5 QUICK ways to get your kids EXCITED about an OCONUS PCS
PCS moves can certainly be a scary experience. There’s tons of uncertainty about your new location, the friends you’ll make and the idea of starting all over again being new in town. For an OCONUS PCS move, times that fear by 10. As an adult, I feel this way about every PCS so I can only imagine how our children must feel about not being in control of their lives and surroundings. OCONUS PCS moves can be quite the shock but they don’t have to be. Here are 5 quick ways to get your kids excited about an OCONUS PCS.
Talk to your Kids Right Away about their Feelings
As parents, we want to protect our kids as best we can physically, mentally and emotionally. We have to remind ourselves that while we made the choice to marry into the military (some of us) our children are born into this lifestyle. It can feel like a good idea to wait to tell them news and break their spirits at a “good time” but there is no good time to tell them that their lives will change. It is a good idea to have healthy family discussions with open lines of communication. There may be anger and frustration but with enough time and family support, you’ll have a better chance of healing and getting your kids excited about the adventure that awaits them!
Start a PCS Bucket List
In a previous post about “How to Fall in Love with Your Duty Station” I discussed making a Bucket List to make each duty station seem more like an adventure and less like a chore (Click HERE to read). The same goes for the kids. To get them excited about the move, it’s best to help them understand what to expect and all the fun things that can happen because of the move. To achieve this, consider creating a few family bucket lists. One can be for the actual PCS (What you want to do before leaving your current duty station or planning a PCS vacation). Another bucket list can be what you hope to do when you arrive at your OCONUS duty station (places you want to travel, learning a new language, hobbies you want to pick up). The excitement comes from having something to look forward to.
Immerse Your Children in the Culture
Culture shock is a very real thing. As soon as you receive pin point orders and alert your children of the move, you’ll want to begin immersing them in the culture. Watch videos, purchase flash cards for basic greetings, eat the cuisine or learn to make it, check out books from the library or search for cultural festivals or meet ups in your current city. These are all great ways to take the edge off when moving to another unfamiliar country. These experiences should be made fun for the entire family to enjoy and less like a school assignment.
Have your children document the PCS
PCSing is a fact of Military life. Most military children will experience moves to different states and countries at least 6 times (More or Less) in their 18 years of life. It may seem like the end of the world but this lifestyle really builds amazing character traits (Click HERE to read about Military Children character traits) and each move will bring forth new memories to be cherished. Having your children document each PCS in the form of a scrapbook, travel journal, diary or social media can be an excellent way to not only get them excited about adding to their documents but a way to look back on their life as a Military child. They will thank you later…Much LATER!
Have a Going Away Celebration
Leaving friends can be hard and in the Military, the last day of school is pretty emotional. A great way to life your kids’ spirits and get them excited about moving is having a small going away celebration. This is one last time for them to get together with their friends in one place and celebrate the next steps in their lives.
These were our 5 QUICK ways to get your kids excited about an OCONUS PCS. Remember that your kids are human, they too will go through the stages of PCS grief. They will be sad but then they will get excited and adjust to their new surroundings. What they need most is the love and support of their families and with these tips, you’ll be off to a great start. Happy PCS season!
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