Moving to Spain with Children


Moving to Spain with Children

Guest post by Lisa Sadleir

Ever dreamed of moving to Spain with your family? Malaga-based relocation consultant and mother Lisa Sadleir explains why she felt compelled to write her essential guide, Moving to Spain with Children.

I help people who want to move to Spain on a daily basis – assisting them with paperwork such as ID cards, selecting suitable schools, finding their ideal property, and generally smoothing the way for their big move to a new country – and most importantly, anticipating any potential problems. People think being an expat in Spain is a relaxed, carefree existence, lying in the sun and simply enjoying the wonderful lifestyle – while that’s certainly a part of the experience, it takes considerable time and effort to get to that point.

Having worked as an adviser and consultant to many families, and seeing all the traps it’s easy to fall into and the mistakes it’s easy to make, I thought why not offer all the knowledge I’ve accumulated in a handy form which everyone can get read, and use as a reference – a complete guide to starting a new life in Spain.

As well as offering up-to-date advice which will help with every aspect of moving, from schools and language, to timing, social integration and even pet care, Moving to Spain with Children offers the clear message that coming to live in Spain with your family needs to be carefully planned and thought-out, not done on a whim. The book offers a comprehensive, detailed rundown of all the admin aspects you need to take into account – documentation (of which there is a ridiculously large amount), the health system, bank accounts and starting a business.

My advice is based on more than 20 years of living in Spain, in the Canary Islands and other regions before settling in Malaga, and I firmly believe there are few better places for bringing up children – the emphasis on family life, the open and friendly people, the warm welcome wherever you go, the fantastic weather which means you’re outdoors in the sunshine most days.

The place where we live is Mijas, a small village just inland from the Costa del Sol, near Malaga. My two children, who are now aged seven and ten, both go to a local Spanish state school. They are bilingual, have friends of all nationalities, and take part in lots of different activities – plus the beach is five minutes’ drive away!

The location is ideal for us as we can benefit from both coastal and village life. Our village, Mijas, offers a safe and friendly environment for them. We enjoy a wonderful quality of life – Mijas is small enough to get to know everyone, but not so small that it’s like a goldfish bowl. For us, our pueblo is a perfect place for our children to grow up.

The ferias (village fairs) are small enough that we don’t worry about losing them (unlike when we venture down to the larger ferias on the coast). Anytime we wander around the village their friends call out to them – it is a lovely, safe, family-oriented place. Imagine going to school in a village where you can get stuck behind horse and carriages or donkey taxis – it’s almost a fairytale for a child!

Parts of the book comes from blog posts on our two blogs, www.familylifeinspain.com which is a mixture of informative posts and diaries of our own family life in Spain, and www.ccbspain.com which provides essential information about the notorious Spanish bureaucracy for people who are looking to move to, or who already live in, Spain.

These are my five top tips for anyone coming over to live in Spain:

  1. Timing is a key factor to a successful relocation if you have children.
  2. Research the area you are considering moving to … choose your location before choosing your house.
  3. Be prepared to slow down. Get ready for a more relaxed pace of life.
  4. Forget the “but in England, they do it this way….” attitude. Start learning the Spanish language and customs as soon as you can if you want to integrate with the local Spanish community.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice, but beware of the bar stool grapevine. Our business website www.ccbspain.com is full of important information relevant to living in Spain and if the information is not there, we will happily find it for you.

To order your copy of Moving to Spain with Children, click here or find it on Amazon.com.

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