Preparing Your Kids for a PCS Move
Moving is stressful enough for adults. Loading all your life's belongings in cardboard boxes can definitely be a weird thing. But for kids, it can be even more anxiety inducing, depending upon their ages. In preparing your children for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, you'll want to tailor your way of talking to them about it in an age-appropriate manner.
The younger the child, the less he or she will understand what is going on. When a kid is in preschool, he or she will understand very little about the process and perhaps ask questions that you wouldn't have anticipated. For example, a young kid may be confused about what exactly will be coming with him or her to the new base. In this case, you have an opportunity to explain goodbyes and why people aren't gone even when we don't see them anymore.
Elementary school children
At this point, kids will obviously understand more about the logistics of the move, but this may make the relocation a bit harder because they will worry about leaving behind friends (which likely would not be as much of a concern for younger kids). When kids are in elementary school, it is great to involve them in the planning process and enlist them to do little tasks like packing part of their rooms. This both allows the child to feel involved in the relocation and also slightly diminishes the workflow for me.
High school children
This is where things can get trickier. By the time high school rolls around, kids are concerned about their friendships, and this could make the announcement that you're moving an especially upsetting one. Like with elementary school kids, you should enlist their help in doing things to help with the relocation.
Another thing to keep in mind with kids who are in high school is that like you, they need an opportunity to say goodbye to their friends when they're leaving. A great way to do this is to throw a going away party for your family and use the time to bid all your loved ones goodbye in a fun atmosphere. This way, you'll teach your kids that saying goodbye is not necessarily a negative thing. People go on, and their lives will go on when you move to the next base.
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