Everything you need to know about: Having a Baby in Spain

Having a Baby in Spain by Charlotte Humphries (A recently new mummy in Spain!):

However long you’ve lived abroad, it’s the momentous occasions which remind you that you’re living in a foreign country and that some things are just not the same as at home, wherever home may be. Having a baby is just one of those times!

Before and during the birth:

Book about Moving to Spain with ChildrenPrivate vs. State Healthcare

It’s important to get checked up as soon as you suspect you are pregnant and so first you need to decide if you’ll be going down the public or private healthcare route. It may not be as simple as making a personal choice when having a baby in Spain. Some private healthcare plans require you to have had insurance cover for a certain period of time before falling pregnant. On the other hand, some expats may not qualify for public healthcare under the social security system.

If you are not entitled to either state or private healthcare, you may have to “pay as you go” with a private doctor or gynecologist, or make a one off payment to an insurance company to cover your care during pregnancy and birth. If, on the other hand, you qualify for private and public healthcare, you may choose to visit both doctors in the early stages so that you can make an informed decision as to which system (and doctor) suits you best. Many choose to have their check ups with a private doctor and then give birth in a public hospital – often regarded to be the best place to have your baby if there is any risk of complications.

A private doctor will expect to see you monthly. He will give you either an internal or an external scan at each visit and arrange all the required and routine blood tests on your behalf. The state doctors may also see you regularly but will not perform as many scans (generally only from 12 weeks and all external). However, they also have midwives at their disposal who are very approachable and on hand to provide you with a huge range of advice (and some freebie samples!)

Antenatal Course

speaking SpanishSome future parents need the reassurance provided by an antenatal course prior to the baby’s arrival. Many of the public health centres run short courses in Spanish where midwives will take you through what to expect. Unfortunately most seem to be run during the day making it tricky for those who work.

If language is a problem or if the classes clash with your availability outside work, there are private options. On the Costa del Sol the most popular is run by two Irish midwives www.irishmidwife.com. The course is spread over four weekly evening sessions of about three hours. Both of the midwives have children themselves and extensive experience of working in the public and private hospitals in Marbella and Malaga and so are ideally placed to answer any questions you may have on which hospital to choose and what to expect. In the course they cover hospital policies, labour, exercise, breastfeeding, paperwork and much more.

The Hospital Birth

Home births are very rare in Spain and most babies are born in the hospital. Your first port of call if you go into labour is to check in at the URGENCIAS department. You should have with you your passport and social security card (if applicable) as well as everything you will need for you and the baby during your stay, and your birth plan (in Spanish). You can download a birth plan template HERE which may help you to complete yours.

Certainly in Marbella’s Costa del Sol hospital there is some provision for those aiming for a water birth but very few of the midwives are trained in this specialism and so it is available only to a few mothers to be on a first come, first served basis. You should include in your birth plan any preferences you have for pain relief (although they won’t hold you to it should you change your mind half way through!) There is no gas and air in Spanish hospitals (except in some private hospitals) but pethidine and epidurals are readily available.

The public hospital in Malaga also provides excellent care although it is regarded as more old fashioned in its approach to childbirth which some expat mums to be may find off putting.

While in the private hospitals you will be accommodated in a private room where your partner can sleep on a sofa bed near you, expect to have to share a room in the public hospital with one other new mum. In the Spanish health system, your family are expected to provide you with the support you need in the hospital – helping you to wash, use the bathroom, eat, etc. Of course, if no-one is available then the staff will help but the new baby’s father will be encouraged to stay overnight (or another family member) despite the fact that they will probably only have a rather uncomfortable chair to sleep on! It’s good practice for when the baby keeps them awake in the months to come!

The Spanish healthcare system has been accused of being too pro caesarian section, especially if you have had one previously. Spanish babies are, as a rule, smaller than northern European babies so you may find that you are encouraged down the surgery route if your baby is expected to be over 4 kg. In other European countries, fathers are allowed to be present in the operating theatre. This is not the case in Spain. Assuming the baby is healthy and there are no problems, after a c-section delivery the baby will be held near to the mother for a few moments skin to skin, before being whisked away to the father patiently waiting outside. The mother will then be taken down to the recovery ward for around two hours. During this time, baby will be washed up, weighed, dressed, thoroughly checked over by the pediatrician and given his or her initial injections.

Once mother and baby are reunited, the nursing staff will briskly assist with breastfeeding positions each time they check up on you both. The public hospital wards are busy, noisy places with lots of comings and goings – be prepared to be checked over regularly throughout the night whether or not you and your baby are getting some well deserved sleep! Door slamming is not unusual!

The public hospitals provide maternity towels, nappies, baby clothes, baby blankets, washcloths and hospital nightgowns (although you may be more comfortable in your own clothes post delivery). If you are struggling to breastfeed, need top up feeds or have decided to formula feed your baby then the hospital will provide ready made up bottles for you to feed your baby (although you will be encouraged to breastfeed if possible). The auxiliary staff are normally very helpful and won’t need much encouragement to take the baby off for a bath whenever required (my husband went along with the baby and learned how to bathe her, massage her and swaddle her very efficiently!)


When the hospital staff decide you and your baby are ready to leave the hospital they will discharge you separately. The baby will be checked over and signed off by the pediatrician; the new mother will be examined by the gynecologist before being given the all clear. The mother is issued with a “baja”, or discharge, plus any prescriptions needed for her immediate future care.

