moving to puerto rico with kids: my boys posing at la parguera, puerto rico

moving to puerto rico with kids

Depending on their age and dispositions, moving to a new and unfamiliar place like Puerto Rico can be very stressful for children.  Our oldest is sociable and thrives on interaction with others, so after the initial excitement of the move wore off, he was in a bit of a funk because he missed his friends.  Our youngest didn’t seem to be affected initially because he had his games and books.  However, over time he started missing the change of the seasons, and other fond memories he had of San Antonio.  Now he’s gone so far as to make the outrageous claim that he HATES the beach!  Although the amount of fun he has when actually at a beach, would seem to contradict his bold assertion. 😉

waylon at crash boat beach aguadilla, puerto rico

the guy that “hates” the beach at crash boat this week… 🙂

Before the move, we tried to “sell” the boys on Puerto Rico, explaining our reasons and highlighting all the positives.  Inevitably though, when they think back with fondness on the “good ol’ days”, there is a slight twinge of bitterness as the realization sets in that, ultimately, this move was not their choice.  One unintended but cool result of this “awakening,” however, is that they now fully grasp that the world is their oyster; that they can live WHEREVER they want when they grow up.  They’ve had fun scouring maps and reading about different places around the world.  Right now, Desmond is leaning toward Colorado and Waylon is interested in Oregon.  It makes no sense to Holly and me, but they both miss winter!

I want to highlight two of the decisions we made that made the transition a bit more challenging for our boys.  You may want to do things differently, or at least be aware of our experience if you are also planning to move to Puerto Rico with children.

We moved into a condo building where most of the other owners live in the states

Having lived in a suburban neighborhood for the better part of my adult life, I’m really enjoying living in a condo now.  I was completely burned out on yard and house maintenance, so it’s nice to have a break from it.  However, the boys miss having their own yard.  They are slowly getting comfortable exploring the grounds and some of the wooded areas around our condo, so this may become less of an issue as they get older.  Nevertheless, for young children, it’s hard to beat a private, closed-in backyard where they can play outside safely.

Another perhaps bigger challenge, is that there are no other children living in this condo full-time.  The owners do bring their kids and grandkids down when they visit, but obviously, it would be a lot better if other kids lived here year-round.  We suspected this was not ideal going in, but our decision was heavily influenced by the incredible deal we got on this condo.  If at all possible, we definitely recommend moving into a neighborhood where other families live full-time, if you have children.

We homeschool (see update below)

We are huge advocates for homeschooling, or more specifically, unschooling.  Giving kids the space to explore and learn on their own increases their self-confidence and empowers them to assume control over the direction their life takes.  It’s what we did in Texas, so it made sense to continue when we moved here.  However, it does make it bit more difficult for them to make friends and learn the language, since time with other children is not built-in their daily schedule.  To compensate, we’ve tried to get them involved in extra-curricular activities where they meet other kids, such as a martial arts class at the Rincon athletic center and horse class.

(UPDATE: the boys started in Art and Beyond Learning Center in Puntas in the fall 2017 and are making friends and loving it so far!)

moving to puerto rico with kids: kajukenbo rincón class

the boys at kajukenbo rincón…

It’s human nature to always view the grass on the other side of the fence as greener.  Therefore, we have to teach our boys to actively counter this tendency.  Personally, Holly and I love it here and hope that we NEVER take the beautiful sunsets and access we have to the ocean for granted.  And as much as the boys occasionally complain, especially our youngest, I believe that wherever life takes them, they will always look back on their time here with fondness.  Who knows, they may never leave!

4 comments

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  • My husband and I live in San Antonio and are thinking of buying in Puerto Rico. We are taking our first scouting trip there in a couple months. Living by other families is very important to us since we also homeschool and want it to be somewhat easy to find other kids to socialize with. We were looking at Isabela, and possibly Aguadilla or Rincon. Does one area tend to attract younger families than the others?

    • Hi Mel!

      We are definitely not experts in the Aguadilla or Isabela scene, but I think the answer to your question is that there really is no centralized place with younger families. Our observation is that families with children are spread out in different communities.

      That said, we live in Aguada which is between Rincon and Aguadilla, and we find that most of the organized activities our kids get involved in to be in Rincon with kids that live in and around Rincon. I’m personally not aware of any homeschooling or play groups centered in Aguadilla/Isabela. Hopefully if someone knows differently, they will chime in…

      We wish you the best of luck as you plan your scouting trip and make the challenging decision of where to purchase property and potentially live. In fact, we would be happy to meet up and offer a little on the ground info during your scouting trip. We’ve actually never met another fellow San Antonio family that has moved or is moving to PR!

      David

      • Thanks for the reply and we will definitely be in touch when we plan our trip. Stay safe, I know Hurricane Maria is on the way there!

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