Summer in Spain with Children

29 July 2015 0 Comments Category: Barbara de Swaan, blog, Living in Spain

Even though around 25% of the Spanish are looking for work, the other 75% is doing everything possible to keep the job they have and in Spain that’s not always that easy.

Normally both the man and the woman have to work to pay the bills. Spain is a wonderful country to live in, but it’s rather expensive compared to the low incomes. Working part-time, which is very common in most other European countries, is still exceptional in Spain. Those who work part-time loose income, status and career opportunities. But having conquered those obstacles, the hardest one are the national- and local holidays, which are the most in all of Europe. If you happen to have one or more children, you will have to find a solution to take care of them during those holidays. Just to give you an idea: in Spain the days off depend on where you live because of the local holidays. All regions have at least 10 national holidays and about three to five more local holidays. The hardest part are the school holidays, which are 3 complete months between June and September each summer.

The most common solutions are the following:

  1. Sign your kids up for summer camps (casal de verano) at their own school where they have to deal with temperatures around 40ºC or more. Here they spend most of the day playing with water and make small trips to the beach (if nearby). The sad thing about this solution, is that your children are still going to school and though they do enjoy it, it doesn’t feel like holiday at all.  The price for these school summer camps are around 75 euros/week if they go all day long and eat at school.
  2. If you have more financial options, you can bring your kids to a sports camp in your village or a language camp where they can even stay for a whole week or two weeks, including the nights. Most children enjoy this second option much more, but the price tag is around 400 – 600 euros/week, so this option is only for the fortunate few.
  3. Since the financial crisis started, I have heard about parents bringing their children with them to work. Yes, really! Of course not all types of work allow this, but hairdressers, people with bars and restaurants or shops are free to do this. These kids are extremely bored, sad and spoiled with sweets and ice-creams from their guilty-feeling parents. A very sad but realistic solution.
  4. Another often used solution is to contract the grandparents, is possible from both sides. Though old and also suffering from heat, these grandparents have to stay with their grandchildren from 8 o’clock in the morning till around 6 o’clock in the afternoon. I feel very sorry for the grandparents because after having worked their whole life themselves, they now have to work again. The children usually stay at home and don’t get to do a lot of activities because of the grandparents age. Another sad solution for both sides and the parents feeling guilty.
  5. Last but not least there always is the option to hire a babysitter. The children can enjoy their own home, it feels like a holiday and the babysitter will go out with them to the beach or swimming pool and make the days fun. An expensive but rather good option.

This was only about the 6 weeks in June and July. In August 80% of the Spanish population takes holidays because there are no more summer camps or school camps and the grandparents escape the heat themselves for a couple of weeks. Either the parents take on separate moments 2 weeks off to stay with their children, though not together as a family, or the whole family takes the month of August off and enjoys a real holiday.

In the month of September, the problems return and each and every one of us working parents in Spain with children have to choose from one of the above options.

Our son is enjoying a week at an English summer camp with 270 other kids. We will pick him up coming weekend and haven’t heard from him, but we did find this picture on their website, so we assume he’s having a great time. Our younger daughter goes to a summer school camp and enjoys most days at the beach, making new friends and becoming a dark brown blond. And I? I am in the lucky position to work from home with the air conditioning making extra hours. At the end of the day our whole family goes to the beach to have a cooling swim just before it gets dark. Life is different in Spain with children, but very good! Have a nice summer!

English summercamp, spanish holidays, summer, vacation, kids

Topcolonias: English summercamp Spain

Schoolcamp Spain

Schoolcamp Spain