A number of documents are issued for the new baby including paperwork detailing any vaccinations already given and a baby book in which future healthcare appointments/vaccinations should be recorded.

The baby will also be issued with a very important yellow form which is vital for baby’s within eight days after birth. It’s called a Cuestionario para la Declaración de Nacimiento en el Registro Civil – check the information on this form as it must be 100% correct and duly signed by the midwife or doctor who delivered your baby. The hospital will also issue a certificate to confirm that the baby’s birth has not been registered by the hospital.

Talking of names, my husband was asked what the baby’s name would be while I was having my caesarean section. Thankfully we’d more or less agreed the name beforehand as it was recorded at this time! I’m sure we could have changed it if necessary but I suggest you either know 100% or tell them you are not ready to provide a name in order to avoid future documentary complications!

Back Home

In many European countries midwives or health visitors will visit the new mum and baby at home regularly after the birth. This is not the case in Spain where most new parents rely on support from their families. Midwives are available at local health centres if you need help and you will be encouraged to meet with a pediatrician, whether private or public, early on in order to check on baby’s progress.

On the Costa del Sol there are private English speaking midwives who are available to visit you at home (for a fee) to answer any questions you have, check on the health of new baby and mum, help with breastfeeding and general baby care queries. In addition, many run baby groups where you can meet up with other mums to trade advice, woes, achievements and concerns.

The Formalities:

Book about Moving to Spain with ChildrenRegistration

There are several formalities to complete before you can settle into your new life as parents. The most important in terms of time limits is to register the baby. It is mandatory if your baby was born in Spain, whatever your nationality. If you have signed on the Padron where you live, you can register the baby in your local Registro Civil. If you are not on the Padron then you will need to register the baby in the town where he or she was born. Click here for more information on registering your baby in Spain: https://familylifeinspain.com/how-to-register-a-birth-in-spain/. Remember to ask for a full birth certificate (Certificación Literal) if you intend to apply for a non-Spanish passport for your baby.


Obviously the passport application procedure is different for each country but for the UK, you now need to apply online and then send the required supporting documentation to Belfast. This includes baby’s original long birth certificate plus a translated, certified and apostiled copy, parents birth certificates and, in some cases, a grandparents birth certificate. Most towns have a business centre with staff who can check the supporting documentation for you as well as taking baby passport photographs which fulfill the strict criteria.

Social Security

Once you have been issued with a Libro de Familia by the Registro Civil, you can proceed with the other formalities. For us it was important to register her with Social Security so that we didn’t have to pay to have her vaccinated privately. As long as one parent is paying social security, the baby is entitled to cover (although by law a child cannot be refused public healthcare treatment in Spain). The procedure involved a few trips between the medical centre and social security office with various pieces of paper issued by each, and a lot of patience. Devote a morning to the job in order to get it all out of the way in one go and make sure you take your passports, NIE / residencia certificates and copies! We were also asked for proof that we had applied for the baby’s passport.

If you are claiming maternity and paternity pay, you’ll need to visit your doctor in the local health centre to be signed off and issued with the appropriate paperwork which also needs to be submitted to the social security office along with their form Prestación Maternidad-Paternidad por Nacimiento, Adopción o Acogimiento.


This is not as urgent as some of the other formalities but it’s useful to get everything done together. For more information on how to apply for your baby’s NIE, click here: https://familylifeinspain.com/spanish-paperwork-nie-residency-spain/

Registering your Child’s Birth in the UK

If you intend to return to the UK, you may find it helpful to register the baby’s birth there and so have access to a British birth certificate if required. The application is similar to a passport application and requires similar supporting documents. You can find out more information here: https://www.gov.uk/register-a-birth


New Book: Moving to Spain with Children

Hot off the press: Our book about Moving to Spain with Children has just been released by U P Publications. Available for Kindle on Amazon, due out any minute as a Paperback.

As we mentioned in our first post about the book , if you search online you will find a multitude of books about Spain; books set in spain; books about: moving to Spain; books about living in Spain and people’s stories about moving to Spain from UK. However, there is very little information available about Spain for children and almost nothing about Moving to Spain with Children.

Until now, that is…


moving to spain with children


Don’t even think of Moving to Spain with Children without reading this essential self-help manual. Compiled by a successful British working Mum who has experienced the relocation roller-coaster for you – the highs, lows and occasional shrieks of panic  – it could save you months of hassle and heartache.

Chapters cover:

Timing your Move;

Choosing the Best Location;



Learning Spanish;


Property purchase;

Taking Pets to Spain,

Starting a business …

… and other considerations crucial to ensuring a smooth transition to your new lifestyle.

With information that’s bang up-to-date and tells it like it is, spiced with the author’s own heart-warming anecdotes, you’ll arrive at the same place her own family is now – but in half the time: 

Living and loving family life in Spain!

If you’ve ever wished for the gift of hindsight, Moving to Spain with Children is just that: a gift of a book!

Read some reviews HERE.

Look before you buy, via Amazon by clicking this image …

moving to spain with children


Get your copy now!

