New Mexico Kids! Family Magazine May June 2013 : Page 10

Military Families: For Many, Summer Means Moving the Family – Again By JACEY BLUE RENNER For many families, summer means the beginning of an academic break, often celebrated with family vacations to national parks and small beach towns, or with neighborhood barbecues and swim lessons. But for military families, the summer often marks a season of change, with many pulling up stakes and heading to new homes and new bases across the globe. At Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, hundreds of families come and go throughout each year, but it is between June and August, that Permanent Change of Station, or PCS, as it is known internally, reaches its peak. Some families stay for a few months to complete training, while others put down temporary roots, building a new community for their family, and settling in, sometimes staying up to five years in the Duke City. During the summer of 2011, Cynthia Huntsman, then eight months pregnant with her second child, her husband John and son Asher, experienced their first military family move together, to Albuquerque from Germany. She remembers “an overwhelming feeling of excitement, knowing our family was about to embark on a crazy, unpredictable adventure together.” The family celebrated young son Asher’s third birthday days after coming stateside. They house-hunted and looked for the best way to fit their growing family into their newly adopted community. Newly transplanted Cynthia and John Huntsman share the view from Sandia Peak with their boys Asher (front) and Ryker. Courtesy photo. Statewide “The biggest challenge was worrying about how the move was going to affect Asher socially and emotionally. In effect, we were uprooting him from everything he ever knew,” Huntsman says. “With Asher, I worked really hard on maintaining a daily routine that would provide him with as much consistency and normalcy as possible, despite both of our work schedules. The PCS, I feared, would throw a wrench in my plans and effort.” Huntsman’s concerns are both apt and common. According to a newly released article from the American Forces Press Service, the director of the Pentagon’s office of family policy and children and youth, Barbara Thompson agrees. "Just as adults are affected by change, so are children,” Thompson says, emphasizing the importance of routine in family life during each move. “Military children can go through six to nine household moves while they're growing up, and even more in many cases,” Thompson said, “so their parents must be sensitive to how the disruption affects them.” Gina Gismondi, currently stationed with her family at Kirtland, has been through four moves, and this summer her family will embark on their fifth, heading back overseas. Of her concerns for her two boys, she says, “always look for the positive at your next location. Talk it up! Make sure they don't know it, if it is the last place on earth you'd want to go. Be calm and as organized as you can. If you are stressed, they will know and become stressed also.” And the best part of each move? “Knowing that they will have new experiences, see new places, and gain some amazing life skills when it is all said and done,” she said. To ease transitions, Huntsman suggests “a photo album of your child’s old home and routines. Take pictures of his school, your home, his room, the local playground you frequent (or any other venues), close friends, teachers. As time passes, you can take pictures of his new school, house, room and friends,teachers to add into the album.” For 2012 transplant and mother of three Wendy Robinson, “Seeing (her children’s) progression as the moving process went, and seeing how strong they became,” was a highlight of her family’s recent move from Texas. When it comes to pre-move prep, Robinson recommends talking the process through with your children. “Let them know their feelings are valid and that you might share them too. Allow them to ask any questions and be as honest and as reassuring as you can in your replies.” While every move is certain to present its own particular set of chal-lenges and opportunities, military parents say the key to each family rests in dialog and the chance to make each new home feel like both a home and part of a unique adventure. Huntsman, Gismondi and Robinson all said they feel a tremendous value in the sense of place and more than that, the beauty they have found in this particular geo-graphic space, Albuquerque. For more information and helpful tools to help your children adapt to moving, please visit the interactive "Military Youth on the Move" page on the Military OneSource Web site militaryonesource.mil/moving. 10 New Mexico Kids! May/June 2013

Military Families

Jacey Blue Renner

For Many, Summer Means Moving the Family – Again<br /> <br /> For many families, summer means the beginning of an academic break, often celebrated with family vacations to national parks and small beach towns, or with neighborhood barbecues and swim lessons. But for military families, the summer often marks a season of change, with many pulling up stakes and heading to new homes and new bases across the globe. At Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, hundreds of families come and go throughout each year, but it is between June and August, that Permanent Change of Station, or PCS, as it is known internally, reaches its peak. Some families stay for a few months to complete training, while others put down temporary roots, building a new community for their family, and settling in, sometimes staying up to five years in the Duke City.<br /> <br /> During the summer of 2011, Cynthia Huntsman, then eight months pregnant with her second child, her husband John and son Asher, experienced their first military family move together, to Albuquerque from Germany. She remembers “an overwhelming feeling of excitement, knowing our family was about to embark on a crazy, unpredictable adventure together.” The family celebrated young son Asher’s third birthday days after coming stateside. They house-hunted and looked for the best way to fit their growing family into their newly adopted<br /> <br /> “The biggest challenge was worrying about how the move was going to affect Asher socially and emotionally. In effect, we were uprooting him from everything he ever knew,” Huntsman says. “With Asher, I worked really hard on maintaining a daily routine that would provide him with as much consistency and normalcy as possible, despite both of our work schedules. The PCS, I feared, would throw a wrench in my plans and effort.” <br /> <br /> Huntsman’s concerns are both apt and common. According to a newly released article from the American Forces Press Service, the director of the Pentagon’s office of family policy and children and youth, Barbara Thompson agrees. "Just as adults are affected by change, so are children,” Thompson says, emphasizing the importance of routine in family life during each move. “Military children can go through six to nine household moves while they're growing up, and even more in many cases,” Thompson said, “so their parents must be sensitive to how the disruption affects them.” <br /> <br /> Gina Gismondi, currently stationed with her family at Kirtland, has been through four moves, and this summer her family will embark on their fifth, heading back overseas. Of her concerns for her two boys, she says, “always look for the positive at your next location. Talk it up!Make sure they don't know it, if it is the last place on earth you'd want to go. Be calm and as organized as you can. If you are stressed, they will know and become stressed also.” And the best part of each move?“Knowing that they will have new experiences, see new places, and gain some amazing life skills when it is all said and done,” she said.<br /> <br /> To ease transitions, Huntsman suggests “a photo album of your child’s old home and routines. Take pictures of his school, your home, his room, the local playground you frequent (or any other venues), close friends, teachers. As time passes, you can take pictures of his new school, house, room and friends,teachers to add into the album.” <br /> <br /> For 2012 transplant and mother of three Wendy Robinson, “Seeing (her children’s) progression as the moving process went, and seeing how strong they became,” was a highlight of her family’s recent move from Texas. When it comes to pre-move prep, Robinson recommends talking the process through with your children. “Let them know their feelings are valid and that you might share them too. Allow them to ask any questions and be as honest and as reassuring as you can in your replies.” <br /> <br /> While every move is certain to present its own particular set of challenges and opportunities, military parents say the key to each family rests in dialog and the chance to make each new home feel like both a home and part of a unique adventure. Huntsman, Gismondi and Robinson all said they feel a tremendous value in the sense of place and more than that, the beauty they have found in this particular geographic space, Albuquerque.<br /> <br /> For more information and helpful tools to help your children adapt to moving, please visit the interactive "Military Youth on the Move" page on the Military OneSource Web site militaryonesource.mil/moving.

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