How to Mentally Prepare for a Military Move
Being part of a military family isn’t always easy, and can result in a very nomadic life. But, that’s part of the gig, and we accept that. So, when that next PCS is looming, you should do what you can to prepare the family as much as possible. Military moves can be tough on you and the kids, which is why you should make sure you’re ready for the move before it happens.
There are certain things you need to look out for and prepare for, as a military family getting ready to move. Even if you are a year or so away, preparing mentally should be done well in advance.
If you have moved in the past, you’ll be a little more familiar with the process. If you haven’t moved in quite some time or have never done so, these tips will help you get started.
This is the perfect time to start thinking about cleaning out those closets and garage. Get rid of excess stuff by either donating, selling it at your next yard sale, or listing on MilTribe.com so that other military families may pick up items they need at reasonable prices. Military moves are stressful enough. By de-cluttering, you will ensure a smoother transition.
Choose a Community
You need to look at the housing options available to you. The good thing is that military families often get well looked after, in these situations. There are plenty of accommodation choices to pick from. The best thing to do would probably be to select somewhere that is a military community. Living on base will provide a safe and secure environment for you and your family to live together and will offer a valuable support network. If you decide to live off base, then select an area that is close enough to base, as well as an area that you have researched. Look into schools, real estate values, crimes rates, employment opportunities and overall community and culture. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of nowhere – unless you like that.
Make Sure You Sort Out Amenities
You need to make sure that the home is going to have all the amenities you want, before you move. You need to check the local area to make sure there are schools, hospitals and police stations in close proximity. You can also start by pricing out and looking into the amenities in and around the home. That means preparing for installation of cable, and researching internet and digital phone plans in your area. Sorting out stuff like this will help you have a much smoother transition and enjoy your new life a little bit more. Plus, if you start early enough, you can shop around and try to save a little money.
Explain the Situation to the Kids
One of the hardest parts about moving is the effect it can have on your kids. They need to know what the situation is and how it’s going to affect them. There are various ways you can cover this, such as:
- Explaining that goodbyes don’t mean forever. Even though you move and don’t see friends, there are so many wonderful ways to stay connected – writing letters, connecting online, or talking on the phone.
- Involve kids in the moving process to help them better understand what it entails. Have them make a moving list for themselves and when they can start packing up their stuff.
- Just because they are kids doesn’t mean they don’t feel like we do. Give kids the proper time and opportunity to say goodbye to friends. A favorite of mine is letting them throw a fun get together or farewell party just for their close friends.
Overall, doing these things will help your kids understand better why the family is moving and uprooting so often. This will help them come to terms with it, and be a little more understanding of the situation.
Making the transition from one area to another is never simple and straightforward. It can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. But, looking at the bigger picture helps. As a family, you’re helping to work towards creating a better world for the next generation. So, bear this in mind, when you prepare for your move as a military family.
About the blogger:
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, mother of two, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, and she is also co-founder of SpouseTalks. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. Currently, Angela serves as a Community Manager for USAA, writing about her experiences in deployment and military life.