Here are some of the reviews written by people who bought the book on Amazon…

.. and her book not only gives a sense of what that process is like, but models the patience and good humor she …, March 10, 2015
By  griffy
This review is from: Moving To Spain With Children (Paperback)
Lisa Sadleir is immensely knowledgeable about the problems expats moving to Spain with school-aged kids will face. She’s particularly helpful on the issues of dealing with Spanish officialdom, and her book not only gives a sense of what that process is like, but models the patience and good humor she feels are the best qualities to bring to the encounter. What I like most about her book is that, after spending more than twenty years in Spain, she retains and communicates to the reader her original affection for the country, the culture, and the people. Though I agree with the reviewer who thought the book will be most helpful to those with EU citizenship, to me its greatest virtue is how encouraging it is. She wants your move to be successful, believes it can and will be, and mobilizes all her experience in support.
Concise guide for moving to Spain, with or without children, 29 Jun. 2015
By  renev
 This review is from: Moving to Spain with Children: Essential reading for anyone thinking about moving to Spain (Kindle Edition)
We have been thinking about retiring from the US to Spain for a few years now, and have attempted to research the possibility on and off on-line, getting frustrated with the often outdated and conflicting information, no doubt partly because of Spain’s frequently changing rules and regulations. That’s why we were delighted to find Lisa’s book “Moving To Spain With Children’. Even though it’s geared towards families with children, with lots of practical information about education and ideas to help children adjust, it had all the other information we were looking for as well, all in a concise and easy to read book. At no point is Lisa trying to sell you a dream life in Spain, instead she provides fact based information, ideas to consider, and real life experiences.
These are some of the other topics we specifically enjoyed reading about: pros and cons of locations to consider, the value of speaking the language in various areas (and how to learn), healthcare options, registration and residency rules, and considerations for renting and buying property. She even covers topics like starting a business in Spain, and bringing pets into the country. She basically covers subjects we haven’t even thought about, and all in a practical to-the-point fashion.
And best of all, Lisa has several ways to connect on-line for all the latest updates, and can even be reached for consultation.
All in all we have nothing but good words for this book, which we’ll keep with us for reference. It is well worth the money spent.
Essential reading, November 14, 2014
Thanks to Sadleir, this book can solve any problem which may arise when moving your children to Spain. This extremely comprehensive book covers everything, from the essentials, choosing your location and time of year in which to move (a classic error for many), how to cope with the language and cultural barrier, to the most important aspect for parents, the education of their children. The education section alone is stand-out, covering all ages and needs, with real-life experience from parents and children.
Another huge consideration, healthcare, is fully explored, with options to suit the needs and budgets of all families through the country. The NIE process, Número de Identificación de Extranjero (basically a foreigners pass) can be fraught with trouble. The book covers the process for EU members, though many steps are also relevant to non-EU members, provided you have completed your paperwork at the Spanish embassy in your own country first. The process of registering on the Padrón, having yourself registered with the town hall, is included and essential. Dependent on your home nation, your circumstances and even the mood of the staff member you encounter, gaining NIE or residency can be a real mixed bag, so having this information laid out could be a huge help for many. When I first moved to Spain, I managed to gain an NIE through a bit of a backhand deal, simplifying the process, but even then I had to jump through fiery hoops at the embassy. There is no such thing as being over-prepared.
The never-ending trials and tribulations of purchasing a property and starting a business in Spain is fully covered, along with more personal experiences and examples to help you, along with (finger crossed) simpler matters such as money and banking considerations. Another section is extensively devoted to bringing your pet to Spain (something I’ve never even thought about), for those furrier family members. The book finishes with things to consider when leaving home and a reminder not to burn your bridges before you leave. Moving to Spain is an incredible experience, but the move can be difficult. I have seen plenty of people fail at the experiment, right down to a husband at the airport, begging his wife not to leave their new life behind.
This book would appeal to anyone moving to Spain, even if there are no children to consider, with practical and realistic advice. But when moving your children, so many issues need to be well planned, and I wish this book had existed when I first embarked on life in Spain. Finally, solid advice all in one place, from someone who has succeeded at Spanish life.


Bought this book even though I’m moving to Spain without …, 2 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Moving To Spain With Children (Paperback)
Bought this book even though I’m moving to Spain without children, it’s a must have that will guide you through all the steps to make your move go as smoothly as possible. This book covers every step of the way from how to get your NIE right through to health cover a must have for anyone considering moving to Spain !!!
Thanks to this book though I have been able to get the ball rolling and I feel much happier about our decision now that I know w, 10 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Moving To Spain With Children (Paperback)
I bought this book a couple of months ago as we plan on moving to Spain next summer for a year. I had no idea where to begin with regards to residency, applying for schools and renting etc and was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed when I was finding conflicting information on line. Thanks to this book though I have been able to get the ball rolling and I feel much happier about our decision now that I know what to do. The book covers all the essentials and things I had even considered. So far so good. I now feel ready for Spanish bureaucracy and am looking forward to being through it to living the Spanish life.

To BUY on Amazon.es Click Here!

To Buy on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk Click the corresponding image below


Car Seats in Spain: Understanding the Law

Ensure you understand the rules about using Car Seats in Spain …

Even if you’re just visiting Spain for a couple of weeks in the summer, it’s imperative to know the law on child seats and seatbelt use. The laws are there to protect you and your passengers. Failure to comply could result in a hefty fine or, much worse, an injury to one of your loved ones.

