You’re planning on moving to somewhere that’s full of sun, good food, and a vibrant city life. Madrid is a fantastic place to live for expats. You’re likely filled with a range of emotions, from excitement and trepidation about the move, to sadness about who and what you’re leaving behind.
If you’re moving with kids, then they’re probably feeling all these emotions ten times over, even if they don’t quite understand them all the time. They might be brimming with excitement over the prospect of living on what seems to them like an eternal holiday, but it is also a massive up haul of their life.
Through all the ups and downs, we want to help you get through the process as smoothly as possible and ease the transition for you children. Nestpick is a search aggregator for flat rentals in 60 cities around the world (including Madrid): many of its users have been through the transition before, so here are their top 5 tips for moving to Madrid with your kids.
There’s no “perfect” time to move abroad with your kids, except that sooner is probably better. The younger your kids are, the easier they will find the transition when moving to Spain. As kids get older, there will be more that they have to leave behind, including friends and even boyfriends/girlfriends.
Choosing the right time of year can also be important, especially if your kids are of school age. Pulling them out of school in the middle of the academic year and then expecting them to join a new school part way through the year, as well, can be extremely difficult for them. They will find it much easier if they can start attending their new school at the start of the academic year, which is September in Spain.
Keeping your kids in the dark about your plans to move to Madrid (or anywhere else, really) can make the process even more difficult and lead to more resistance on their part. Try to get them involved in your decisions, answer their questions about the move, and show them lots of pictures and tell them interesting things about the place you’re moving to.
If you have a chance to take a trip to the area before the big move, you should definitely do it. This can give you and your kids a taste of what’s to come, helping to ease them into their new home and lifestyle.
The more Spanish your kids can learn before you make the move, the easier it will make the adjustment period for them. If your kids’ school doesn’t offer Spanish lessons, then you should try to enrol them in a local Spanish club or use an app such as Duolingo to help them at least learn the basics of the language before they go.
Spanish people lead a very relaxed lifestyle. They have siestas, they eat their evening meal late, and they stay up and go out until the early hours of the morning. When adapting to this lifestyle, you may have to accept the fact that your kids will be staying up later than usual. That’s just the way things are in Spain, so don’t get too caught up on the rules you used to set for your kids. Plus, if your kids have any resistance to the idea of moving to Spain, you could use this fact as a bargaining chip!
You might be worried about how your kids will adapt to the move as it is such a big change. But, the reality is that, once settled in, they will more than likely adapt faster than you. Kids tend to be more adept at picking up new languages and find it easier to make friends compared to adults.
So, within no time they’ll be speaking like a native and inviting their new school friends over to play. They might still miss their friends and their old school from time to time, but they’ll quickly find happiness in their new home.
Spain has so much to offer to expat families moving there. As long as your kids are fully prepared for the move, then we’re sure they’ll love their new life living abroad.