If you are facing a move with young children, first of all, I SYMPATHIZE. I wrote all about my experience moving with kids, and believe me, it’s HARD. Luckily, I have you covered. This list of tv shows, movies, and kids books about moving to a new city will make your move smoother.
I’ve also tossed in some ideas and tips for helping your preschooler (and you!) get through it.
If you’re like me, when faced with a difficult situation or a new learning opportunity with my son, you might need some reinforcements. I often reach for books to help my son (and me) talk through our feelings. In this case, these were feelings about a huge MOVE.
In this article, I provide the following helpful tools to prepare your kids for a move. Because of my son’s age, these suggestions are especially pertinent to preschoolers, though they may spark some ideas for older kids, as well.
- Kids TV shows and movies about moving
- Kids books about moving
- Books to help parents with moving
TV Shows and Movies About Moving for Kids
Okay, so I know I promised to give you kids books about moving, and I will do that! But we all know that sometimes during big life events (and hell, sometimes on normal days), it’s easy to let our children decompress with a little TV or a movie.
And yes, it IS decompressing! Children’s brains are ON all day, and just like us, they need time to wind down at the end of the day.[Side note: if you are concerned about screen time, we highly recommend the Mayo Clinic’s guide to screen time.]
So if you’re in the middle of a move and want to utilize TV and movie characters your children already love, here are my recommendations!
(1) Daniel Tiger – “New Neighborhood” and “Family Trip” episodes
We are big fans of Daniel Tiger in our household. In fact, we REALLY lean on the “You got to try new foods” song at dinner time lately, but that’s an entirely different article!
Family Trip follows Daniel and his family as they take a long trip to go visit Grand-Pere. Daniel learns about packing, about getting ready for a long trolley trip (go potty first!).
When they get to Grand-Pere’s house, he learns to “find what’s different and what’s the same.”
Talking about what would be the same at our new house and what would be different was really helpful for our 2-year-old!
Same bed, same toys, same couch. New city, a park we could walk to, no basement to play in.
New Neighborhood shows Daniel meeting his new neighbor, Jodi, her mom Dr. Plat, her grandmother, and her twin brothers!
The show is from Daniel’s perspective, but it shows Jodi feeling scared and a little sad, being upset she can’t find her favorite book, and talking through feeling homesick.
The episode gave our son some pretty direct references for what a moving truck looks like, what our house would look like filled with boxes, and some great coping strategies.
(2) Toy Story
This classic animated film tells the story of toys trying to rush back home before their owner moves away. Just make sure you didn’t forget any of the kid’s toys at your old home before you watch this one!
If you have kids, this could be either the best or worst movie to show them when you announce you’re moving.
Cuddle up on the couch with your co-parent if you have one and screen this movie first.
Upon finding out his family is moving, Max Keeble begins to create chaos at his middle school. Some of the hilarious pranks involve a food fight, a frog, and a full marching band.
This movie can serve as a good lesson that even if you’re leaving town, there are still consequences for your actions.
Kids Books About Moving: Preschool Edition
As a children’s literature expert, giving recommendations about books is one of my favorite things.
Stories are a wonderful way for children to understand abstract concepts. In this case, kids books about moving can really help your little ones understand what the physical process of a move looks like.
When you give a child a story about an abstract concept, you are also a lot more likely to relieve the anxiety that comes with an unknown situation.
These children’s books about moving to a new city are particularly helpful when you are trying to help a preschooler through the feelings and anxiety around a big move.
1. Boomer’s Big Day by Constance W. McGeorge, Illustrated by Mary Whyte
Moving day can be stressful for everyone, including the family dog.
This humorous, sweet story is told from the perspective of the dog.
Boomer just wants his morning walk, but the house is chaos, with everything being packed into a truck and then delivered to a strange, empty house.
This is a great book for helping children recognize what a move will look like and how to prepare for the big day. A great kids book about moving to a new city to help your little one know what to expect.
2. Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz, Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
Alexander isn’t moving. Period.
It doesn’t matter that his dad has a new job, because there is no way Alexander is going to leave behind all his special places and special people.
Eventually, his parents help him calm down, but as he packs up his items, Alexander lets them know he’ll never, absolutely never, move again.
