Permanent Change of Station or PCS is an adjustment for the whole family. Your little battalion may become stressed out by the move and have varying opinions about it. One of the most important things you can remember is to make you and your family’s comfort a top priority in your new home and community.
The best way is to think of it as “your normal”. This is your life. It’s alright that it’s different from others.
Take the time to talk regularly with your children before, during and after the move. Allow them to share their feelings. Try to help them to remain optimistic and to keep it all in perspective.
Here are a few things you can do to help ease the process of settling into your new home and community:
This should be your top priority on your list of things to do. Don’t delay it. Once your boxes arrive, establish which boxes go where and start unboxing. This will make the place a lot more comfortable and allow your family to move around and find things easily. It will almost feel like you never moved.
Of course realistically speaking, unpacking can be dreadful. If you’re anything like me (who still has unpacked boxes from my last move over ten months ago), you will want to put it off until a “later” time. It’s best to knock it out as soon as possible and get it over with, trust me. The longer you put it off, the less likely you are to get it done.
If you have access to your new home before the big move, make sure you take advantage of this and assess the house for any needed improvements, whether it be just new pipes, tub, sinks, wiring, or simply fresh paint job. For it is much better to know in advance what work needs to be done.
Next, comes decorating. Decorating allows you to add a personal element to the house and to establish a sense of home. Not to mention, decorating can be lots of fun. There so many options and styles nowadays. For those of us who don’t have an eye for decorating and can’t afford an interior designer, I recommend checking out Pinterest. There are a lot of great “do-it-yourself” and “home decor on a budget” projects to give you the inspiration to design your dream home.
Walking or biking around your new neighborhood is a good way to meet new people and explore your neighborhood, while getting some much-needed exercise. Take time and explore your new community, so you can discover the different points of interest and the activities available that you and your family might enjoy.
Introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Out and about, you are bound to run into someone you like sooner rather than later. Take the dog or the kids along if you don't want to go alone. Once you have some people to talk to, you will find yourself at ease and those feelings of loneliness that often plague new movers will soon disappear.
Investing your time at a place where your child spends between 900-1000 hours per year can be rewarding in so many ways. An orientation or a parent teacher conference before the children start school will help the kids settle in and you can learn about the activities offered at the school that your child can take part in.
So many schools can benefit from more parent participation. Building a niche in a larger community helps to find a sense of purpose and builds confidence. Seeing that you take an honest interest in their school can encouraging to your child and help your child to understand the importance of education. KidsHealth.org offers info on ways to find the right volunteer opportunities for you. They are also a great resource for parents, kids, teens and even educators.
Find your niche in your new community. You could help coordinate neighborhood activities to bring people together. Join a church or a local community center might have different opportunities for involvement too. If you love to write you could start your very own writers group or a book club. MeetUp.com is a great site for where people form groups focused on their interests. You can join groups or create your own.
For more helpful tips, guides and checklists about PCS'ing, be sure to check out Military.com. If we've forgotten anything or you know of any additional tips that have helped you and your family, we'd love to hear them.