Five Tips for Moving Kids When You're in a Military Family

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What strategies do military parents have for handling mid-year moves with a child in elementary school? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Jim Gordon, third generation to serve in the US military, on Quora.

The main strategy that will work for parents is to set a positive, constructive example. Be excited and optimistic. Get the kid involved. Make the experience an adventure, to be enjoyed.
  • The first tactic is to manage the calendar as much as possible. The best time to move is as close as possible to the mid-year hiatus.
  • A "smooth move" is important, so that housing move-in and packing/unpacking are minimal disruptions.
  • Military people are a highly mobile sub-population, and it is possible that children will find old acquaintances wherever they move. This can be good or bad, of course. Often, the school you're leaving will know who else has moved to your destination; Ask your child about these potential "old friends."
  • Children of civilian residents of a town will often have classmates with whom they started schools, and will have seen more mobile kids move away. They will have no understanding of or appreciation for living abroad or in other parts of the USA. It can be useful to use sports, youth activities, religious interests and business contacts to help children get plugged in to the local community.
  • When the destination school is associated with the base where your military member is assigned and where you will be living, the process is easier. Kids can talk with those they meet about where they've lived and who they know in common.
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