If you’re thinking of moving with your children to a sunnier place like Costa del Sol in Spain, be well prepared. Planning isn’t easy, but it’s essential, especially when it comes to children, so keep in mind that there is quite a list of things you should consider before packing your bags and moving to Spain with children.
Considering that everything will be set and ready for the parents before the big move, here are some regards about children and how to prepare them for the new life you are planning together. Moving to a foreign country could be tough on them, so you might want to make their transition as smooth as possible.
Here are some of the most important aspects you will need to keep in mind.
1. Your children’s age
The truth is that when it comes to moving abroad, the younger – the better. It will be much easier for a small child to adapt to a completely new environment than it would be for a teenager.
The older they are, the harder it will be for them to let go of everything they have already built at home: friendships, comfort, habits, and start new from scratch. It will seem like a complete tragedy for them to leave it all behind, so the best thing you can do is prepare them and take as much time ahead as you can.
Show them everything you know about your future home, show them your excitement and how the move will change your lives for the better, so that they can have time to get used to the idea, to say goodbye to their friends and maybe even make plans together.
2. Language barriers
Although there already is a large number of foreign expats in the Costa del Sol, few locals speak any international language. Your kids are going to have to go to school and make friends fast, so start giving them Spanish lessons before moving. It is important to start the lessons as soon as you start planning moving here, so that they can adapt easier and remove this barrier faster.
3. Schools and education
There are good schools in Costa del Sol, and they are improving every year in accommodating all the international children who move here with their families.
For preschool, the second stage (3-6 years) is free in state-funded schools. But there are also nurseries, private or public, some of them run by expats, in all areas of Costa del Sol, including small towns.
If your children are older, then you should consider International Schools. They teach in English or bilingual and most expat children attend there, but there is a fee to be paid. An alternative are the state-funded schools which offer a part of the classes in English, and it is free to study there until the age of 18 for all EU citizens. Secondary Schools cover a wider range of population, so small towns don’t have one. If you decide upon a certain one, make sure to find a home as near to it as possible and keep in mind that the paperwork takes time.
4. Free-time activities
What better way for your child to make new friends and learn the language than a few extracurricular activities? There are a lot of classes your kids could go to: from swimming, arts & crafts, dancing or even horse riding, they will keep them busy and are a good excuse to meet new people. So after you settle in, don’t hesitate to have a conversation and find out which one of the many classes your children would like to attend.
5. Best time of the year to move
If you could pick the time of the year to move, the best time is during the summer. The school applications in Spain are submitted by March, the answer comes by June, and school starts in September, so your children can finish their school year at home, spend a summer vacation at the new home, then begin their next year at school.
The sunny and warm weather of Costa del Sol during the summer will make them feel optimistic and happy, plus, there are summer schools where they can meet with their future colleagues. Summer is the perfect time to make the transition as easy as possible.
6. Prepare for a completely different lifestyle
The mentality of families here are mainly old school and traditional. Children stay up as much as they want to and families go out all together until late at night, the local festivities are plenty, especially during the summer, so don’t miss out on these great family-time opportunities which the locals have and just blend in and enjoy your new home.
Moving abroad implies a lot of changes, including your lifestyle. In Costa del Sol and throughout entire Spain, in general, things go a lot smoother than what you might be used to. The eating hours are later, the siestas and the laid-back and relaxed atmosphere will make you feel like time just moves slower, like the carrousel has stopped, so take advantage and enjoy all the good parts of it.