A PCS move might only take a few days of travel, but the process of recovering from a PCS takes a lot longer. Not only are there boxes to unpack and wireless devices to reconnect, but then there’s the whole process of getting adjusted to your new area. This can take a month or more and is stressful for the whole family.

There’s no shortcut to getting settled after a PCS move. It will take time and effort. However, if you focus your efforts in the right direction, things will go a lot more smoothly. Help take the pain out of PCSing and put your family on a more positive path with these post-PCS tips.

Make your house a home ASAP

With all your check-in paperwork and changeover training, it may not feel important to you to focus on decorating the house. But remember that your family is stuck in a house that won’t feel like home for a while. Help them feel comfortable sooner by taking the time to unpack boxes, set up equipment, assemble furniture, and hang curtains. Whether you choose to live on base or out in town, your family will feel more settled when they are surrounded by their own things in a familiar space. 

Instead of checking into work the day after you arrive, try to take a few of your leave days to get your family settled in. If you’re still looking for your next home, PCSgrades can help with reviews from fellow military families. Their website discusses on base and off base houses, and can connect you with a military-friendly real estate agent who understands the challenges of PCS moves.

Get the kids enrolled in school

No matter what time of year you are moving, getting back into a regular routine should be a high priority. You don’t want the kids to miss out on any more school days than necessary, so visit the local school as soon as possible. Many allow you to start the enrollment process online, before you move! Hand-carry their birth certificates, prior report cards, and immunizations records to make the process go smoothly. Not sure which schools to contact? 

PCSgrades can speed up this process with trusted reviews from military families. Find the best neighborhoods and schools by reading feedback written by military families just like yours!

Make family time

PCSing is stressful for everyone. It’s important to take a break in the middle of unpacking and chore lists and just do something fun. You can check out a local park or go on a hiking trail. Contact your base MWR office for upcoming events and programs that will let you connect with other families. 

Or stop by the ITT office on base for discount tickets to theme parks, wine tastings and more. If your kids are old enough, let everyone vote for a different activity to do together. Whether you take in a sports game or do a karaoke night, this time together sets the tone for the rest of your assignment here, so start your family off on the right foot.

Try new food

It’s funny how every town and region has their own distinct dishes. You never know if that’s your style until you try it! No matter where you’re from, give the local cuisine a chance and try something new. 

Just got orders to North Carolina? Check out their barbeque! New to Virginia? Try any dish made with crab. If you’re PCSing to Texas, you’re in for some wonderful Mexican food. And if it’s Southern California, you’ve gotta try fish tacos. Make it a family adventure and try to find a local restaurant that can become your go-to spot. Soon everyone will feel a little more excited about their new hometown.

Explore local attractions

A new town won’t feel like home until you find your way around. It takes a few weeks to get used to going to the grocery store, the gym, or a place of worship without using your GPS. Don’t be afraid to get out and explore! If you wait too long, you will already be entrenched into work, school, and sports schedules. Take advantage of this time to play tourist in your new town. If you aren’t sure where to go, PCSgrades Area Guides tell you about unique food, attractions, and cultural events around your new base. Plan a family day at a local event, or attend an annual festival to start feeling more like a native.

It may take some time for your family to feel settled after a PCS move. But when you focus on these steps and tackle them together, it takes away a lot of the stress and helps your family operate as a team.

This post was sponsored by PCSgrades.