PCSing is about as much fun as a mandatory kickball event on a Saturday hosted by the company First Sergeant, and the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created even more confusion for you and your kids.

To help you and your family survive and thrive during these trying times, we’ve compiled some steps to better prepare them for a PCS move during the pandemic.

Have your kids form a school circle around you

The commander’s brief is a valuable tool to help instill confidence and spread knowledge. Just like the junior enlisted, kids are always absorbing what’s going on around them and they need a leader to help them better understand it. Sit them down and have a conversation reinforcing everything that your family has already done to stay safe — washing hands often, wearing masks, and maintaining a social distance from others. Remind them that they are already experts of pandemic safety and to have confidence in themselves. Let them ask questions and voice opinions about the move, and take time to listen and answer them.

Develop battle drills as a family

I’m not talking about rock drills in the sand. Instead, prepare some simple drills for the upcoming travel. Listen to the experiences of other families moving during the pandemic, then think about ways to make the move safer and easier for your family.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Practice opening doors with elbows and feet, keeping hands clear.
  • Practice folding your facemask into your pockets so as to not touch the inside and dirty it.
  • Do fun pistol draws with your travel-size hand sanitizer.

These drills should be informative and fun. If the military got one thing right, it’s to embrace the suck and laugh along with it.

Recon the new A.O.

Task your kids with mapping out the new area that you’re moving to. This can include everything from essential businesses to outdoor spaces and researching what phase of reopening the new community is in. This will help them to manage their expectations. Their favorite activities and places may need to be adjusted this year, but there is still plenty to be excited about in their new town. Remember to look up favorite restaurants too — you gotta feed the troops! PCSgrades is a great resource for community info around military bases, ratings for schools, on-base housing, and more, all written by military families, for military families.

Create your family unit insignia

Every unit creates their own insignia and paints it proudly on, well, everything to mark their territory. Why not do the same with your family? Sit everyone down and define what it means to be a part of your tribe. Next, grab the non-toxic coloring tools and go to town creating custom face masks. If you’re looking for resources on how to actually make a homemade mask, here’s a guide to get you started. Not only will this make it easier to identify your family members in an airport or a rest stop, but it is a good bonding activity too.

Lead by example

At the end of the day, the COVID-19 crisis has added stress and anxiety to everyone’s lives. But here you are, preparing for PCS move and managing a family. It’s important to remember that not only do you have this under control, but you’ve been embodying that confidence for your kids. Continue leading the way and don’t forget to pause from time to time and explain why you’re doing what you are. To provide peace of mind, keep showing them the many ways that you’re ensuring your family’s safety throughout the PCS move.

Finally, don’t forget about yourself during all this madness. Register with PCSgrades for endless resources on your upcoming PCS move. You can browse through their area guides or sign up for their real estate rewards program exclusive to military members. Either way, the best way to project calm is to be calm. So take comfort knowing the PCSgrades is here for you.

This article is sponsored by PCSgrades.