Did you know that military families pack up and move as often as once every three years? Moving entails uprooting your life, and starting over somewhere new. It can be stressful for the average American family, and it can be much worse for military families making frequent moves. Child psychologist Frederick Medway says that members of the family "who are not part of the decision to move" feel the most repercussions. Without any say in the matter, children can feel stressed and disoriented, but parents can take steps to help children adjust better, and feel happier, in their new homes. What kind of steps?
Choose Neighborhoods Carefully
The Department of Defense reveals that there are as many as two million American military children. Why not get them together? Children are likely to feel more comfortable when they are not the odd one out. Military housing privatization initiatives, or choosing military housing on base, may be best for your child. Small towns offer a good selection of military homes, and these homes may help create a sense of community for military kids. Military kids are going to know what it is like to move frequently, and are likely to be more accepting and welcoming to your child.
Larger towns, and limited military housing, may necessitate living off base. In that case, try joining online social groups for military families. If your kids are younger, you can make friends and arrange play dates with other moms. Parenting military teens may take a bit more work. Try encouraging teens to join clubs or sports teams, to make friends more quickly.
Without research, military families risk having gaps in children's educations. All educational systems are not created equal, and military parents need to be aware of crucial differences. School ratings factor into most military families' decisions to move. Search online, or visit schools in person whenever possible, to get a better idea of what to expect. Former "military brat" and blogger Debra Lu Kaiser revealed military move-related gaps in her education to the National Council on Family Relations. According to Kaiser, curriculums and concepts varied so much that she missed crucial lessons, like multiplication and division.
Military moves can be stressful, but do not forget about the most important member of your family, your child. Consider important military housing privatization initiatives. Put children first, recognize that military moves may upset them, and help them adjust with the best possible neighborhoods and schools.
For more research, read our on and off base review near U.S. military bases!