How to Prepare Your Family for a Military Move

Military moves are already stressful enough.

When you have to take your family into consideration, it becomes even more of a challenge. Nobody wants to move every few years, yet that’s just the reality of living in a military family.

For children and spouses, this can be very hard.

Whether you or your spouse work for the military, you’re familiar with Permanent Change of Station (PCS) notices. Sometimes it might even seem like you just settled in one place when suddenly you’re shipped off to a new destination.

This is an ongoing cycle and one that takes constant preparation. Here’s how to prepare your family for a military move without the stress.

1. Start Planning Early

The earlier you can begin planning, the better.

There are a lot of things to arrange if you want your move to go smoothly, but your family also needs time to prepare. Tell the kids as early as possible. While it might seem like this is something you should protect them from, the opposite is true.

When kids and spouses have time to respond, they can make plans of their own. With kids especially, you never know how they’re going to react to a move.

They might be more excited than you think. Either way, give them enough time to come to terms with the move so it’s not a surprise.

2. Use the PCS Checklist

The military releases a PCS checklist for a reason.

They know things are easy to overlook in the chaos of moving. Things are changing fast, and there’s so much on your plate. Familiarize yourself with the checklist and use it in preparation for your move.

If you plan to do a PPM (Personally Procured Move) on your own, you’ll need to take many of these checklist items into your own hands.

For instance, you might be packing up your belongings on your own and hiring your own moving company. No matter what you choose, make these decisions early on so you’re prepared.

Next, make plans for your car. If you have a privately owned vehicle, you might be wondering how to get it to your destination safely.

There are services that help you transport a privately owned vehicle with ease.


3. Pack a Survival Kit

Your family should have a PCS survival kit. This is a small kit with things you’ll need immediately in your new destination.

While your belongings are on their way, it might take a while for them to reach you or for you to unpack the basics. In the meantime, having a survival kit will help your entire family adjust to their new surroundings.

This means packing cash, essential items like linens and pillows, and cleaning products.

For the kids, bring some comfort items like favorite toys, electronics, and other things that they’ll need before the rest of their belongs arrive. This kit is a lifesaver.

4. Attend Orientation

Finally, make sure you attend orientation at your new location.

You’ll already be under enough stress, and you need to know the best resources to help your family. From the family services office to recreational activities, these small things add up to a big difference for your family.

You can even contact this office before you leave your current home. Check online to see what resources your new base has as well as what type of practical information you need to be aware of before moving day.


If you’re facing a PCS move, don’t fret.

Moving with your family is always stressful, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. As a military family, you know the importance of sticking strong together.

Now that you know the best way to prepare, you can take steps to make this process easier.

Moving is a hassle, but you’ll be in your new home in no time. Once you’re settled, you’ll wonder what you were so worried about in the first place. Is your family ready to make a move?

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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