Summer Survival and PCS Tips Jun. 2014 - Page 35

Since our daughter, who is 8 now, was born, we have moved into new houses 4 times. Each time has presented with different challenges. We went from a hardwood floor to a carpeted floor, which, for someone who has texture issues, was a big deal. Direct sunlight to no sunlight. Not sharing a room to sharing a room. All problems that most kids wouldn’t have an issue with, were potentially big deals to our daughter. Thankfully we managed to find a way to make her comfortable in our, then, new home. Here are a couple of things we were able to do to adapt our home environment to one that would be comfortable for her and her sensory needs.

If you have a child that is sensitive to light, you might opt to give them a room that is facing the back of the house. Or vice versa. But sometimes, that just isn't an option. To minimize the bright sunlight coming into my daughter's room, we tried several things before we were able to get the lighting down to an acceptable level for her. We even tried tinfoiling the windows! Eventually, we bought blackout curtains, which kept the light down to an acceptable minimum.

To counteract the irritation of the feel of carpet on her feet, we bought interlocking foam tiles.

As far as sharing a room, however, that was something that couldn’t be helped.

Making sure your child has a comfortable space within the new house can be challenging. I know that with everything being all new to them, even the house itself can cause an issue. Before we PCS’ed from Hawaii to Maryland, we created a social story for our daughter. We explained to her that when we get to the new house all of her stuff will be there: the toys, blankets, pillows, etc. In the story, we put in that things would be new: she would have a new bedroom, a new place to eat (but at the same dining room table), and a new place to play outside, but all of her stuff would still remain the same.

I think it's important that kids know that even though the surroundings are different, they will still have their stuff - that is the constant.

One thing I will stress is when you are doing your packout, set aside some toys, and maybe a special blanket or pillow for them. Not just for travel, but so that when they get to the new house, before the household goods arrive, they have something that is familiar to them. So when the new house hits them, they have something that is comforting to them.

My motto is always go with your instincts. Sometimes improvisation is your friend. Also, you know what will work, and you know your child better than anyone.

In the end, things will settle. Routines will start up again. It will take some time. But once you get into your rhythm of the new place, you will start to see the anxiety fade. And your child begin to bloom where he or she is planted.

-Andrea Thomason, MSNN Staff Writer

Travel Receipts

Now's a good time to talk about

organizing the receipts you'll be turning

in for your travel claim. We bring a large manila envelope with us on every move just for these items, and keep it in the glove box for easy access. After every toll, meal, fill-up, or hotel check-out, the recipts get put in the envelope. No more digging through my purse or diaper bag, or losing important receipts due to "filing" them in pants pockets! Make sure to do this for each car in your moving party. Prior to turning in those precious receipts, make a copy of them. Again, preparing for worst case scenarios will always be less of a pain than not having prepared!

Get the Kids Involved

As much as possible get the kids excited

about the move by involving them in the

planning process. From tracing the drive route, to planning scenic stops, get some input. or take their interests into consideration. Make some memories of the good variety on this trip.