Adjusting to Your New Home in 3 Steps
06/11/2015 Published by: Amy Soupene
Categories: Moving to a New School
In March I wrote a blog addressing the concerns of PCSing, 3 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Military PCS’s . Military families are masters of packing their lives into boxes and starting fresh - over and over again. With each move, our family experienced a mix of excitement and sadness. Saying good-bye to dear friends was hard, but then we’d take a deep breath and look forward to our new adventure!
No matter how many moves you have under your belt, you still have to prepare for each one with great care. SchoolQuest has an entire section of our Resource Library devoted to Moving to A New School. Although I realize some of you may be past this first step, let’s start with some tips to utilize before the move and then work our way through.
PCS Steps to Success:
- Planning Before the Move
- Exploring Your New Home
- Adjusting to Your New School
Planning Before the Move: Talking about the upcoming move with your child is very important. Your child needs to understand why you are moving and that it’s okay to for them to express their feelings about it. Make time for your child to say good-bye to special people, places and things. Take photos, find special mementos, consider making a scrapbook, or discover some other way to commemorate special memories.
To minimize disruption during the pack out, leave your child’s room until last. Let your child pack up some of his own things. Create a special travel bag that you can pull out when it’s time to hit the road. Include favorite books, toys or any other special items that will comfort your child. Also, one of my secret weapons was to throw in a few inexpensive surprises to be opened along to way. This helped to break up the monotony of the road.
Exploring Your New Home: If possible, set up your child’s room first. For our family we had a hierarchy of unpacking – bedrooms first, kitchen second, then everything else. After moving boxes and hotels, we all craved having our own bed to sleep in and a simple home-cooked meal. It is tempting to start unpacking and keep going until it’s done – I totally understand! But from the perspective of a child this is boring and awful. (Beware – those two things in conjunction signal the end of the universe to a child!)
Remember, our goal is not to just get unpacked but to create a new home. Creating a new home involves knowing our neighborhood and neighbors. Set aside time each day to take walks and meet new people. Find new favorite stores, restaurants, and the school. Visit your local library and get new library cards. Books, movies, and games help pass the time while mom and dad get the new house set up. And take time for you; relax and recharge.
Adjusting to Your New School: This is a challenging and anxious time. It’s a new school with new teachers, friends, and expectations. Once again it is up to you to help your child navigate this phase. Listen when your child talks, what is he most worried about? Let him know he is not in this alone. Learn as much as you can about the new school. Regulations, dress codes, sports, activities and clubs. Tour the school so your child is familiar with it. Ask questions about lockers, lunch cards, and after school procedures whether it is catching the bus or meeting a parent.
Encourage your child to make new friends. This will help make the transition so much easier. Ask if your school has a Student 2 Student® group. Wondering what S2S is? Created by the MCEC®, it is a student-based program to welcome new students to the school. This can help ease the anxiety of transition. Learn more about S2S and see if there’s a program near you!
If you are moving with a special needs child please check out the SchoolQuest article, Moving with a Special Needs Child. This transition requires much planning and organization to create a smooth adjustment. Know what you can do to set up a successful environment for you and your child.
I know I made moving seem oh-so-easy, and it is oh-so-not! But I do find comfort in organization and thoughtful planning. I hope these ideas and resources are helpful. What are some of your tried and true tips? Please share your ideas and advice with us all. The sharing of great ideas is just one of the many aspects of military family life that I love.
Best Wishes! ~Amy
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