How to help children settle in Spain and make new friends
Moving to Spain with children is an exciting opportunity. It is a huge commitment but there are steps you can take to make things easier and help your children settle into their new life on the Costa Blanca.
Keep a few home comforts
Whilst we definitely recommend integrating into your new community, children know what they like and making wholesale changes overnight could be daunting. Obviously, introduce them to the local produce, fiestas and traditions but mix them up with a few comforts from home too.
You could have arroz a banda one day and bangers and mash the next. They may like to watch their favourite English films or TV programmes with a few programmes in Spanish too. By gradually introducing new things, they won’t notice them so much.
Encourage them to keep in touch with friends and family back home so they are kept in the loop with what’s happening in their old home town.
Encourage them to make friends
Invite neighbours and families from school to a housewarming party. You could keep it simple by having a barbecue or paella party. Get the kids to play games in the pool or play other games so they have to talk to one another.
If they’re young, take them to the nearest playground to play on the swings or slides. Introduce them to other children there and encourage them to play together. Often you will see the same people there, so it’s easy to build up friendships. Living on the Costa Blanca means you enjoy 320 days of sunshine – plenty of opportunities to play outside and integrate.
Join Costa Blanca clubs
Whether they’re into sports, drama, arts or science, they will find clubs to join and meet like-minded people of all nationalities.
For instance, Studio 23 is a performing arts school and dance studio based in the Lady Elizabeth School in Cumbre del Sol. In Star Studios, in Jávea, there are dance classes and a stage school for budding performers. Sports-mad children can join FC Amigos Inter De Jávea International football club, Xabia Aguiles Rugby teams or Academia Tenis Ferrer run by Javea’s very own superstar tennis player David Ferrer.
Most other towns will have football, tennis and basketball clubs for children to join. For instance, in Dénia there are also rugby, basketball and football clubs as well as the Diverbot computer training school.
Learn Spanish as fast as you can
Children will learn Spanish super quickly when they start school. Most become fluent in months but they will feel less tongue-tied if they can hold a basic conversation before they start school. There are online apps for teaching Spanish to children such as Spanish School Bus, Gus On The Go and DuoLingo for Kids as well as face-to-face lessons.
They can also watch their favourite movies or cartoons in Spanish. Watch the movies over and over again in Spanish with English subtitles to begin. They’ll soon pick up the vocabulary because they already know the storyline in English.
Get in touch if you want to know more about moving to the Costa Blanca North. The VíllaMía team has lived here for many years and can help you to integrate quickly and smoothly.