Moving to New York City with young children: Do's and Don'ts
Moving to New York City with young children: Do's and Don'ts
Moving tips NYC
September 10, 2023

Moving to New York City with young children

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Are you moving to New York City with children and don't know how to handle the move or where to start? It's understandable to feel overwhelmed and stressed when moving to a new location with children. This rings true for all children of all ages. Whether you have an infant or a preteen, moving takes a toll on everyone. Moving to New York City with young children is no child's play (excuse the pun).

Ensure you are prepared in advance before the move. Do this by following the tips below.

Prepare them ahead of the move.

Prepare your children ahead

The most important thing is preparation, and yes, I hear you asking, “But how do I prepare an infant, a toddler, or a preteen?” Well, it is clear that they all need to be prepped in different ways, and this is how you do it:


Infants will most likely adapt to their new home quickly. They may see the difference at home, but this is no cause for concern because they will more than likely adapt just fine.

Some issues may arise, though, especially if you’re changing climates (moving from Miami to New York City), especially in the wintertime. Have all the clothes, medication, and any other items your infant may need to help them adjust well.


I'm sure we can all agree that "toddlers are a handful". Yes, they need a lot of stimulation and naps. When moving long distances, ensure you have enough food and activities, like toys, and take frequent breaks for your toddler to run around. This is important for the whole family. The best thing to do is to move early in the morning when the child is still sleeping so you can cover some distance before they wake up.

Another great tip would be to tell your toddler about the move before it happens. Show them pictures of their new home, the Central Park Zoo, surrounding parks, etc. This will get them excited about the move.


Preteens can be a bit of a challenge as they are going through a transition from kid to teenager, and this may result in some behavioral challenges for the parents. Which is why it is crucial to prepare them for the next step ahead of time. New York City is great for preteens because there’s a wide variety of things to do, and it's very diverse. This is a tool you, as a parent, can use to prepare your child for the move.

When telling your child, allow them to ask questions, as they may need to grieve several things. You need to understand that they have made friends and are familiar with their area, so moving them out of their comfort zone may come with a lot of grief and anger. Let them know exactly when the move is and the area you’re moving to.


Although some parents may feel anxious about telling their kids, not telling them has a more negative impact than getting them involved on time. Unless there’s a specific reason why you aren’t able to share the move with your children (because of work confidentiality), then we don’t see harm in letting them know ahead of time.

Understand their feelings.

After you’ve told your kids about the move, you should understand their feelings of concern, anger, denial, depression, anxiety, etc. Your children may not react kindly to the news, and you should understand that. It's difficult for anyone to accept change, especially when moving to a city like New York. It is, therefore, your responsibility as a parent to understand and listen to your children’s concerns.

  • Anger

Some kids may take the news so badly that they start acting out. Anger can be expressed to their closest friends and/or to their parents. This stage is most likely caused by denial and leaving their comfort zone. It’s, therefore important for parents to understand their kid's behavior and help redirect their anger elsewhere. This can be done through a brisk walk, running, or a great dance workout, while at the same time explaining to the child the positives of moving to New York City.

  • Depression/anxiety

Moving causes anxiety and, in some cases, depression. Moving to a new place, a new school, and making new friends is not easy for young children. Imagine not seeing your friends often, your favorite teacher, and never playing on your favorite playground. The impact it may have on the child's mental health can be overwhelming.

As a parent, you need to understand and help your children accept the situation. If you notice some kind of behavioral change, talk to your child and be there for them.

Tip: Help your child journal their feelings; this will help vent anger and any feelings of resentment.

  • Denial

Your children may be in denial about the move because they may not want to let go of what they know. They may start telling you that they don’t want to move. This is when you need to be there for them, as this is part of the grieving process. Be there for your kids and help them understand that everything will be fine.

  • Acceptance

Acceptance means your kids have dealt with their feelings of resentment and are slowly starting to accept the change. Reinforce positive feelings and tell them about the activities they’ll be a part of, tell them about the best things to do in New York City, etc. Show them all the good, and they will eventually accept the new change.

Tip: Involve your kids in the moving process. Allow them to help pack their bedroom.

Have a moving-day plan

Involve the kids

A moving day plan will help you how you’ll seamlessly manage the moving day. Have a plan for every aspect of the moving day, from putting furniture in the truck, if you're moving yourself, to time you’ll start preparing the kids before you hit the road.

Remember to plan for breaks to walk, play with your kids, and use the restroom. Traveling with young kids may require you to stop frequently as they tend to get bored quickly.

Ask family and friends for help.

A helping hand is always needed when moving, with or without kids. Ask for help from your loved ones. Family and friends will (in most cases) be willing to lend a helping hand because moving to New York City from another city is quite challenging. You could ask them to babysit while you pack, especially if you have younger children. Take full advantage of the help; it will make packing quicker.

If you have family and friends in New York City, ask them for help when you arrive there. Take your children out for pizza or brunch once you’ve settled; it will make them feel at ease.

Tip: Remember to ask family for help on time so they can avail themselves when moving day comes.

Allow them to say their goodbyes.

As much as you will probably say your goodbyes to your friends, colleagues, and family. Your kids should also have the same opportunity. Allow them to say their goodbyes to friends. Go with them to school for moral support, as this is a very emotional thing to do.

Another thing you could do is have a little goodbye "party" or lunch (this is a great way to use some food items you can’t take with you). Invite close friends, family, and your kid's friends. Take lots of pictures for good memories, and have fun. Your kids will cherish that forever. It will help them feel at ease and prepare them for what’s next.


Moving anywhere with children is always a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. We hope these tips will help prepare your family for the biggest change ahead. Understanding your children’s feelings and being patient during this process will relieve some anxiety. Always support your kids and get them involved.

Allow Capital City Movers to help make your move to New York City stress-free. Contact us today for long-distance or local moving needs. Get a free estimate by calling (718) 619-4881, and visit our website for more information.


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