Moving Interstate with Kids – Ultimate Guide

Your children are amazing and you love them more than anyone or anything in the world. But sometimes, just sometimes, having kids around makes things a little more… challenging. Relocation is one of those things that are hard enough when only adults are involved. Moving with children? That’s a whole new level of difficulty. And when you’re moving interstate with kids, you can be sure that things are not going to be easy and straightforward. Luckily, there are things you can do to make this endeavor easier for your whole family. One of the things you need to do is, of course, find the best interstate movers NYC. You’ve probably guessed as much already! But we’re here to tell you about all the other things you may not have thought of. And this ultimate guide to moving with children will make the process much easier.

A toddler unhappy that you're moving interstate with kids.
Even the best-behaved children can spell trouble during a move.

Moving interstate with kids – the pros and cons

As New York’s best and most popular movers, Movers 101 NY have helped hundreds of families move. In that time, we have heard dozens of different reasons for relocating interstate with children. So here are some of the pros and cons of it that we have discovered!

What are the pros of moving interstate with kids?

Despite how difficult it is, moving to another state with your kids can be a great thing. You may, for example, relocate to a place where your children will get a better education. Or you may move to a city that’s safer, more child-friendly. If you’re moving from NY to Texas, for example, you are most likely to end up in surroundings that are more conducive to raising kids, with safer streets, closer schools and more nature to enjoy. Finally, when you move to a place that is less expensive, you can afford to give your children a better life.

What are the cons of moving interstate with kids?

Unfortunately, moving with children, especially when you’re not moving locally in NY but rather going somewhere far away, can also have some negative consequences. Children may miss school or important events because of the move, for example. And they will almost certainly experience a lot of stress which can have a negative impact on their overall health. Finally, one thing is unavoidable: they will lose contact with some of their friends and need to start over in a new social group. This is hard enough for adults. But for kids, it can be devastating.

Grumpy baby.
You have to expect some negativity from kids when moving.

The specific needs of specific ages

Kids of different ages react differently to big changes like relocation. You must, therefore, tailor your behavior to the specific needs of their age group. But even then, not all of these tips will work for all children. Each child is a unique individual and will handle things differently. So take these as guidelines, but adjust them to your child.

Moving with infants

  • maintain a routine before, during and after the move as much as possible (especially regarding meals and sleep time)
  • get some help with childrearing from family or childcare professionals to spare yourself and your infant the stress and chaos of moving
  • pack an essentials bag with food, diapers, changes of clothing, favorite toys and everything else you may need to keep your infant happy and healthy during and immediately after the relocation
  • consult your pediatrician to ensure your infant is healthy enough to travel

Moving with toddlers

  • explain what is happening to your toddler as best as you can, using simple words and concepts
  • present the concept of relocation through books, cartoons, and games that your toddler will understand
  • do not make other major changes to your toddler’s life (introducing new people or pets, potty training, starting kindergarten or other) in close proximity to the move
  • maintain a routine and behave as normally as possible before, during and after the move to give your toddlers a sense of normalcy

Moving with schoolchildren

  • if at all possible, move during school holidays to avoid interrupting your children’s routines and education
  • present the relocation to your children through conversations, books, movies, visits to the new home or other activities
  • encourage your children’s curiosity, allow them to ask questions and try to make moving into a fun adventure for them
  • get your children involved in the new community as soon as possible, but try to help them keep in touch with important people from your old neighborhood

Moving with teenagers

  • involve your teenagers in the process (especially decision-making) of long-distance moving as soon as possible to encourage excitement about the move and allow time for any wrinkles to be smoothed out
  • let your teenagers say goodbye to their home, school, and friends at their own pace and in their own ways
  • respect your teens’ feelings; don’t take it personally or overreact if they are angry, upset or sad about the move
  • get your teens excited about the move by researching things in your new neighborhood they may find interesting (such as sports clubs, shopping malls, concert halls and more)
Teen with a laptop.
Moving can hit teenagers especially hard.

Make moving interstate with kids easier by preparing them for what’s coming

Like with all things moving, preparation is key for moving interstate with children. So it’s absolutely vital that you take your children, their needs and their feelings into consideration from day one. They should be informed about the process and involved in it as much as possible and in an age-appropriate way. How you handle the months leading up to the move will in great part determine how smoothly your family’s move goes.

Talk to your children about the move

Imagine if someone told you tomorrow that you need to move to a whole new city and state by the end of the day. You’d be pretty shocked, upset and angry, wouldn’t you? Your kids will feel the same way if you suddenly drop the bombshell of moving on them without giving them time to deal with it before it happens. So it’s crucial that you tell your children about the move very early on in the process. Explain to them what is going to happen and why. And remember that you’re having a conversation which goes two ways: encourage your children to ask questions and share their thoughts.

