Here in Okinawa the beaches are beautiful, the events are amazing, and the culture draws you in. Yet, when military personnel receive orders to this gorgeous Island it is not always met with equal excitement. Family and friends must be left behind as you venture onto a new and different chapter. It is hard to imagine the difficulties that come when you try to explain to your children that they cannot spend time together with their friends every day or that they must leave their old school for a new, unfamiliar one. As you explain to your children that their grandma, who may visit them daily, will no longer be able to do this. The sadness they feel is easily seen and can easily be heart wrenching. Yet, here are 3 ways to place a positive spin on this move and prepare your children for this new adventure to come.

  1. Share with your children picture of Okinawa.

Okinawa has more than just gorgeous beaches. It also features hiking trails throughout the Island and jaw-dropping cultural experiences unlike any other. If you are on Facebook, join pages like Okinawa Pin Drops or Kids in Oki for advice, recommendations, and some amazing photos of locations that your children may love. Here are some great photos that they may enjoy!

2. Consider signing up your kids for Kids Messenger

Though there are many options for phone plans in Okinawa, they can be costly, especially if you decide to allow your children to contact their family and friends in the states on a constant schedule (check out this MCCS brochure that briefly covers your options) . Messenger Kids works similar to Facebook Messenger but gives you, the parent, control. Utilizing this messaging system, your children will be able to send videos, pictures, and messages using Wi-Fi connection from almost any device. They will be able to stay connected, while staying safe at the same time. Check out Messenger Kids for more information on how it works. 

3. If possible, as a family, plan a vacation together

Planning vacation as a family can be a fun experience and can give your children something to look forward to. The military offers great opportunities to travel utilizing Space-A at an extremely low cost. Whether you decide to visit family, visit Mickey Mouse, or even visit another country, it is a great idea to take advantage of getting away from the normal work/school scene and enjoying time together as a family. Even with COVID, vacations can still occur. If the present guideline prevents travel off island, staycations are amazing ways to separate the mind from the day to day stressors and to reconnect with loved ones. Consider following Kadena’s Passenger Terminal on Facebook for their updated policies for Space-A and to be notified of available flights. 

It is impossible to have everyone 100% excited about change and a new move to a new country makes the task seem beyond difficult. Yet if you remember that no move can be perfect or go smoothly every time it makes it easier to prepare for the reality. Take small steps to prep your family for the new change and by doing this you can help them see the potential of Okinawa. Check out the video below for a few military children sharing their Okinawa experience.

***April is the month of the military child. Children play an important role in the armed forces community and this is an important time to thank them for the sacrifices that they make for the good of the mission and this country. If you know or have a military child, show them some extra love this month.

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