How to Ace Your Next Military Move

When you get permanent change of station orders, you're probably excited about the upcoming change and the chance to see new places. But whether it's your first move or your 15th, each move is unique. With so much to do, proactively creating a plan will keep all the balls rolling in the right direction. Consider these ideas for making your next move a smooth one.

Being prepared

Begin preparing for your move early on. Being organized ahead of time will go a long way toward managing the multitude of tasks. These tips can help:

  • Create a command center in your home with all the details related to the move, such as to-do lists and important documents. You may want to use a bulletin board or an accordion folder. Consider keeping a moving file on your computer's desktop so you can access information easily.
  • Visit Plan My Move to create a personalized calendar, which will help make sure you're getting everything done on schedule.
  • Make a budget. Take a look at what expenses you'll have before, during and after your move. Be sure to factor in a little extra for unexpected costs.
  • Do your research. Use the online tool at MilitaryINTALLATIONS to find more information on your new installation, local schools and other details.
  • Avoid procrastination. Having a lot to do in a short amount of time is certain to impact your ability to stay on target.

Taking care of yourself

Taking care of ourselves is usually the first thing to go when preparing for a move. Even though you're busy with all the details of moving, taking the time to take care of yourself will provide the energy and sense of well-being needed to sustain you and your family over the long haul.

  • Ask for help. Call on family and friends to lend a hand babysitting or helping with other details. If you need a listening ear for support or some additional ideas on how to set you and your family up for success, reach out to Military OneSource consultants, who can help you get the information and help you need.
  • Take time out to spend with friends. It may be hard to squeeze one more thing into your busy schedule, but it's important to connect with your friends before you move.
  • Set aside time each day to exercise. This can be as simple as a 20-minute walk. Exercise can be a great stress-reducer.
  • Eat well and drink lots of water. It's important to keep your energy up when you're busy.
  • Keep it in perspective. Remember that even though a move may be daunting, you can break it down into little tasks to tackle each day. Keep an eye on the big picture, but take it one day at a time.
  • Be forgiving. You may not be able to get everything done. However, by prioritizing, you'll be sure to complete the most important tasks.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Even if you're not thrilled about the move, your positive attitude will lower stress for you and your whole family. Try to avoid negative thinking.

Taking care of your family

Moving can be a challenge for children. Younger children may feel unsettled as their toys are being packed away. Older children may mourn the loss of friends and be worried about how they'll fit in at the new duty station. Here are some ways you can help make the change easier for them:

  • Talk with your children about the move as soon as possible. You may be tempted to delay breaking the news but knowing about it ahead of time will give your children time to prepare emotionally.
  • Acknowledge your children's feelings. Make sure they know it's okay to feel anxious about the move.
  • Be a role model with a positive attitude. Try to convey to your children that even though moving can be hard, it's an adventure. Focus on the positive things like meeting new friends and learning about new places.
  • Create opportunities for lasting memories before you leave. Visit your favorite restaurant or spend time with close friends. Help your children find ways to stay in touch with their friends.
  • Get to know other families at your new duty station. Your friends may know families who live there. Visit your Relocation Assistance Program office to see is a sponsor is available.
  • Keep your routines intact as much as possible. Children are comforted by the routines of daily life. By continuing your Friday night popcorn routine or bedtime reading you will reassure your child that most of the important things in life will stay the same.
  • Encourage older children and teens to attend relocation briefings, if available. Some installations have workshops specifically for children and teens.

No matter how organized you are, moving always presents surprises. Taking care of yourself and your family readies you to tackle whatever comes next.


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