Between the three of us here at MilMomAdventures, we’ve done a few moves. There are so many additional things to consider once kids enter the mix and you’re bringing them along on your new adventures. We’ve listed a few tips for PCSing with kids below, and we’d love your tricks as well- please add in the comments!
Ways to Help Kids Through a PCS
1. Talk about what’s happening early and often.
As soon as web orders are cut (almost a guarantee at that point, right?!), start talking about the moving process and timeline, where you are going, and what it will mean to leave friends and familiarity for someplace new.
2. Make it fun and let them be involved.
Even if you aren’t doing a DITY, consider picking up a few boxes to help your child pack up their toys and books. Let them feel like part of the team and in control of their belongings, and help them understand that their stuff will return to them shortly. Building box houses is also a fun way to get into the spirit.
3. Make it a learning and service opportunity.
As we’ve been preparing for this latest move, we have been going through our belongings, pulling out what we no longer need. It’s been rewarding having the kids put aside the clothes that no longer fit them and the toys that they don’t often play with so we can donate to other families.
4. Help them keep in touch with friends.
Create pen pal kits for your children to give to their best friends before they leave. Include envelopes with stamps and your new address already written. You could also gift your child with a Polaroid camera and film, so they can send their friends pictures of their new home and adventures.
5. Keep consistent.
If Friday night is pizza night at your house, stick with it, even if you’re on the road or in a new location. Drive around and let the kids pick out a new pizza place to try.
6. Reassure them that you’re in this together as a family, and let them talk about how they’re feeling.
Be honest with how you feel, too. Chances are everyone is missing friends and longing for some piece of the old neighborhood that you haven’t found at the new.
7. Explore what there is to do at your new duty station, and build a family bucket list together.
This is a fun one! Once you know where you’re headed, look online for the tourism board of your new area. Often times they will be able to mail you a package with information on all the local attractions. We have been gathering information from other military families and building bucket lists here.
If you’re headed to Camp Pendleton, check out San Diego’s tour guide here (you can download or request a paper copy).
Happy PCSing, everyone!!