In Spain, all drivers and any passengers travelling along urban roads or highways in a motorised vehicle are legally required to wear a properly fastened seatbelt and/or child restraint. It’s prohibited for children under 12 to travel in the front seat unless they are in a car seat designed specifically for that purpose, or they are at least 135 centimetres tall, in which case they are allowed to use an adult seat belt. Those measuring less than 135 centimetres in height must use an approved child seat or harness, suitable and appropriate for their height and weight, while those measuring between 135 and 150 centimetres can use either an approved child restraint or the adult seat belt.

These rules have been set out in the Spanish General Traffic Regulations and any failure to comply is regarded as a serious offence punishable by 200 euro fine (or 260 euro for a repeat offence) plus 3 points off your license. For the purposes of this law, it is the driver who is primarily responsible, followed by the owner of the vehicle who has subsequent responsibility.

Currently, the Prosecutors’ Office for the Protection of Minors has the power to suspend parental guardianship or enforce protective measures if parents are punished three times or more for failing to use adequate child protection restraints in a vehicle. 

Using the Correct Car Seats in Spain for your child.

The car seat should correspond to the height and weight of the child and be an EU approved design and make. Car seats are classified into groups 0, 0+, 1, 2 and 3 with some seats covering more than one group. The back of the car seat should be clearly labelled with the name of the manufacturer along with data showing compliance with the most recent legally required standards (currently ECE R44/04), upper and lower weight limits for the child and the seat’s serial number.

car seats in spain

Group 0 Carriers (from 0 to 10 kg and less than 76 cm) 

Infant carriers / carry cots designed specifically for newborns and babies weighing up to 10 kilos. These must be installed in the back seat of the vehicle, transversely along the seat with the baby’s head facing into the car to best protect him or her in the event of a side impact collision.

Group 0 and 0+ Child Seats (from 0 to 13 kg and less than 92 cm) 

Car seat designed to be used in the back seat of the vehicle, or the front seat but only if there is no passenger airbag or it is disconnected. These seats are always rear facing. Baby is protected by the integrated harness and the child seat is anchored to the vehicle.

Group 1 Child Seat (9 to 18 kg and from 92 to 108 cm) 

In a Group 1 Child Seat, the child is attached to the chair and the car (via a harness). These chairs can be forward facing or rear facing. It is very important to adjust the seat as the child grows to avoid any gaps in the harnesses and seatbelt installation. It’s possible to use an Isofix anchor with Group 1 seats.

Group 2 Child Seat (15 to 25 kg and from 98 to 123 cm) 

This booster seat with back support enables the vehicle’s 3-point seat belt to be adjusted to secure the child, fitting snugly to his or her body. The child can travel facing forward in the front seat or the back.

Group 3 Child Seat (22 to 36 kg and 115-150 cm) 

This booster seat can be used forward facing in the front or back seat of the vehicle.

It’s best to leave it as long as possible before moving your child up to the next group of car seats. During the period when their weight overlaps the two groups, babies are much safer travelling in a Group 0+ car seat than in a Group 1.

Additionally, it’s recommended that you use a Group 2 booster seat with backrest until the child measures 135 centimetres or above, as long as this is possible within the usage guidelines for your chosen seat.

IMPORTANT TIP: Ensure you pre-order the correct car seat for your child at the time of making a car hire reservation. Last minute child car seats are not always easy to find and it can be a stressful start to your journey.

If you are thinking about Moving to Spain, our book will answer a lot of your questions …

To BUY on Amazon.es Click Here!

To Buy on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk Click the corresponding image below


Have you ever thought of spending a year in Spain?

Spain Public Holidays 2015

Plan your days to relax …

I have just met up with a beautiful American family who are at the start of an exciting family adventure. They are spending a year in Spain. The children are going to attend a Spanish state school and they are going to visit and learn as much as they can about this wonderful country, it’s people, history and culture, during their family adventure year in Spain.

What a fantastic experience, particularly for their children.

I have been in contact with the family for the past few months, assisting them in the decision-making process and providing information along the way.

I will not give too many details at this point as one of their sons, Theo, has promised to write up his adventure and decision-making process to share with you.

All I will say is that the majority of their luggage is currently in storage at Madrid airport whilst they are travelling around the South of the country, looking for what will be their home for the coming year in Spain. Where will it be? Malaga? Mijas? Cadiz? Seville?

What a wonderful adventure. I cannot wait to share it with you.

rio fun

Beach fun in Cadiz

Have you ever thought of spending a year in Spain? If not, why not? It is such a great idea, for so many reasons.

In an article*10 Reasons to Encourage Your Children to Study and Live Abroad, they quote some of the benefits of spending a year abroad as:

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Increased maturity
  • Develop a broader mind
  • Greater commitment to learning a foreign language
  • Learn more about different cultures and values
  • Find it easier to understand and interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
  • Learn new skills
  • Acquire a lifetime of benefits!


It shows how children of all ages can benefit from time spent in a different culture, and how student aged ‘children’ of broad minded and encouraging parents can gain so much from their time spent abroad.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Ruth Hill Useem, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Education at Michigan State University, conducted a study on Adult Third-Culture Kids that revealed that people who spent at least one year or more of childhood outside of their home country were likely to have a higher level of education, more advanced problem-solving skills and foreign language abilities.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/about_5384622_advantages-living-abroad.html

Your children do not need to travel alone to experience this. Why not do it together, as a family?

