Growing up a military kid and then becoming a military spouse I understand that the acronym "PCS" (Permanent Change of Station) can make your heart skip a beat both with excitement and total anxiety. Just as you thought you have found the last yellow sticker on the leg of your kitchen table the moving crew shows up with a new roll of blue stickers to pack your life into hundreds of boxes in just two days.
Tips for Surviving a PCS with kids:
1. Have a DON'T PACK area. Find a small room and put a sign that clearly says "DON'T PACK" on the door. Put everything you need while your house hold goods are in transit in that room. Also add the items that you can't replace that you want to move personally: wedding photos, personal documents like medical records and birth certificates, and your kid's favorite toys. This might sound silly but store the trash can and toilet plunger in the "DON'T PACK" room. We know couples that have unpacked month old trash after their move. The plunger... you don't want to know how I learned that lesson.
2. Keep all your bed hardware with you! Nothing is worse than showing up in your new home and not being able to put together your kid's bed because a couple of screws are missing!
3. Label your own boxes. It seems so simple but in the craziness of pack day sometimes it is easy to forget. I don't label every box but I do try to remember the important items. If you know where you can find the TV remotes, Thomas the Tank Movies, towels, sheets and most importantly toys, your life will be easier.
4. Make your move an adventure. Kid's feed off their parents' attitudes. Even if that call from the Detailer sends your heart into a tail spin try to stay calm. If you approach the move in a positive way and make it fun the kids will just go along. Not every station will be your dream assignment but as my Grandma (a former military wife) told me, "you can always find something to like about each station."
5. DISCOUNTS! Ask every hotel if they have a military rate. It is amazing the savings you can get just by asking. I have even had hotels that do NOT have a military rate give us a break because they felt like it was the right thing to do. If your travels take you near Bush Gardens or Sea World your family can take advantage of a FREE vacation during your PCS! Visit http://wavesofhonor.com/ for details.
FINALLY: FEED YOUR MOVERS! You do not need to tip your movers but a happy mover will treat your belongings with care. Everyone appreciates a good meal.