20 Tips to Help Your Kids Through a Move
Posted in: Stories
By Sarah Olsen
A PCS can take a lot of work and energy to make happen for a family. We’ve created a list of tips to help you and your kiddos move smoothly, whether on a car ride or plane ride, to your new home.
Practical Moving Tips
1. Provide an activity kit while you pack boxes. An activity kit can include a book, coloring book and crayons, and an activity book with mazes or word searches, to distract them from stress.
“Read books together about moving,” said Julene, a veteran and military wife. “There are some great picture books that talk about moving that will help kids prepare.
2. Gently and enthusiastically discuss the move as soon as you know about it. It will allow your kids to prepare mentally and say good-bye to their friends.
“Make sure the kids know what’s going to happen and when, and convey a positive attitude,” said Paul, a parent retired from the Air Force and Ohio director in Cru Military®. “Accentuate an atmosphere of ‘happy anticipation’ of the good things that will come with the change of scenery.”
3. Keep your child’s schedule the same as much as possible before and after a move.
4. When talking to your kids, remember that you set the tone. Discuss the move through the lens of going on another adventure.
“Involve them in the process as much as you are comfortable with,” said Julene. “They can help sort through toys or help with other small projects. It helps give them ownership and a sense of control.”
5. If you know what your new home will look like, share a picture with them so they can visualize and prepare to move there. If you know where you will live, try looking up which school they may attend and the logo of their school.
6. Share how even Jesus moved in His lifetime. Explain how Jesus’ parents moved with Him several times when He was young too.
7. Unpack boxes to their rooms first so they feel a sense of security.
8. Establish a routine as soon as you can. Make a chore sheet for them so they can settle into a regular rhythm.
9. Remind your kids that God is always with them no matter where they go. His presence always goes with them.
10. Plan fun things to do at your new location, ahead of time.
Examples include: playing with playdough, juggling, building Legos, conducting science experiments, cooking with kid cookbooks, painting, drawing life-size pictures of each other on the back of wrapping paper, riding bikes, visiting new playgrounds, exploring local parks, baking cookies, visiting a skate park, acting out history lessons, doing a puzzle together, drawing caricatures of one another, coloring or building tunnels using moving boxes, or renting books from a new local library.
11. Help your kids figure out a way to keep in touch with their friends. This could include writing letters to each other or sending texts on your cell phone. You could purchase a fun notepad, colored pens and stickers for them to send to their friends.
Other modes of communication include apps like WhatsApp for messaging and video calls, Zoom for video calls, Marco Polo for video messages, and Signal and Voxer for audio clips.
12. If moving across the country, plan on fun detours like stopping at state parks or national monuments.
13. If moving across the world, share how money will look different (and often more colorful than U.S. dollars) and there will be new foods to try and a new language to learn.
When preparing for long flights to distract her kids, “I wrapped little books and prizes to [have them] open one each hour on the long flights,” said Lisa, my mother and a military wife of over 20 years.
What to Expect
14. Expect big emotions from them, like sadness, fear or anger. Writing in a journal may help them express their feelings.
15. Plan for the worst. They may act out, or may not want to attend school, etc. Give them space to have emotions.
16. Plan for the best. Think of the new adventures and experiences you will have with your kids. Thank them for their adaptability.
17. If you know someone at your newly assigned base, contact them to see if they’re available to meet soon after arriving. Plan a play date with your kids, if they have kids.
18. Make sure to rest well for all the current and upcoming transitions. Sleep well, eat well and enjoy the process.
19. Surrender the process to God. God is supreme over the military. Their plans are unknowingly still surrendered to God’s greater plan for your life. Environments and seasons of life may change but He never does.
20. Remember Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV); “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
At Cru Military, our mission is to fulfill the Great Commission in the power of the Holy Spirit by winning people to faith in Jesus Christ, building them in their faith and sending Christ-centered multiplying disciples who launch spiritual movements in the global military community. To learn more about what we do, go here: https://crumilitary.org/what-we-do/
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Sarah Olsen grew up a military brat, moving every two to three years, growing up. Naturally, she loves to travel and explore new cultures. When she’s not writing, she likes to watch movies, play board games with friends or hike a new trail. She serves with Cru’s Jesus Film Project Ministry in the sunny state of Florida.