This is the perfect read to remind kids they’re not alone in their apprehension, while making them giggle all the while.
3. Louis + Bobo: We Are Moving by Christiane Engle
Louis and his dog, Bobo, learn to adjust to their new surroundings.
Perfect for the kid who is anxious about the big day. And better yet, for any kid who has a beloved pet who will be moving with them!
4. The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain
This classic book depicts the Bear family moving from their cozy cave to their new treehouse. It shows them packing up their belongings, loading the moving truck, and it shows how they go about fixing up their new house.
This book is especially great if you plan to renovate your new home! Either way, it’s a classic childrens book about moving.
5. Augustine by Melanie Watt
This is the story of a little penguin who moves from the South Pole to the North Pole. She uses art to cope with her feelings and fears about living in a new place.
After reading this book, break out the crayons and blank paper and have a coloring session with your little one.
Take some time to draw your new house and illustrate any feelings you both have about it.
6. Big Ernie’s New Home By Teresa and Whitney Martin
When Big Ernie the cat moves to Santa Fe, he misses the familiar comforts of home. He learns that everyone–even the very brave–needs time to adapt to a new place.
7. Home by Carson Ellis
Influential artist Carson Ellis makes her solo picture-book debut with a beautifully imaginative tribute to the many possibilities of home. Now in paperback!
This is a gorgeous, imaginative celebration of the of what home can mean.
Home might be a house in the country, a flat in the city, or even a shoe.
There are clean homes, messy homes, sea homes, and bee homes.
Home resides on the road or the sea, in the realm of myth, or in the artist’s own studio.
This loving look at the places where people live brims with intriguing characters and is a visual treat that demands many a return visit.
8. Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe By Susan Patron, Illustrated by Abigail Halpin
When their mama decides they need to move to a larger apartment, PK relies on her active imagination to help her worried sisters adjust to their new environment.
This kids book about moving shows a child helping her sisters cope with anxiety over a move.
It builds empathy in children and shows that new spaces can be good spaces!
9. Where I Live By Eileen Spinelli, Illustrated by Matt Phelan
Diana is forced to move from a home she loves and wonders if she will ever be happy and grounded in her new one.
You and your child will relate to the ups and downs of this story told in beautiful poems.
Books About Moving to a New City (FOR PARENTS TO HELP THEIR CHILDREN!)
Let’s be real here: kids aren’t the only ones who need help coping with a big move. Change is scary whether your four or thirty-four!
That’s why I’ve given you three books that helped me as I made a huge move not only geographically, but also professionally.
These books helped me cope with change myself, and they helped me navigate moving with a small child–a win for everyone!
Plus, they gave my anxious brain something to hold onto as the moving date approached.
1. Moving With Kids: 25 Ways to Ease Your Family’s Transition to a New Home by Lori Collins Burgan
This book draws on the experience of multiple families who have undertaken a big move. It provides 25 ways to smooth the transition to a new home for your family.
Collins Burgan even gives advice about helping children build community in a new place and finding new friends.
2. Moving, Children & Stress: Reducing Family Anxiety Throughout the Moving Process Dr. Thomas T. Olkowski and Lynn Parker
This Kindle book focuses on the whole family and gives practical advice about how to guide your family through the moving process. An excellent book about moving for helping parents know how to help their children cope.
Focusing particularly on how stress affects the bodies of children (and not just preschoolers), Dr. Olkowski and Lynn Parker remind us of the importance of reducing stress during a stressful move.
3. Just Tell Me What to Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents by Betsy Brown Braun
In this book, Betsy Brown Braun, who is a child development specialist and mother of triplets (which makes her an expert in our book!) blends humor and expertise to help the reader answer tough questions from kiddos.
The book comes with actual scripts to help you work through tough situations like moving. Yes, please!
What were some adult or kids books about moving to a new city that helped you cope?
Find more tips for moving with kids!
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- Feminist books for boys
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Rebekah Fitzsimmons, PhD, is Undefining Motherhood’s expert on children’s literature. She has a PhD in English (Children’s Literature) from the University of Florida. She is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Professional Communication in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Rebekah’s book, Beyond the Blockbuster will be available through the University Press of Mississippi in April. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, mother-in-law, and awesome dog.