Skip to main content

Military Health System

Tips for Military Parents Planning PCS Moves with Children

Image of Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age. Yet there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children. A child at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni blows bubbles during a recent Month of the Military Child celebration. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Gabriela Garcia-Herrera)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness

Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age.

Yet there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children.

Army Maj. (Dr.) Dominique Holley, a child psychiatrist and deputy chief at Fort Campbell's Department of Behavioral Health, shared some important tips for military families to help in the PCS process for kids.

How far in advance should parents start connecting with the community they will be moving to?

"Short answer is as soon as possible," Holley said. Sharing information with children about the new location where they will live can be very helpful in helping kids adjust to the idea of living in a new place.

"It will be important to start looking into the known interests of the kids or family such as local parks, scout troops or local churches for activities," she said.

"Moving can be stressful and there typically are mixed emotions surrounding moving from the whole family."

Nevertheless, she said: "Kids generally adapt well overall, forming connections early on to a new place."

What are some suggestions for finding a new doctor?

"Enrollment in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EMFP) ensures that any military family member with chronic medical concerns, physical disabilities, mental health disorders or required intensive follow-up support are stationed where services are available for that family member," she said.

Beneficiaries can search for doctors in a new location on the TRICARE website. Providers in most circumstances reach out to receiving installations to provide warm hand-offs to receiving clinics.

Additional PCS recommendations regarding medical records:

When transferring from installation to installation there is typically no need to transfer medical records as long as there is consistency from one electronic health record (EMR) to the next, Holley explained.

While the MHS GENESIS electronic health record is being implemented at military hospitals and clinics across the Military Health System, that transition is not yet complete. Beneficiaries may have to request their medical records from your hospital or clinic medical record department or patient administration division, if the installation you are transferring from or to is not yet using MHS GENESIS.

"Once MTFs migrate to MHS GENESIS from the Armed Forces Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA) EHR, then they will no longer need to transport paper medical records from one MTF to another," Holley stated.

The process of requesting medical records takes about one or two weeks and requires the approval of behavioral health care providers. "This request should be made about a month prior to PCS to ensure time to obtain records when needed," Holley said.

When traveling to the new location, Holley suggested these activities to keep children engaged while en route:

"Ensure easy access to the most commonly used games and activities and toys while traveling," Holley said.

Also, audio books or tablet computers, depending on the age of the child, can be engaging as well.

Should parents try to keep kids involved in the same type of activities at the new location?

"There are no correct activities necessarily to involve kids in. It largely depends on interests or passions of the kids," Holley said. "If they love certain sports or hobbies, then it makes sense to ensure to make efforts to continue those."

She also suggested that the move might also be an opportunity to try new things and introduce kids to new interest that may be unique to the new school or area.

Are there ways to make goodbyes less difficult for the kids?

"Focus on all the positives of a new place," Holley suggested. "Parents should highlight unique features of the new environment with activities that kids would enjoy."

Planning enjoyable activities in the new city or state ahead of the move can help make the move something to look forward to. Another thing to consider is to plan a return visit to see close friends or family. "Leaving certain people is particularly difficult for kids as well as adults," Holley said.

Any tips for helping kids get organized and prepare for the move?

Make sure to keep commonly used games and toys away from movers so that they are easily accessible for kids during the move. The same applies for their favorite items of clothing, shoes, etc.

Help kids pack a personal bag of their most beloved items to give them a sense of responsibility or control over those things.

"Often times, kids don't have a lot of control over what's happening," Holley said. "Giving them options and helping them to feel empowered with small decisions can be helpful."

Additionally, consider assigning specific tasks during the move for children to focus on. For example, they may oversee ensuring the family pet is fed or has supplies stored away for easy access.

For more information about support programs for military children, visit Military Kids Connect.

You also may be interested in...

As Fitness Tests Resume, Troops Seek Post-COVID Exercise Routines

Article
8/31/2021
Military personnel physically training

Keeping fit during pandemic proves hard for some.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

MHS and MOS Town Hall To Your Health: Dental Health

Article
8/24/2021
MHS and Military OneSource Townhall graphic

MHS and Military OneSource presents a discussion about Dental Health.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health - Dental, Medical & Mental | Total Force Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | TRICARE Dental Care

New Flag and Patch Symbolize Growth at the Defense Health Agency

Article
8/19/2021
Service members from the Army, Air Force and Navy display the new Defense Health Agency patch following a reflagging and repatching ceremony at Defense Health Agency Headquarters in Falls Church.

The DHA will reveal a new flag and seal in a ceremony August 20 to signify the unity of all services under one joint combat support agency.

Recommended Content:

Defense Health Agency | Military Health System Transformation | Health Readiness & Combat Support

TCCC ASM Student Registration v2

Form/Template
8/17/2021

Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute (DMRTI) TC3 ASM Course Manager Student Enrollment Form

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute | Tactical Combat Casualty Care Course (TCCC)

Stay Hydrated for Optimal Performance

Article
8/10/2021
A soldier takes a drink from his canteen.

Proper hydration is key to optimal performance.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

MSMR Vol. 28 No. 08 - August 2021

Report
8/1/2021

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Long-acting reversible contraceptive use, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016–2020; Oral cavity and pharynx cancers, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2019; The evolution of military health surveillance reporting: a historical review

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

AJ-Maste Yoga: Tips for a Healthy Deployment

Article
7/13/2021
Military personnel doing a yoga pose

Yoga comes in many forms and fashions, and has proven health benefits.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Total Force Fitness

CHAMP uses more predictive analytics to improve beneficiary healthcare

Article
7/8/2021
A game of tug-of-war

Military health innovation and Total Force Fitness go hand-in-hand.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | MHS Research Symposium

New Stop the Bleed course designed specifically for HS students

Article
7/7/2021
A medical care training exercise

New First Aid for Severe Trauma Training Can Help High School Students ‘Stop the Bleed’

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Education & Training

MSMR Vol. 28 No. 07 - July 2021

Report
7/1/2021

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Long-acting reversible contraceptive use, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016–2020; Oral cavity and pharynx cancers, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2019; The evolution of military health surveillance reporting: a historical review.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

Turn Post-traumatic Stress Into Post-traumatic Growth

Article
6/30/2021
PTSD Infographic

Myths and facts about post-traumatic stress (PTS) and post-traumatic growth (PTG).

Recommended Content:

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Total Force Fitness | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Aphasia, Caused by Stroke or TBI, is Frustrating and Little Known

Article
6/29/2021
A doctor looking at brain scans

Aphasia is an incurable disease usually caused by stroke that affects all forms of communication.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Heart Health | Centers of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

DHA Spearheads Effort for Working Dog Research Collaboration

Article
6/25/2021
Picture of three different dogs

Working Dog Forum explored research to keep dogs in top form.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Veterinary Service | Public Health | Research and Innovation

Medical Advances Since Gulf War Boil Down to Increased Lives Saved

Article
6/25/2021
Medical personnel training on how to treat a neck wound

Not all medical advances since the first Gulf War are highly technical.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Research and Innovation

Army’s 773rd administers mobile COVID-19 testing during DEF21

Article
6/4/2021
Three military personnel, wearing masks and lab coats, pose for a picture in an Albanian lab.

Approximately 800 Army Reserve soldiers from the U.S. and Europe participated in DEFENDER-Europe 21.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Readiness Capabilities
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 136 - 150 Page 10 of 42
Refine your search
Last Updated: June 03, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery