When you are facing an unexpected military relocation, you may feel stressed. However, it can be even worse for little ones. Life changes like an unexpected move can make kids feel like the world is ending. As you work through your own feelings about a military relocation, follow these tips to help kids cope with the move to a new home, a new school, and a new phase of their lives.
Listen and Encourage Kids to Vent
You may want your children to sit down and listen to all the reasons why they should love he military relocation. Just don't expect them to be enthusiastic listeners until they feel like they are being heard, too. Start by asking about how they feel about the move and truly try to listen to their answers. Ask open-ended questions to help children express how they're feeling.
Some open-ended questions you may want to ask are listed below.
- How do you feel about moving to a new city?
- What will you miss the most about living here?
- Who do you want to keep in touch with after you leave?
- How do you feel about having a new room? How will you decorate it?
- What do you want to tell your friends about the move?
- What are you most looking forward to exploring about your new home?
- What sights do you expect to see in the new city?
- Why do you think the move may be a good thing?
- How can I make the move easier for you?
When children know you want to hear what they have to say, they are likely to feel empowered to share things with you. When you acknowledge and validate their feelings, you can increase their confidence about the relocation.
Help Kids Feel in Control
Sometimes moving can be scary for children when they feel that they don't have any control. With a military relocation, that can be more intense since they may have little to no say in where the family moves. However, there are some ways that you can help children feel in control.
Offer them options when you can. For example, if the family can afford to fly or drive, you may let kids decide whether they want to go to the new home by flying or riding in the car. Also, you may also offer them the chance to decorate their new room.
Finally, keep in mind that a military relocation specialist may be able to help smooth things over with your upcoming move. When things go smoothly with the move, that can help children relax and have less anxiety about their new home.
When all is said and done, you may find that the unexpected move is a great thing for your entire family. Your kids will settle in when you help guide them through the inevitable changes they'll face, and you may learn a lot as you all grow to love your new hometown.