Try to visit the area with them to minimize the shock

Moving interstate with kids is always going to be a big change for the whole family. But there are ways to minimize the culture shock they may experience. The best thing you can do is to take your kids to see their new state, city, and neighborhood. It would be beneficial for them to also see the new house, provided it’s possible to visit. If a trip is not feasible before the move, you should at least show your kids photos of their new house and home city.

Family walking in a park after moving interstate with kids.
Introduce your family to the neighborhood before moving.

Explain to them in advance what is going to happen

Even many adults are not sure of what moving entails. For kids, especially young ones, the process is going to be something completely new and unfamiliar. So try to prepare them for it by explaining your plan. When are you going to pack and do you expect your children to help? How many movers are coming and when? What is the trip to the new home going to look like? Knowing these things in advance can help your children mentally and emotionally prepare for them.

Make moving interstate with kids easier on yourself

Children are incredibly adept at picking up on our emotions. In order to take good care of them during the move, you must, therefore, also take good care of yourself. So do everything you can to ensure a stress-free relocation for yourself: plan ahead, follow a good long-distance moving guide and above all, get help!

Plan ahead

Planning is the key to every successful relocation. This is where you get organized and make sure you’re not running around like a headless chicken, forgetting everything all the time and creating chaos on moving day. Whether you choose to go with an interstate moving checklist, an organization app, or an old-school binder, the important part is to plan your relocation in as much detail as possible (but always be prepared for unexpected things to happen anyway).

Think about schooling early on

When you’re moving interstate with kids, any planning you do must naturally include them as well. And one of the most important things you need to figure out for them is where, when and how you’re sending them to school. So take the time to research the schools (or kindergartens) in the area before moving. Taking contact with the school to learn more and sign your kids up may also be a good idea.

School supplies you will need after moving interstate with kids.
Research schools for your children before moving.

Arrange for childcare in advance

There’s a lot to do immediately after the move. You need to clean the house, unpack, move in. Having your kids around, especially if they are at an age when they can’t help, can make that harder. If you don’t think you can manage, it’s best to have someone take care of them for a couple of hours while you work. But don’t leave that decision for the last minute! Contact your friends and family in the area to ask them for help in advance or book a sitter before you move – that way you can be sure you won’t be left hanging.

Get help and build a support system

Moving interstate with kids is not something you want to do by yourself. Hiring professional interstate movers is an absolute must. This is the best way to make your relocation easier. But it’s not enough. You will also need emotional support, especially in the period after the move when you’re adjusting and trying to start your life anew. So try to make friends and build a network even before moving by joining local groups on Facebook, checking out forums about the place or otherwise connecting with people in the area online.

While moving interstate with kids: involve or distract?

Involving your children in the moving process doesn’t have to extend to every single step of the relocation. In fact, can you imagine anything more chaotic than letting your toddler run around the house using your stacks of moving supplies NY for toys while your movers are trying to pack your home up? There are two things you can do to avoid this:

  • involve your children: older children can help with the packing and moving so give them tasks like packing their own rooms, researching things online or cleaning to keep them from making problems
  • distract your children: younger children will only be in the way so the solution is to preoccupy them with something else; have someone take them to the park or set them up with some games to keep them busy while you prepare everything for the move
Child playing with toy cars.
Distract young children with toys and games to keep them out of the way.

After moving interstate with kids: help your children settle in

One of the hardest parts of moving interstate is the period of adjustment that follows it. And if you think that’s hard on you, imagine what it’s like for your kids! They’re going to need your help to deal with this part.

Get to know the neighborhood

Children are not going to feel at home in an unfamiliar place. That’s why it’s so important to familiarize them with the neighborhood as soon as possible. This will be easier if you had the chance to visit before moving. But even if you didn’t, some simple activities can help with the process: take frequent walks around the neighborhood, eat out, participate in events and just have fun!

Meet new people and make new friends

One of the hardest things for children when moving interstate will be leaving their friends behind. For many kids, this is the most devastating and stressful thing they can imagine. Maintaining old friendships long-distance is, therefore, encouraged and you should help any way you can. But that’s not going to be enough: your children will need someone to lean on in their new home as well. So urge them to go out, meet people and make new friends. Try leading by example and throw house parties for your new neighbors. Maybe they can even bring their own kids! You should also sign your kids up for extracurricular activities and encourage them to put themselves out there as much as possible!

Respect your children’s feelings

Moving interstate with kids is bound to stir up emotions for everyone involved. Sometimes, those emotions will be mild and quick to pass – some children will adjust perfectly well within a few weeks. Other times, however, emotions will run very high for very long. Regardless of how your child is dealing with the relocation, it’s important to respect them and their process. Even if you don’t understand their reactions, their feelings are valid and you have to let them process them at their own pace. Try to be there for them, be supportive and seek professional help if necessary. But don’t invalidate your children’s emotions – this will only make the situation worse!

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