Many British people contact me to ask for assistance during a permanent move to Spain but hardly ever do they say they are coming for a year. Is it really only US citizens who chose this option? If so, why?

I really believe that a year living abroad for any child would be a fabulous life experience. Is missing a year of school really that important? Surely the world is a bigger, better classroom. What do you think?

If you are considering spending a year in Spain with your children, do not hesitate to get in touch. I can help you will the planning, decision-making and all the essential requirements. 

If you are concerned about the children falling behind with their school work, remember that Spain has many International schools that follow the British curriculum. In some intentional schools, the majority of the students are Spanish so the opportunity still exists to pick up Spanish language skills.

If you are able to continue your child’s education at home and wish to immerse them in the Spanish language, research which areas of Spain have schools with availability and who will accept your children for one year. Again, I can assist you with this if necessary.

So, whether you are from the USA, Canada, Europe or beyond, if you have children, I would suggest from age six years and upwards, and are considering an exciting family adventure in Spain, contact me and let’s get this family adventure started.

Look Inside our NEW Book on Amazon by clicking this image …

moving to spain with children

I look forward to showing you how to get the most out of your year in Spain.

Don’t plan your year in Spain without reading this post … CLICK HERE TO READ

Are your child’s eyes prepared to go back to school?

The summer holidays are flying by, at an incredible pace. It only seems like yesterday that we were talking about the dreaded 12 week summer holidays … where did the time go?

In just over two weeks time, our children will be going back to school. Are you ready? Have you bought all the materials? New uniform? What about eye checks?

Do you have your children’s eyes checked on a regular basis?

The following information is a press release from a well known opticians in both the UK and Spain. We thought you may like to read what they have to say …

Over to Specsavers:

back to school During the first 12 years of our lives, as much as 80% of learning is accomplished through our vision. Yet, one out of every four children has an undetected vision problem that may inhibit their progress. Once children go to school, good eye-sight is crucial to keep up with their studies. Experts believe that many learning disabilities could be vision related as they may not be able to read the blackboard or text books.  

Specsavers Opticas suggest that a child should have their first eye examination at around three years old, as the earlier things are detected, the easier they are to rectify without delaying the child’s development. This September they are advising all parents to incorporate a thorough eye test into their back to school routine so they can be prepared if their child does need glasses.

The process of taking an eye test for a child is simple. Firstly, the optometrist will ask the parent or guardian about any relevant family history and any problems their child may be experiencing. Then several child-friendly tests will be undertaken, using special charts and other materials to help children indicate what they can see and how clearly.

They will test the vision of each eye and will check whether they work properly together. They will also measure the child’s focusing ability and the health of the child’s eyes before discussing the results with the parents.

If a child does need glasses, there are some great ranges which tick all the boxes of fashion and durability. Kids that wear glasses can now be the envy of all their friends with fun frames in bright colours sporting their favourite character or toy. Popular ranges include Disney, Hello Kitty, Gruffalo, Star Wars™, Simpsons, Marvel Heroes and Spider-Man and Specsavers have their own kids and teen ranges. 

Until the end of November 2014 Specsavers Opticas are offering free eye tests for children and adults. Visit www.specsavers.es to find your nearest store. 

About Specsavers:

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,650 stores throughout the UK, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand
  • Specsavers Opticas currently has eight stores in Spain; Marbella and Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol, Santa Ponça Mallorca, Calpe, Javea, Benidorm, Guardamar del Segura and Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca.

Our Book about Moving to Spain with Children

We are very excited to announce that our book about Moving to Spain with Children is due to be published in November 2014.

As well as being available in kindle format, a print edition of Moving to Spain with Children will be published, thanks to UP Publications Ltd. This means that not only will you be able to buy the book online but also in certain bookshops (little shrieks of joy by mum here).

We will also be planning a promotional campaign to visit book fairs and other exhibitions over the following months. More details soon.

If you search online you will find a multitude of books about Spain; books set in spain; books about: moving to Spain; books about living in Spain and people’s stories about moving to Spain from UK. However, there is very little information available about Spain for children and almost nothing about Moving to Spain with Children.

Until now, that is.

To give you a taste of what to expect, we have included part of out Introductory chapter and also some feedback from individuals who have read the draft copy of Moving to Spain with Children. 

We look forward to your feedback too.

Moving to Spain with Children by Lisa Sadleir

Essential reading for parents

Spain is a wonderful place to live. It is the place I have chosen to bring up my children. Having lived here for over 23 years now, I cannot envisage living anywhere else (although I will never say never!). 

Living in Spain allows us, as a family, to appreciate that: we have more time with our children; we spend more time outdoors in the fresh open air; family comes first; material possessions are not important; people are generally very friendly and open; we are living an invaluable experience.

Every year, many people consider moving to Spain. Every year people make the move and sometimes it doesn’t work out and they return home (you know, the stories often published in the tabloids and UK sensationalist TV programs) . From experience, I am inclined to say that many failed relocations are due to inadequate research and incorrect advice (Health issues aside!).  


So, if you are moving to Spain, without a secure income and looking for work, please rethink. If you are planning to move to Spain in search of a better family life, please read on …

Welcome to Moving to Spain with Children, the aim of the book is to:

  • Give you food for thought
  • Provide factual info & sources of information
  • Share real life experiences

Warning: If you are looking to be sold the dream, put this book down now and buy one of the many other books on the market.

