Moving to Spain – Part 1 – Guide to Buying a Bar

Moving to Spain – Part 1 – Guide to Buying a Bar

The idea of moving to Spain with young children is obviously much more daunting than making the leap as a couple or a single person with no dependants. It’s a fact that Spain offers a wonderful lifestyle for people of all ages, particularly youngsters who are generally adored by the Spanish.

In most Spanish bars, restaurants and public places children are welcomed with open an arm which is a far cry from the very British “children should be seen and not heard” mentality. Spanish fathers, uncles and grandfathers openly kiss and cuddle their children in public showing a touching kind of affection which is rarely seen (and might even be frowned upon) in other countries.

In Spain you’ll see teenagers gathered in a bar drinking coffee or coca-cola for hours on end, even though Spain’s relaxed licensing laws allow kids to consume alcohol at almost any age. It’s rare to see the drunken brawls which are now a normal part of the “teen scene” in any of the major towns and cities in the UK on Friday and Saturday nights.

In anywhere except the far north of Spain the climate enables youngsters to be out of doors for most of the time (a boon for anyone who’s ever been cooped up with energetic children or teenagers on a rainy day!).

So that’s all the good news. But think very carefully before removing your children from everything they’re familiar with because, especially with older kids, a permanent move to Spain isn’t always successful.

The age of your children is a vital factor when considering a move to Spain, especially if you’re thinking of sending them to a Spanish school. The younger they are the better chance they’ll have of learning the language and settling into their new environment. There are no hard and fast rules on this one of course as much depends on the character and ability of your child. But generally speaking, children up to the age of around seven will adapt well and quickly to life in Spain (as long as they perceive that their parents are adapting well themselves of course).

After the age of seven (sometimes earlier, sometimes later depending on the particular child), mastering the language and adapting to a completely alien environment will become increasingly difficult. Spanish state schools accept children from EU countries with a minimum of fuss and those in the popular tourist / ex-pat areas normally make special provision for foreign children. They usually lay on extra tuition to help the children learn Spanish and assign (where possible) a pupil of the same nationality to accompany your child for at least the first few days in school.

Very young children will pick up the language within a matter of weeks but older children are more inhibited, self-conscious and therefore unwilling to make fools of themselves until they’re completely confident in their ability to speak fluently. This can lead to isolation, depression and a total inability to integrate with the Spanish children.

If you’re moving to Spain with children over the age of 10 you should consider whether you can afford to put them into an international school where they can continue their studies in their own language. It’s rare to find children above this age who adapt well to a totally Spanish environment without some major problems along the way. It’s not impossible…but the older your children are, the more difficult the move is likely to be.

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