Moving overseas with your kids to Spain

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Moving overseas with your kids to Spain

Creating a smooth transition: Practical tips for moving overseas with your kids to Spain

Hola, adventurous parents! So, you’re packing up your family and moving to Spain? That’s fantastic! There’s nothing quite like giving your kids the gift of a global perspective.

We know that the process can seem a bit daunting – there are new schools to find, a different language to learn, and a whole new culture to understand. But don’t worry; it’s going to be an incredible journey. Not just a physical one, but a journey of growth, discovery, and exciting family memories.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through some practical tips to make this transition as smooth as possible. We’re talking about the nitty-gritty, from finding the right school for your little ones to tackling the Spanish healthcare system and even dealing with homesickness. Ready to embark on this exciting adventure? ¡Vamos!

Understanding the Spanish Lifestyle

Spain, known for its vibrant culture and relaxed lifestyle, is an intriguing place for families to settle down. The Spanish way of life, while distinct from many other cultures, offers a rich tapestry of experiences that can make your transition smoother and more exciting.

The Culture

Spanish culture, as diverse as its geography, offers a myriad of unique traditions and festivals. Each region boasts its own customs, making every corner of Spain wonderfully distinct. The Spaniards are passionate about their fiestas – there’s almost always a celebration happening somewhere! These events often involve the entire community and are family-friendly, offering an excellent opportunity for you and your children to immerse yourselves in the local culture.

In addition to these, Spain is also home to an array of world-class museums, historical landmarks, and architectural wonders, providing ample avenues for cultural enrichment. You can explore Spain’s rich history through its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which include iconic landmarks such as the Alhambra in Granada, the historic city of Toledo, and the works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona.

The Food

Spanish cuisine is a gastronomic delight. From the world-renowned paella to a wide variety of tapas, Spanish food is all about fresh ingredients and robust flavors. Beyond the food itself, mealtimes in Spain are seen as social occasions. It’s a time for family and friends to gather, share stories, and enjoy each other’s company.

The Spanish dining schedule might seem unusual to newcomers, with lunch often served around 2 or 3 pm, and dinner not until 9 or 10 pm. But this rhythm of life, punctuated by leisurely meals, is one of the aspects that make living in Spain so unique.

The People

Spaniards are known for their friendliness and hospitality. They value family and personal relationships above all else, which makes Spain a welcoming place for families. It’s common to see locals striking up conversations with strangers or extending offers of help to new expats – it’s their way of making you feel welcome.

The Weather

Spain’s climate is another of its many attractions. With hot summers and mild winters, outdoor activities are possible year-round. Whether it’s building sandcastles on one of Spain’s many beautiful beaches, hiking in the mountains, or exploring historical sites, there’s plenty to keep your family entertained.

Adapting to a new lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s perfectly normal to experience some culture shock. But with an open mind and a spirit of adventure, you and your family will soon start feeling at home in Spain. Enjoy the journey and embrace the change – living in Spain can be an enriching experience for your whole family.

Finding the Right Schools

Moving to Spain with children means you’ll need to find the right school for them. The Spanish education system is quite different from others, so it’s crucial to understand how it works. From preschool (educación infantil) to primary school (educación primaria), and then to compulsory secondary education (educación secundaria obligatoria), the Spanish system focuses on a broad knowledge base and bilingualism.

International schools are an excellent option, especially if you want your kids to continue with a curriculum they’re familiar with. These schools often offer International Baccalaureate (IB) or other country-specific curricula, like American or British. However, local Spanish schools offer a fantastic opportunity for your kids to fully immerse in the culture, language, and lifestyle of Spain. The choice depends on your family’s needs and long-term plans. Remember, research is key! Visit potential schools, meet with the teachers, and consider the school’s location in relation to your home.

To kickstart your search, consider reaching out to other expat families for recommendations or scouring online resources.

Preparing your Kids for the Move

Moving to a new country is a significant change, especially for children. However, with some thoughtful preparation and open conversations, you can help your kids get ready for this exciting new chapter in Spain.

Start by talking about the move in a positive and exciting way. Share pictures of Spain, your new home, and the neighborhood. Read books about Spain or watch Spanish cartoons together. This will help them visualize their new surroundings and make the idea of moving less abstract.

Learning some basic Spanish phrases can also be beneficial. Make it fun by turning it into a game or using language learning apps that are designed for kids. Knowing how to say simple things like “Hello,” “Thank you,” and “Where is the bathroom?” can make them feel more comfortable in their new environment.

Also, address any fears or concerns they might have. Moving can be scary, but if they know they can talk to you about their feelings, it can make a big difference. Reassure them that it’s normal to feel nervous about such a big change, and remind them that you’ll be there to support them every step of the way.

Finally, involve them in the moving process. Let them pack their own special box with their favorite toys, books, and other items. This can help them feel more involved and give them a sense of control over the situation. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in making the transition smoother for your little ones.

Finding accommodation in Spain

If you are considering relocating to Spain and are seeking accommodation, there are several reputable online platforms that can assist you in finding suitable housing. Websites such as Idealista provides extensive listings for apartments in various Spanish cities including Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and Valencia. These platforms allow you to specify your preferences, such as city and price range, and offer a wide variety of options ranging from studio apartments to larger family homes.

For those who prefer a more flexible arrangement, Homelike is a platform designed specifically to cater to the needs of people looking for fully equipped accommodation. It offers fully furnished apartments with flexible leasing terms. You may find this link to their Madrid listings useful: Homelike Madrid Apartments.  

It is important to note that each city in Spain has its own unique characteristics and cost of living. Therefore, it is advisable to conduct thorough research to determine which city best suits your lifestyle and budget. Whether you prefer Barcelona’s dynamic arts scene, Madrid’s vibrant nightlife, Seville’s rich historical backdrop, or Valencia’s breathtaking architecture, Spain offers a diverse range of options to suit your needs.

Settling in and adjusting to life in Spain

Once you’ve made the move, settling into your new life in Spain can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. But with patience, time, and a positive attitude, you and your family can navigate this transition smoothly.

Firstly, give yourselves time to adjust. It’s normal to feel homesick or experience culture shock when moving to a new country. Remember, it’s a process and it’s okay to take it slow. Try to establish routines as soon as possible – they can provide a sense of normalcy and comfort for both you and your kids.

Next, exploring your new neighborhood is a great way to familiarize yourself with your surroundings and discover local gems. Visit the local parks, shops, restaurants, and other key places such as your children’s school, the nearest hospital, and public transportation stops. This will not only help you navigate your daily life but also make your new location feel more like home.

Learning the language, if you haven’t already, is also a crucial part of settling in. Consider enrolling in Spanish classes or using language learning apps. Encourage your kids to practice their Spanish too, perhaps through games or by making new friends.

Getting involved in the community can also aid in adjusting to your new life. Look for local events, join clubs or groups, or volunteer. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn about Spanish culture, and feel more connected to your new home.

Remember, moving to a new country is a significant change, and it’s okay to have ups and downs. Stay patient, keep an open mind, and before you know it, you’ll be feeling right at home in Spain.

Embracing the Spanish Way of Life

Immersing yourself in Spanish culture is a fantastic way to feel more connected to your new home. Spain is renowned for its rich traditions, vibrant festivals, delectable cuisine, and warm, friendly people.

One of the best ways to embrace Spanish culture is through its food. Spain’s culinary scene is diverse and exciting – from tantalizing tapas and paellas to delectable churros and flan. Cooking traditional Spanish dishes at home can be a fun family activity, or you could explore local restaurants to experience the authentic flavors of Spain.

Spain is also famous for its festivals. ‘La Feria de Abril’ in Seville, for instance, is a week-long celebration filled with flamenco dancing, traditional dress, horse parades, and festive gatherings.  ‘La Tomatina’ tomato-throwing festival in Buñol is also quite popular. Participating in these events can provide a deeper understanding of Spanish traditions and customs.

Learning the language is another essential aspect of embracing the culture. Beyond just communicating, understanding Spanish can help you appreciate Spanish music, literature, and cinema on a deeper level. It’s also a great way to bond with locals and make new friends.

Lastly, remember that Spaniards are known for their relaxed pace of life. They value time spent with family and friends, often over long meals or late-night conversations. So, try to slow down, savor every moment, and embrace the Spanish way of life. Before you know it, you’ll not just be living in Spain, but you’ll truly feel like a part of Spain            .

Networking and making friends

Building a new social network in Spain can be a rewarding experience. Making local friends will not only help you feel more at home, but it can also provide valuable insights into Spanish customs, traditions, and day-to-day life.

Here are some tips to help you make friends and build a network in Spain:

Language Exchange Groups: Joining a language exchange group can be a great way to meet locals and other expats. It’s an opportunity to improve your Spanish while helping others with their English.

Join Local Clubs or Groups: Whether it’s a sports club, a book club, or a cooking class, joining local groups that match your interests can be a fantastic way to meet like-minded people.

Volunteer: Volunteering is another excellent way to meet people and give back to the community. Look for local charities or organizations that need help. Websites like Volunteer World can help you find opportunities.

Attend Local Events: Spain is known for its festivals and community events. Attending these can be a fun way to meet people and immerse yourself in Spanish culture.

Networking Apps and Websites: There are many apps and websites designed to help people make new friends in their city. Sites like Meetup can be a useful resource.

Be Open and Approachable: Lastly, don’t forget to be yourself. Be open to conversations, show interest in others, and don’t be afraid to initiate contact.

Remember, making friends takes time, especially in a new country. Don’t rush it – take your time to find the right people who you really connect with. Before you know it, you’ll have a network of friends who make Spain feel even more like home.

Wrapping up, relocating to Spain with your children may initially appear challenging. However, with thoughtful organization and readiness, it can pave the way for an exciting journey and a rewarding experience. From securing the right accommodation to familiarizing yourself with the local culture and educational framework, each proactive step you take will ensure a smoother adaptation process. Change, while sometimes intimidating, often leads to personal growth and opens up a world of opportunities. So, embrace this adventure wholeheartedly and before you know it, Spain’s vibrant lifestyle and welcoming community will feel like home.

Sponsored article from Homelike

Need to talk 1-1 about your move and life overseas with someone who 'gets it'? Consider me your own, personal expat expert! I'm here for you.

Your one-stop-shop for a successful life abroad

Expatability Club

An expat community and advice hub where you’ll never feel alone or unsupported. With an Expat Expert in your pocket for real-time support.

Let's stay in touch!

Subscribe to my newsletter and be first to hear news and updates from Carole.

By subscribing you also agree to receive marketing emails from Carole Hallett Mobbs. You can opt-out of these emails at any time. My full privacy policy can be seen here: Privacy Policy

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Want some personalised advice?

Find out how I can help you make your expat life a success!