  • This book is not here to sell you a dream.
  • This book will show you the reality.
  • This book will show you what life in Spain is really like.
  • This book will tell you what you need to think about before deciding to make the move.
  • This book will give you a much better start to your life in Spain.
  • This book will become your invaluable source of thinking material and insight, in preparation for your move and during your first months in Spain.

In Summary…

Don’t even think of Moving to Spain with Children without reading this essential self-help manual. Compiled by a successful British working Mum who has experienced the relocation roller-coaster for you – the highs, lows and occasional shrieks of panic  – it could save you months of hassle and heartache. Chapters cover:

Timing your Move; Choosing the Best Location; Schooling; Paperwork; Learning Spanish; Healthcare; Property purchase; Starting a business …

… and other considerations crucial to ensuring a smooth transition to your new lifestyle.

With information that’s bang up-to-date and tells it like it is, spiced with the author’s own heart-warming anecdotes, you’ll arrive at the same place her own family is now – but in half the time: 

Living and loving family life in Spain!

If you’ve ever wished for the gift of hindsight, Moving to Spain with Children is just that: a gift of a book!


Read what people are saying about “Moving to Spain with Children” by Lisa Sadleir:

“The Bible for any parent aiming to live in Spain. Up to date, clear and full of vitally important information, Lisa’s book is a ‘must-have’ for any parent considering moving to Spain or here now with their children”.

Nick Snelling, Gandia  (Author)

“Essential reading for anyone considering moving to Spain with children, and in fact even without children, it is an excellent starting point.  Balanced, factual and practical, the content gives the reader a real idea of where to start and what to expect.  I wish it had been available when I moved here 6 years ago, and will undoubtedly save you time, money and stress.  The personal stories highlight the pitfalls, and are all classic “welcome to Spain” tales, but give a truly balanced view assisting you in making a fully informed decision”.

Kelly Lawlor, Vejer de la Frontera.

“With so many factors to consider when moving to Spain, this book is indispensable reading for every family. From critical factors such as healthcare, tax and gaining an NIE, to personal decisions such as schooling, languages and location, every major issue facing relocating families is well covered. ‘Moving to Spain with Children’ is an easy-to-read guide to make a thrilling challenge smoother and easier for anyone keen to reshape their lives.”

Caroline Angus baker, New Zealand (Author).

“This is the missing manual we could have really done with 7 years ago, when researching our own family’s relocation to Spain. What starts as a simple dream ends up being incredibly complicated, expensive and full of unknowns. Whilst there are many guidebooks available finding information specifically from a family perspective isn’t easy. It remains the best move we ever made, and if you are serious about making the move then you couldn’t have a better guide in your hands than this book right here” 

Maya Middlemiss, Denia, Alicante.  

“Lisa has produced an easy to read, yet invaluable guide for ‘Moving to Spain with Children’.  By asking the all important questions in a reflective way, (with lots of personal examples as well as stories and thoughts from other expats), Lisa has provided a valuable tool which can be read, shared with your children and discussed as a family. The book is full of resources to increase your knowledge about moving to Spain, making the journey easier as you set off, on arrival and as the months in Spain spread into years.  I am sure the book will be well thumbed!”

Ali Meehan, Malaga (Founder of Costa Women – costawomen.com)

“For many years, Lisa Sadleir has been offering credible, independent counsel to families considering relocating to Spain. This book offers a valuable overview, including honest and clear advice on important issues for a successful relocation, including getting to grips with the Spanish language and making steps to integrate into the community beyond the expat bubble.”

Andrew FORBES, Malaga.  (Journalist, Consultant & Editor)

“Excellent common-sense guide to the dos and don’ts of moving to Spain with a family in tow. Everything is covered from education to starting a business. My life would have been much easier if I had found a book like this 12 years ago instead of having to learn it all the hard way.”

Fiona Pitt-Kethley, Cartagena, Murcia.

“It is never easy to move abroad. It is even more difficult when this involves learning a new language and yet more difficult when children are involved. This guide takes you through the challenges one at a time and ensures that you can have a safe, hassle-free start to your new life. “

Steve Hall, www.thisisspain.info

“This book is an honest account of what it’s like to move to Spain with children: the good, the bad and the “mañana”. It’s packed with useful info and is a great tool for families to avoid the multiple pitfalls that can happen when thinking about living to Spain.”

Maxine Raynor, Madrid (Founder of www.moneysaverspain.com )

So there you have a taste of what is to come. To add your name to the waiting list and be advised as soon as Moving to Spain with Children is available, simply click the button here and add your email details.

sign up

We look forward to receiving your questions and hearing your stories about Moving to Spain with Children very soon. (We may include you in our next book!)

The following video is a recent TV interview where we introduce our projects: Our Book about Moving to Spain with Children and also our language learning activity books, Cooking with Languages


Education in Spain: Storytelling and using Story Cubes.

story cubes

“Once upon a time …”  “Érase una vez…”

What springs to mind when you read these words? Do you find yourself swept off to wonderful worlds of fairy tales and far off lands with images of princesses, castles, brave knights and dragons? I do.

I think that, as busy adults, we can sometimes forget the importance of nurturing the imagination of our children. As we are busy getting on with your day to day lives, doing homework, attending activities and just generally living, we may not encourage our children to just, “be children”, as often as we maybe should.

