Deployment and PCS Resources for Military Kids


April is month of the military child!

As a certified child life specialist (CCLS) I use play and bibliotherapy to help children cope with stressful medical situations. This can absolutely be applied to the military connected community when helping children cope with deployment and PCS’ing (in my opinion, 2 of the most stressful aspects of military life).

As they say… “Children are resilient” and “military connected children are like dandelions, they can take root and flourish practically any where the wind blows them.” Even though they bloom where they’re planted (as they are often uprooted and replanted anywhere across the world) it still may be stressful in the moment! And why not have a few extra tools in your tool-belt to help them cope with these stressful moments in life?

Below is a booklist, activities and resources from a military spouse with a CCLS perspective to help your kiddos prepare and cope with deployment and PCS.


Daddy Left With Mr. Army 
When Your Daddy’s a Soldier 
My Letter to Daddy
When Mom Deploys
Oh No, My Mom Has to Go 
Daddy’s Deploying 
Night Catch 
Goodnight Captain Mama 
Hero Dad 
I’ll Lend You My Dad     
Kylie and the Deployment Wall

Additional activities:
1. Make a deployment wall: (includes a clock with the time zone mom or dad is in, a map of (generally) where mom or dad is, pictures of family, countdown until mom or dad is home (but not until you’re a few weeks out!)
2. Have mom or dad record a recordable book to read at bedtime (or whenever!)
3. Have mom or dad bring an item with him of kids choosing (stuffie, doll, action figure, whatever) and take pictures with the item along the way (when possible)


PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station. This is probably one of the only things Hollywood gets right about military life: we move often and with little notice. It’s generally chaotic and our children are caught in the crosshairs of these stressful moves, no matter how hard we as parents try to make things stable for them.

I Move A Lot and That’s Ok
I Miss My Friend and That’s Ok
Maya Moves to a New Country
It’s PCS Season
It’s PCS Season Again
The Adventures of a Military Brat THE BIG MOVE
It’s Time to Say Goodbye
The Military Child Chronicles Mission: My First PCS
I’m a Dandelion A PCS Story for Military Children

Additional Activities:
1. Memory making: Make a road trip out of your PCS, stop at exciting landmarks or visit friends as you are passing through areas on your route.
2. Goodbye activity: have a party, a special play date with close friends before moving, plan a staycation where you enjoy the very best of your current duty station before heading out.
3. Have your kids pick out a toy or something to leave with friends, send pictures of your new home/duty station or plan video chats for your kids to catch up with their friends.

Other Resources

ZZZBears and Hug a Hero (both make customizable stuffies for military connected families)
-Sesame Street 4 Military Families 
-BlueStar Families 
-Military Mom Collective 

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Lisa McWhorter
Lisa McWhorter, MS, CCLS, CPMT Lisa is a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), active duty military spouse and mom of three busy boys. Lisa has been a CCLS for 14 years and counting and has worked in several different settings ranging from hospice to rehab to non profits as she and her family have moved up and down the east coast and overseas twice due to military orders! Lisa is passionate about bridging the gap between civilian and military worlds by bringing child life services and resources to the military connected community. Lisa is currently living overseas and loves anything outdoors (especially the beach), spending time with friends and family, cooking and traveling.


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