Typically a PCS is done during the summer, however there are quite a few moves that also take place during the academic school year. If you have ever been in this situation, you are dreading it. Moving itself is stressful, but PCSing in the middle of the school year, well, that seems impossible!!
First things first, its ok to cry and pout about it. The saying, “you know what you were getting yourself into when you married military,” doesn’t mean you can’t feel all these emotions of grieving. You are leaving behind friends, familiar places, and favorite things to do.
Ok, now that your pouting is over, GET IT TOGETHER!! YOU GOT THIS!!
Of course, you start with the logistics of setting up the movers and researching where you are going. Use your resources and reach out to Facebook friends and groups. Ask fellow spouses if they are familiar with the area, where the best places to live are and what schools to attend. I always do research on the schools thru the state and district websites and check out the academic calendar. In the end, you know everything will be fine. You know what is happening and you have done this before, if not once a million times. You have all that under control.
Now the main question is, how can we help make our kid’s transition smoother during this time of high stress and anxiety?
It’s no secret that for MilKids each move is harder and harder. MilKids find this transition especially hard to deal with smack in the middle of the school year. They are loosing friends, stability and familiarity from the last 3 (or so) years. Their behavior usually is effected in some way or another. All kids are different. They may lash out by misbehaving or by withdrawing.
We like to tell our kids as soon as possible. Telling them ahead of time gives them the opportunity to prepare for the move emotionally, to ask questions, grieve and spend as much time with friends or family before moving. As a family, this is the time to share your fears, tears and thoughts about the move with your children. I find that communicating with them what you are feeling reassures them. It helps them to understand that what they are feeling is normal. In addition, they may be more open to discussing their issues with you versus acting out.
Share, share, share. I can’t stress this enough. When you become aware of information share it with the kids. This makes them feel more like a part of what is going on. When you secure housing, share the floor plan or pictures with the kids. When you find their new school, show them the school website and talk about up and coming school events to look forward to attending. Doing this helps take the anxiety of the unknown out of the picture.
I also find having some resources is a plus when you PCS during the school year. During our last move I got the kids involved with some of the items listed below. They loved them! They were able to explore and stay connected during the PCS period.
- Google maps/Earth I wish, I wish, I wish I had this when moving around as a kid! This app allows children to see what their future living area looks like – the future home, park and school, etc. It helps take away some of the anxiety of the unknown.
- OVOO I know I love this app! The kids can set up a time to talk to all their friends at once…it’s such afun too!!
- Power Thought Cards kids, especially tweens, can have many insecurities. These cards helps provoke positive thoughts and messages.
- Sesame Street for Military Families– This app is for younger children. It’s a fun app about moving with colorful characters and positive endings.
- A journal– They can doodle, write feelings, stories or poetry and draw in their own book. I love to see the inspiration from traveling in these journals. They tell stories you may never have known.
Once you arrive, explore! Don’t be a hermit, venture out and explore your new area. Get excited with the kids about all of the great things you have to look forward to at your duty station.
Once your household goods arrive, start making your new house a home. This will make you feel better and productive. It will also allow for a quicker transition for the kids to feel more at home when things are in place. You will be settled in no time.
In the end, uprooting is very hard. But, its all what you make of it. And that’s what we teach our children each time we move. How parents deal with a PCS, is how our military children deal with it. These moves, though hard or traumatic at times, actually prepares our amazing MilKids for the future of this forever changing world.
P.S. MILKIDS ROCK!!!
Moni is an Air Force Spouse and mother of 3 brilliant children that has found time as a SAHM to finish her Bachelors in Public Relations. She has moved over 13 times as an Army brat and now an Air force MilSpouse. This has allowed her to see things from different views. During her husband’s last deployment, she was inspired to write about her military lifestyle from a candid, sassy, bold and witty perspective. She hopes that by sharing her experiences that it will encourage other spouses to find their voice in this journey of constant change and uncertainty……all this has been accomplished with buckets of prayer, glasses of wine and a few colorful words.