make it feel more lived in. Drape the blankets your kids nap under over the couch and set up a coat rack for backpacks and jackets. Being able to recognize the decor around their home will make kids much more comfortable.
Get Involved With Clubs
Kids can easily feel alone in a new place, especially if they're not super sociable. You can't force them to make friends, but you can help put them in social situations where it'll happen naturally.
Once you know where you're moving, look around online to find clubs your kids can join. That will really help them adjust by giving them fun things to look forward to where they can bond with other kids who share similar passions.
The key is to not overwhelm them. If they join too many clubs at one time, they'll feel too pressured to really enjoy what they join. Instead, show them what clubs are available in town and let them pick what they want to do.
Make Fun Plans
Whether your kids like the idea of joining a club or not, you can always make fun plans with them for a little family bonding.
What did they like to do where you used to live? Was there an aquarium you could visit or a special park with lots of swings? See if there's an equivalent to that where you live now.
It's also important that they make new memories that help them bond with their new town. Read about festivals happening near your new home or unique events your kids would love. After they start making memories, it'll be easier to get comfortable with their new routine.
Host Parties with Friends
The final idea you can use to help your kids cope with a move is to celebrate the friendships they make. They may be the kind of kids who make lots of friends, or they may cherish one or two close friendships.
Either way, host a party or two to bring their friends over and celebrate their new friendship. You can center the party around an upcoming holiday or a birthday. As long as it gives your kids a chance to hang out with their new friends, it will help them love where they live.
Military moves are inevitable, so your upcoming move probably isn't your last. That means that in the future, your kids will probably struggle with the same feelings, but they may not feel comfortable enough to voice them.
Stay flexible with how you help your kids through moves. A move is hard for any kid, but especially for those who have to move so often. Pay attention to what they like to do when they make themselves at home in a new place. See if you can join in with them on things like decorating your home, or help them adjust by introducing them to the new town.
As long as your kids know they can always come to you with their thoughts and concerns, you can work with them to make any move an easy one.