I am guilty as charged. However, I do have “stock taking” moments where I spot the error of my ways. I am always keeping an eye out for little games and ideas that I think will spike the children’s imagination. You can see some examples on my Pinterest board HERE: Fun Activities with Children.

Yesterday, during our Sunday morning homework session, Francesca (our six year old), told me that she had to write a story and she had no idea what to write about. Now, we had had a particularly busy weekend and when Francesca is tired, mole hills often appear to be mountains. However, this morning I was quick off the blocks. I went into her bedroom and brought out the Story Cubes.

Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, and images, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and instilling moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters, and narrative point of view. (Wikipedia)

Our children love these Story Cubes and we love listening to the stories they invent from them. The children simply roll the cubes and make up stories based in the pictures displayed on each of the cubes.

We sometimes roll all the cubes together and tell a quick story or we roll three at a time and make up a more elaborated story. What is also great is that you can use them in any language, so we practice storytelling in both English and Spanish.

Francesca is now finishing her first year of obligatory education in Spain (Primaria) . Throughout the year, each week, she has had a Spanish book to read and write a summary of. This has been a great way to develop her comprehension and written ability and, of course, expand her vocabulary.

The photograph at the top of this page is just the start of this week’s invented story, using the Story Cubes. There are a few pages until it is finished. I wonder what the teacher will think when she reads this totally different, random story about a little old man who wanted to travel the world with his pet turtle who he’d found at the end of the rainbow …

Don’t you just love it!

Here are links to Amazon where you can buy the Story Cubes if you are interested. If you use the links below we receive a small commission form Amazon.

Product Description

9 cubes, 54 images, over 10 million possible combos, unlimited stories! Recipient of Dr. Toy’s “10 Best Games” Award, the “Major Fun Award” and “People’s Choice Award”. How it works… Simply roll all 9 dice, examine each of the face-up images and let them guide your imagination through a story that begins with “Once upon a time…”. The secret is not to think too deeply. Simply ‘gulp’ in the images and start talking. And remember, there is no wrong answer! The nine dice, each with a unique image on all six sides, hold a total of 54 images. This means that with every roll, there are over 10 million combination’s for you to use as the inspiration for your story. The uses for Rory’s Story Cubes are boundless. Play them while traveling, waiting in a restaurant, in the classroom, as an icebreaker, for idea generation, or to make learning a new language more fun.


Writing researchers suggest that children should write stories in order to (1) entertain, (2) foster artistic expression, (3) explore the functions and values of writing, (4) stimulate imagination, (5) clarify thinking, (6) search for identity, and (7) learn to read and write.   (http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ269736)


Not every child finds story telling an easy task. The Story Cubes are a great aid and are also lots of fun. We always take them with us when we are traveling.

However, here is another way of encouraging your child to create their own beautiful stories …

What To Do

  1. Start by reading some favourite stories together. Talk a little bit about each story’s author. If there is information about the author on the book jacket, you might read it together. Help the child understand that the author created or adapted the story and made decisions about what should happen in it.
  2. As you read, stop and ask the child to make predictions about what is going to happen next and why he or she thinks so. When you do this, you are encouraging him or her to think about how stories work and how readers understand stories – both important when writing a story of one’s own.
  3. While you are reading and when you are done, talk about the different parts of the story, asking questions such as:
    • What is the beginning of the story? The middle? The end?
    • Who are the characters?
    • What do you like about them?
    • Where does the story take place?
    • Is there a problem that occurs in the story? If so, how does it get resolved?
    • What do you think about the ending? Is there a connection, either in words or pictures, between the ending and the beginning of the story?

(See the full article on  www.readwritethink.org)


Here’s to lots more story writing, story telling and of course encouraging our children’s creativeness and imagination.


What happens to our children if we die in Spain?

Do you know the answer to this question … “What happens to our children if we die in Spain?”

Family in Spain SL logo1 update4 - SRThe other day, a friend asked a question that made me literally stop in my tracks. I almost slapped myself for not having though of it before now! How irresponsible a parent, was I?

I am a stickler for researching the bureaucratic intricacies and requirements for living in Spain. If somebody asks me about something that I do not know, I use my wonderful local Spanish contacts and source the facts. But I hadn’t yet considered this question.

She asked “Do you know what would happen to our children in Spain, if we died unexpectedly?”

This may initially appear as a strange question to ask. However, lets set the scene as it may well apply to you too.

  • We, (my husband and I), are of British nationality.
  • We, (my husband and I) are Spanish residents.
  • We, (my husband and I), were married in Spain.
  • Our children were both born in Spanish territory.
  • Our children are of British nationality.
  • Our children are Spanish residents.
  • We have no other family members in Spain.
  • We have a Spanish will for our belongings in Spain.

So, what would happen if we, (my husband and I), were to have an unexpected fatal accident. Do you know?

When I was asked this question I decided I should immediately inform myself of the facts. So, I contacted a very reputable law firm, that I often work with, here in Malaga.

This was their response to the question:

The decisions about the custody of your children would be taken by the British authorities according to the British law, because this matter is ruled by the nationality of the child. However, the Spanish authorities should take the urgent measures to ensure the welfare of the children. Anyway, it is always a good idea to include in the last will some indications about the custody of the children younger than 18 years.

So, what are we going to do next?

We are going to rewrite our Spanish will, stating who we want to name as guardians of our children, should the unexpected happen. We do not require the services of a lawyer to prepare nor amend our Spanish wills. This can be done direct with the notary.

