It’s your third Permanent Change of Station (PCS). You had finally become comfortable in the last town where you lived. You knew where to shop the bargains and where all of the good places to eat were. Your children liked their school, and you and your spouse had your group of friends. Now you must rebuild all of that in a new city.
Moving can be tough, especially for the military family. Most families develop a system after so many PCS’s, but for the young military family the first few moves can be very stressful.
Here are some tips to help make the transition smoother.
Being a “military brat” is often a badge of pride for both children and adults. I know because, not only am I a military veteran, I am also a “military brat”. My father served in the Army for 22 years. We traveled to Europe and around the US, met all sorts of people and encountered a variety of cultures. Sometimes military kids can become a bit smug when they relate their life experiences to their “normal” friends.
May is National Moving Month. That means now is a great time to focus on the members of your military family who might
not handle moving so well — your pets.
These companions, most commonly cats or dogs, warmed their way into your heart and when moving day comes, the tension can be stressful. A little planning and patience can help pets have a smooth transition that puts a premium on their well-being.
When pets are moving with a family, it’s important that they start adjusting early. This is usually easier for dogs because many owners will bring them along on car rides long before moving is ever a concern. Cats are a different story.
Most felines only see the outside of a home a few times in their life. On top of that, the trips are often linked to traumatic memories such as going to the veterinarian, which is why acclimating cats (or other pets not accustomed to life outside the home) early to traveling is always best.
To accomplish this, put a pet’s carrier in the home. Owners can use blankets, toys and treats to help pets adjust to the unfamiliar space inside the carrier. The same goes for a car. Take your pet on short trips and ease them into riding along in a moving automobile.
When a pet arrives, don’t give them free reign over the new space right away. Dogs might be overly excited and risk harm in the moving process. Cats might turn into a recluse at the sight of a new large area to roam. Confining pets to one room will keep them out of the way and lessen their stress.
It’s also a good idea to ease your pet into this new living situation. Letting an animal spend a few nights with the new family prior to moving will limit the signs of stress. Just don’t forget to give that lovable pet a big hug before the family leaves.
If a pet can’t come along, but the owner will return, like with deployment, it’s also recommended to acclimate a pet as soon as possible. The best option is asking a family member to watch a pet while the owner is away. When family members aren’t available, there are other good choices, including:
There may also be times when uprooting a pet doesn’t make sense or fit into a family’s needs.
If a pet can’t be moved, no matter the circumstances, the best option is to give a pet to someone the animal is familiar with. Giving a pet to another family member or friend is preferable. Foster care and adoption services can also help.
One of the most difficult tasks associated with moving into a new place is making your house feel more like home. Even if your name is on the deed, it may take a while for you to really feel like you’ve found a home.
Military families may have an especially hard time in this process because of common moves and family separations. It is common for service members and their families to subconsciously avoid attachment to particular houses and locations due to the frequency of separations but this can quickly make you feel uneasy.
It is important to feel at home in your house. Even with the difficulties of the military, there are things you and your family can do around the new house to help ease your emotions and make you feel at home. See More
Military families endure a lot of stress whether it’s with a deployment, PCS, TDY or other military challenges. It’s no wonder that some families choose to avoid any additional stressors, including owning a pet.
But the mental and physical health benefits a pet can provide may be well worth the extra consideration.
Here are 12 benefits of having a pet that you and your family might consider:
One of the most difficult parts of a PCS with a family is ensuring your children receive a good education, no matter where you live. Choosing a school district from a distance can be difficult when you don’t know people in the town you are moving to. Here are some key things to research in your quest for the best school for your family. See More
The transient nature of military life means it’s not altogether uncommon to hear about a service members’ child attending nine schools before graduating high school. In fact, more than 1 million children of military parents relocate every year, according to the the U.S. Census Bureau.
Unfortunately, the timing doesn’t always work out, meaning schoolchildren are at times faced with a move during the school year. A student may be in the middle of earning a foreign language credit and serving as captain of the lacrosse team, only to move to a school that doesn’t offer either.
These are difficult moves for both families and young students. But here’s a look at six ways to help ease the transition as much as possible: See More
Much of military life is spent on the move.
Service members are typically transient, spending a few years in one location before packing up to head to a new installation. Moving can be an exciting time, but every decision is linked directly to time, effort and, of course, money.
Here are some moving tips that can help maximize your budget and your sanity: See More
When a parent is deployed for service the impact on children can be hard for them to handle.
To help provide military families with the resources and emotional support to deal with the absence of a family member the Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, has created the Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes initiative.
Even after years of experience and multiple deployments under their belts, families are constantly learning new challenges to the military lifestyle.
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is handling judgment and ignorance about military issues from those closest to us.
Many of the readers on our Military Spouse and Family Facebook pages have dealt with this judgment firsthand and inspired these tips for bridging the learning gap and trying to respectfully inform those closest to you about military-specific struggles. See More