Article by: Carla Olivo
Military kids tend to be as resourceful as their parents, coping and many times embracing the change that is inevitable with the military lifestyle. We often refer to them as the “Silent Heroes”. You may have heard the phase, “Military Kids serve too”. One of the biggest concerns for parents during a PCS is how well their children will adjust to their new surroundings. For the kids themselves there are concerns about finding their place in this new location. Will they be able to find friends? Will this new school and new neighborhood ever feel like home? Here are 8 ways to fit in at your new duty station crowd-sourced from military kids and their parents.
#1 Learn as much as you can about your new location. Go to PCSgrades.com to check out neighborhoods and schools. Go to our partners Play Across America to find the nearest playgrounds near your new home.
#2 Visit your new school. My daughter is an avid reader so the first thing she wants to check out is the school library. The nerves about moving always settle down after we visit her new school library or the local public library. This is “home” to her.
#3 For military teenagers, finding a part-time job or babysitting is one way to become part of the community rather quickly. Jobs may become available towards the end of the summer when college students head back to school.
#4 Military kids of all ages can find new friends by joining a church, club or a sports team. Having a common interest can often lead to fast friendships!
#5 Take a break from unpacking those boxes and hang out at the local pool. A quick conversation at the snack bar can often lead to future play dates or at the very least, a familiar face at the bus stop come fall.
#6 Check out what your local Base or Post has to offer. Youth Centers and MWR offices offer a wealth of information about activities and clubs for the kids.
#7 Volunteering. There are any number of volunteer slots that need to be filled at your local school, church, or shelter. You may have a Fisher House, or USO center nearby that has volunteer opportunities. Many bases/posts have thrift shops that need help. Giving of your time is a great way to meet other like-minded people in your community!
#8 Be Positive, Be a Good Listener, and Be YOURSELF*!
(*Crowd-sourced from our mil-kids)
What other tips would you add to this list?
Author: Carla Olivo, a PCSgrades Base Advocate, is a freelance journalist and event planner. She previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation. She has garnered numerous industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, Enterprise Reporting, Documentary Reporting and Society of Professional Journalist awards in News Writing and Spot News Reporting. During her career as a television journalist, Carla covered the search for Manuel Noriega in Panama, Operation Desert Storm, The Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, and their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.