Does this situation apply to you? If so, are you going to take the same steps?

Do you know what would happen if you didn’t have a Spanish will? Maybe it’s time to do some research and find out.

Read more about making a Spanish will, HERE

Breakfast Ideas for Kids: French Toast Rolls

As you know, we love cooking in our Cocina and are always looking for new recipes to try out and to share with you.

This recipe has replaced the pancake recipe (that is featured in our children’s language-learning cookbook)  as the children’s first choice for breakfast at the weekend.

And I must admit, it is really easy to make and not too much washing up so it gets brownie points in my book too!

You can add whatever filling you like. We include berries and fruit to add a little bit of “healthy”! LOL! It’s the weekend so we are allowed to break the rules a bit!

The ingredients you will need are:


The ingredients

A few slices of crustless soft sliced bread, 2 eggs, a cup of milk, a cup of sugar (can be brown or white) and some cinnamon (vary quantity according to taste preferences).

Some butter for melting in the frying pan.

Your choice of fillings. ie. chocolate spread, cream cheese, honey, bananas, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

To make the rolls:

Whisk the eggs and milk together in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl or on a plate, mix the sugar and cinnamon. Place on a surface close to the cooker.

breakfast ideas for kids

Place the butter in a frying pan and gently melt.

breakfast ideas for kids

Slice by slice, using a rolling pin, flatted the bread.

breakfast ideas for kids


Add your chosen fillings. Ensure the fruit is added at the edge of the slice of bread and is not cut too thick and chunky (otherwise the next bit might be a bit tricky!)

breakfast ideas for kids

Carefully roll the slice of bread, starting with the edge where the fruit is

breakfast ideas for kids

Soak the roll in the egg and milk mixture

breakfast ideas for kids

Add to the frying pan. Try to place seal side down. Carefully rotate the rolls until golden all over.

breakfast ideas for kids

Remove from the frying pan. Roll in the sugar and cinnamon mix and serve immediately.

breakfast ideas for kids

At this point, stop and enjoy the silence … until the first lot is devoured and they ask for more!

Let us know what your favourite fillings are!

¡ Buen provecho amigos!

PS: If you’d like a free sample of our English / Spanish language-learning activity cookbook for children, just SIGN UP HERE.

Spanish food for children: Our favourites!

What is typical Spanish food for children?

One of the many things we love about living in Spain, is the food.  We have always encouraged our children to eat whatever we eat. I couldn’t really tell you what is really considered as typical Spanish food for children, with the exception of the incredible range of dulces, bollerías, chuches, golosinas which are becoming a bit too common for my liking!

When we go to the UK, which is not that often,  it is almost impossible to order plates from the kid’s menu that are as considered as healthy, (we’re not talking about visiting any fancy natural food place here, you know the ones I mean don’t you!). What we think of as typical English food for children are the likes of fish fingers and chips, sausage and mash, nuggets etc (you get the gist!).

In contrast, in Spain, it is very typical to see families sharing the same food. I suppose this is probably due to the fact that it is common to order plates that are placed on the table for all to share, rather than everyone ordering their own plate. Children’s “less healthy” options are available, but are not as common.

Here are some of our children’s favourite Spanish food:

Almejas and Calamares a la Romana: Small clams in a garlic sauce and squid rings in batter.

Almejas and calamares

Almejas and calamares

Sopa de picadillo: A whole meal in itself. It’s a type of consommé with bits of chicken , egg, ham, mint and noodles in it. It varies depending where it is ordered.

sopa de picadillo

Sopa de picadillo

Arroz y Paella:  A variety of rice dishes or a traditional paella.


Arroz o paella

Tortillitas de camarones:  A kind of battered pancake with tiny prawns.


Tortillitas de camarones

Bocadillos de salchichón y queso: A bread roll with a type of cold Spanish sausage and cheese. There is a wide range of cold Spanish meats available that are enjoyed by the children.

2012-04-18 12.57.33 (800x600)

Spanish embutidos

Boquerones al vinagre: Filets of whitebait pickled in vinegar and garlic.

spanish food for children

Boquerones al vinagre

Gambas Pil Pil: Prawns cooked in a garlic and chilli oil.

gambas pil pil

Gambas pil-pil

Jamón Iberico: Good old Spanish cured ham

spanish jamon

Spanish Jamón

Pan con aceite (y tomate) : A typical Spanish breakfast of bread with olive oil (and optional tomato)

spanish food

Pan con aceite y tomate

Arroz con leche: A cold version of rice pudding but often homemade and with a lovely taste of cinnamon.

Screenshot 2014-05-16 16.51.36

Arroz con leche


Crema catalana: A scrummy citrus infused silky custard. (See our new Children’s Language-Learning Activity Book for the recipe)

crema catalana

Crema catalana

Visiting a new place is a great way of getting children to taste new foods Click To Tweet

So, there you have a few ideas of what might be the best kinds of Spanish food for children. Visiting a new place is a great way of getting children to taste new foods. Don’t be scared of getting them to try something completely different. If you aren’t, they won’t be!

What are your children’s favourite Spanish foods? We’d love to hear about them.

¡Hasta pronto!

PS: If you’d like a free sample of our English / Spanish language-learning activity cookbook for children, just SIGN UP HERE.

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