Moving house has been voted one of the top most stressful things you can do, and I’m not at all surprised.
It’s also stressful for children, especially if you’re moving to a new area where they’ll have to start a new school and make new friends.
We’ve obviously gone a step further and moved to a new country where everyone speaks a different language, so making new friends isn’t easy and this was one of our biggest worries for Little H when making our decision about whether to move – especially since she’s an only child.
Like many things when you have kids, you have to put a lot of work in as parents to help your children make friends. Here are a few things we’ve done – these are the same whether you’re moving to a new country or just a new part of town…
Join clubs and classes
We signed Little H up for karate and dance classes pretty much as soon as we got here.
She’d been doing karate after school in England and wanted to carry on with it. The dance classes were recommended by a fellow expat mum I got talking to in the park as many of the English girls from the village school attend.
The dance classes were a great idea as Little H has made friends with girls from her new school already and even another English girl who will be in her class in September. She’s even taking part in the village Fiesta this weekend!
Go to local swimming pool and parks
In this part of Spain, most villages have their own municipal pool which is free to use for residents. So far we have only been twice but have already met a lot of children, both English and Spanish, who go to the school that Little H will be starting at in September.
As well as Little H needing able to get to know some of her new classmates, it’s also been a great way to find out lots of information from the local kids and their parents.
We’ve also met many families in the parks in the surrounding villages and whilst many will go to different schools we are the same children each time we visit and they always let Little H join in their games – even when it’s all in Spanish and she’s no idea what’s going on!
Going to the park nearest your child’s new school can be a great place to meet children who may also go to the same school.
Unfortunately, we didn’t sign Little H up for summer school this year as we have a lot of visitors over the summer months and she obviously wants to be around to see them all but I thought I’d include on the list as it’s such a great way to make friends.
The summer schools here are held in each village for the local children, so again they all usually go to the same school.
Back in England, we used to use the summer holiday club at the local sports centre and there were lots of children from Little H’s school there so this is definitely an idea to look into if you’re moving before term starts again.
We have a few playdates set up with the children of fellow mums who we’ve met since moving here.
Ordinarily, I am rubbish at talking to people I don’t know and arranging to meet up with a mum I don’t know would be the last thing I’d do. However, when you move to a new place sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to help your kids make friends!
Have you moved to a new area and had to help your kids make brand new friends? If so, I’d love to hear any ideas on how to help your children make friends that I haven’t thought of!