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Moving Information and Resources for Military Families

Permanent Change of Station (PCS) is a term used in the U.S. armed forces to describe the relocation of an active member of the military. This may include any family living with the member. Military families must often move to other duty locations to complete service, usually a military base. The active-duty military service member may live on one base for several months to several years before having to relocate again. Military families may need to move if the service member gets reassigned or transferred to other duties in a different location.

Military families move quite often - as often as once every three years. Unfortunately, moving is the third highest cause of stress. Families being uprooted and relocated is simply a way of life for many military families. While making the big move can be stressful, there are many ways to ease this stress.

Find Child Care: During the moving process, it may be ideal for parents to find a quality childcare service or babysitter for the children. Tackling the challenges of packing and moving with kids can be overwhelming. Don't be afraid to ask a friend to watch the kids or make other childcare arrangements so you'll have more freedom to finish all of the things you need done before the move. The same idea works for after the move. Unpacking will go by much quicker if the kids are kept busy.

Adjust to the Community: Moving to a new place can be scary, especially for young children. There are several things you can do to help your family adjust to a new community. Get in touch with the relocation manager at the new base and let him or her provide information on what the base has to offer military families. Keep an upbeat mood, as most children will pick-up on your emotions. Try to give the children a sense of where they will be living and get them excited about the move. Be sure to dive right in, make new friends, and find out what fun things there are to do in the community.

Empathize with the Kids: Keep your children's' perspective in mind during the moving process. Uprooting them from their friends and the only world they have ever known can be scary. Helping your children cope by guiding them through the process can help make moving a little easier. If the child is old enough, encourage them to help with the move. Have them donate items they do not want to bring along and have them box up rooms or perform cleaning duties. It's also important to help your children maintain their ties at home. Even allowing your child to talk with their best friend from home via webcam can boost their spirit.

Get Some Help: Military families who are experiencing an upcoming move can find help in many places. Most military branches offer resources for families to aid in the set-up of child care and get settled on the new base. Other great resources that the military branch may offer include expense tracking and reimbursement. Ask around for reviews of the best local nannies, babysitters, or childcare services to help you with the kids before, during, and after the move.

The average family will move about once every six or more years, but this rate usually more than doubles for military families. Most military families realize that moving is just another part of their duty in serving our country. While the process can be stressful, there are many things that military parents can do to lessen the stress on their children and themselves. Whether the family must move during the PCS season - usually during the summer - or any other time of year, these things should be kept in mind to make the transition smoother for everyone.

Use the following resources to access more information and tips for military families who are moving: