Raising kids in Spain

Hello everyone,

How is raising kids in Spain different from raising kids in your home country?

What are the activities that your kids seem to enjoy the most in Spain?

Do you feel that the country is "family-friendly"?

Do you recommend Spain as a good place to raise kids? Why or why not?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

For us it was a no brainer. We previously lived in a small village in Wales and they children went to a Welsh language school in our village.  Due to government cuts all the rural schools were closing so we made the decision to relocate to Spain. We chose a small village with a local country school. It was like a lovely welcoming family and in no time at all our children were speaking Spanish fluently.  One daughter loves horse riding and it is very popular here in Spain with the emphasis on fun and not so much health and safety. She has learned to ride really well. My youngest loves athletics and again this is very popular.  Spain is very welcoming and the children love it here. My only concern is that when they grow older there is not a great deal of employment so we are thinking about relocating soon to Gibraltar where they can finish their education and hopefully go onto university.  But definitely for small children Spain is wonderful.

Spain is a big country so I can only comment on the very small part of it that I live in; Menorca.

We moved to Menorca when my son was just 11 years old.  The advice we were given was to avoid putting him into a state school that had a large group of other ex-pat children.  Schools with a number of English speaking pupils tended to form cliques and take longer to integrate.  We did as suggested and enrolled him at a school in Mahon.  It was heart-breaking to leave him there on his first day when the only words he knew were si and non.

For the first month or so, he sat through classes not understanding a word.  He didn't even know how to ask if he could go to the toilet.  Then he discovered balonmano (hand ball) and realised he was pretty  good at it.  He began to stay on after school to play with a group of kids from his class and suddenly his learning curve went vertical.  Within 6 months he spoke very good Castillano and by 12 months he was totally fluent.  A few years later when he left to go to college he was told that all classes would be in Catalan and he had just a few months to learn it. Having acquired one language he found it remarkably easy to learn a second.

He is an adult now and has a son of his own who went through the same process and at 6 years old was fluent in no less than three languages having learned English through his father, Castillano from his mother and Catalan at play-school.

Finally, we got to know our local school very well and could not praise it highly enough.  In spite of the usual funding problems, the teachers are young, enthusiastic and creative, the way English teachers would be if they were left alone by UK politicians who all think they know better.

My kids are not studying in Spain. I guess the Spain has good schools and environment to raise kids.

Its been great.

The only trouble was living in Catalonia we didn't want our boys hard wired into Catalan being a minority language compared to international Spanish ...Castilliano.

We found a school who was prepared to teach our lads just Spanish, not easy in downtown Barcelona !

With us speaking English in the house and having Freesat with all the UK TV and Radio stations, it was easy. We also bought off Amazon etc to actually buy English schoolbooks and novels. Reading well leads to speaking and writing well.

We ran home schooling with tutors a couple of evenings a week so they could keep up with UK Key Stages.

10 years ago we bought a house over the border in France so they could do a few years of French.
Back in Barca now.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who experienced a temporary stutter with their children whilst learning two languages. We learnt it was normal for a child's brain to process and seperate them out.

I did feel guilty pushing my boys forward in the early days saying to them
"Whats is he saying?" if we were in a shop and they were speaking too fast. 

Then there are medical terms and car parts.

Everyday language is all well and good and I like to think we are all fluent but try walking into a motor dealer in France and explaining that the Land Rover windscreen wipers arent working.  There will always be a little Napoleon who pretends he doesn't understand you whilst you are flapping your arms from side to side !

That is also a known Catalan trait !
Was buying a house just outside Sitges and the agent told me that the old lady selling wanted exactly  500 and something  Euros. An old lady who even refused to speak in Spanish. It had to be Catalan.
It wasn't a round number. It was a very strange exact number.
I didn't get it until the light went on and out came my calculator. A quick flashback to 2001 and it all became obvious.  She wanted x million pesetas exactly.

The default position is that with the three languages  the boys will never have to look for work.

Although I no longer have kids of the age to worry about, this topic is a good one, expecially for families who are considering such a life changing move. I too am considering the move there and have lots to consider but I do feel Spain is very welcoming and the move will be worthwhile for families. Long term, everyone will have to determine whay they will do for work but that will be true anywhere.  I may be able to help create jobs when I move there since I plan on opening business there.  Now I just have to determine what area to live.  :)

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