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Where is the best place in the world to bring up Children

(52 Posts)
slipperandpjsmum Mon 07-Feb-11 18:49:58

Lots of MN on here from all over the world past and present. From your experiences around the globe where on earth has the most to offer children?

ExpatAgain Mon 07-Feb-11 19:01:36

interesting question and no idea, sorry! However i hear regularly from both expats & locals that where I live (in Africa) offers the best. I don't happen to agree as the downside needs to be factored in too. Maybe Australia? Never been but imagine it's Africa Lite ;) and therefore maybe DOES offer the best of both worlds.

basildonbond Mon 07-Feb-11 20:41:13

but Australia isn't exactly nirvana either! dh was brought up in Australia but spent his teen years longing to be able to hop over to Paris for the weekend, and he's never suggested us all going back to Oz even though we all love going there for holidays

frenchfancy Mon 07-Feb-11 21:36:42

wasn't there a recent survey on this (WHO or similar orginisation). I think France came out on top.

JaquesTouatte Mon 07-Feb-11 21:39:52

The trouble is, the grass is always greener on the other side. I would say the best place is where the children's parents, grandparents, cousins, etc live.

HopeForTheBest Mon 07-Feb-11 21:53:31

Apparently, it's [Belgium], with Spain, France and Germany coming in next.

HopeForTheBest Mon 07-Feb-11 21:54:40

ooops forgot link blush

PotPourri Mon 07-Feb-11 21:57:01

my house - honestly!

italianmom Tue 08-Feb-11 03:32:26

I so much would like to know the answer to this question!
My husband has been offered a position with headquarter in Brussels. Since Belgium always ranks so high on those surveys we were definaly thinking to relocate there.
It turns out though that we could really live everywhere in that part of Europe because he will be traveling for half the week anyway and he can work from home for 2 days.
If we choose to live somewhere in south England it would be so much easier because we speak the language. But then learning an other language even though it's hard it could be very useful in the future.
But back to those surveys England is always at the bottom of those lists. Why? Is it really bad?
I forgot to mention that we are currently living in California. California is also always at the bottom of those lists. There are reasons for it. But there are also some wonderful areas for families. And we are lucky to live in one of those.
I guess my question is: What areas in the south of England are great to raise children?
Now that you have lived abroad what do you think about raising children in the UK?
Thank you very much

italianmom Tue 08-Feb-11 03:33:43

I so much would like to know the answer to this question!
My husband has been offered a position with headquarter in Brussels. Since Belgium always ranks so high on those surveys we were definaly thinking to relocate there.
It turns out though that we could really live everywhere in that part of Europe because he will be traveling for half the week anyway and he can work from home for 2 days.
If we choose to live somewhere in south England it would be so much easier because we speak the language. But then learning an other language even though it's hard it could be very useful in the future.
But back to those surveys England is always at the bottom of those lists. Why? Is it really bad?
I forgot to mention that we are currently living in California. California is also always at the bottom of those lists. There are reasons for it. But there are also some wonderful areas for families. And we are lucky to live in one of those.
I guess my question is: What areas in the south of England are great to raise children?
Now that you have lived abroad what do you think about raising children in the UK?
Thank you very much

Mummy2LZ Tue 08-Feb-11 03:41:15

I live in Australia with my husband and 2 dd's.
My family are all in the U.K. and my dh only has his sister close by.
It is a good lifestyle over here and I do love it but I agree with Jaques in that the best place to be is where Grandparents,Aunts,Uncles and Cousins are.
That is where I wish to be every day although I cant see that happening in the near future sad
There is nothing better than seeing your children playing with your sisters and brothers children and feeling how much they are loved by their Nan and Grandad.
Life is what you make it and there are some fantastic places in England.

elvisgirl Tue 08-Feb-11 04:29:05

Everywhere has good & bad points, & those can be different for each individual family and also vary at different times in the family (eg for a family with under-5s compared to a family with teenagers).

I'll stick down some points from my situation & viewpoint based on considerations for my child (not including stuff for me & partner which should also come into it as parents are usually at least half the family). I'm in Australia now with a DS aged 3. Good points are it seems very family friendly towards younger children, good playgrounds, more decent weather for going out than UK, beaches more likely to be cleaner, child benefits are good, working hours for my husband are more relaxed despite a more senior role.

Bad points: sun exposure (the earlier in life you have UV exposure the more the chance of developping skin cancers), academic standards seem lower in general, pressure to do loads of sport, the best schools tend to be those you pay for & are often religious, books are so expensive, very limited heritage/historical culture (ie no opportunity to visit a castle, ruins, etc), more difficult to access other countries.

And the biggie is for us: no extended family around. I think this is really important for young children & web cams do not come close to a family holiday or just a simple visit to gran's for tea. It also takes the pressure of the parents having some other relatives around, so a winner all round - unless you have crap relatives!

ben5 Tue 08-Feb-11 04:39:45

Australia! elvisgirl we love the sport aspect of being over here, the best schools you don't have to pay for but isn't that the same as anywhere? why do you need to go to another country when this one is so big and bali isn't that far and for us cheaper than going to sydney!
we have crap parents to help look after ds's. they are to much hard work for mil and ds2 doesn't sit still for long( he was 5 in november!!)
i love the family way of life here, the weather, the fact australia day is supported and free things are put on. the lotto seem to put there money towards big whole community events rather than towards something that will bennifit 10 people!
class sizes are small ds1 is in year 2 and his class size has just increased to 20 and they will take no more and it's public school!

KnackeredOne Tue 08-Feb-11 04:59:01

slipperandpjsmum, i like that name - sounds like me on a weekend!

Well I spent some of my childhood in Southern Africa, most growing up in UK, time spent studying & working en Suisse et en France.

And all I can say is it was always wonderful to come home. Whilst young most of my family was in Africa - so missed them terribly when moved to UK

As life has moved on, and our family has got bigger, hubbies, outlaws, kids, nieces, nephews, grannies, grandads, aunts, uncles - we've decided to make a lifestyle choice to keep the kids where their family are.

I know they don't get to play out as much as I did, don't tease and have as much cheeky innocent fun as I did, enjoy the sun and sand through their toes whilst looking at the clouds as I did, BUT I also know that they will know who they are, and who matters to them, where they come from, and that they have love and are surrounded by people who love them.

There's nothing worse than being lonely in paradise!

Lollypolly Tue 08-Feb-11 14:14:58

Singapore!!! Good weather, lots of swimming, excellent education, opportunity to be bilingual (English / Mandarin mostly), extremely safe so more freedom, fabulous healthcare, multicultural so lot of exposure to different cultures and religions, very compact island with every activity known to man available for kdis (music / sport etc), easy access to jungle / beaches etc.

Lived in 6 different countries and imho this is the best one for kids.

Downside is that DH works long hours (as do most people in Singapore) and I worry about the DCs going overseas for uni etc and having led a relatively sheltered life and being naive about drugs / alcohol etc

tootsieroll Wed 09-Feb-11 13:50:55

I'd second Lollypolly on this one.

I've only been in Singapore for 6 months, and already DC (4 and 2) have seen and done a lot more here than in the UK. Main factors pushing this have been: great transport system, excellent family attractions (The Science Centre is wonderful, DS wants to live there permanently!), multiculturalism in an inclusive, yet non PC way - in the last 3 months, we have celebrated Muslim (Haj), Hindu (Diwali), Christian (Christmas), and Chinese festivals/religious events, all of which have been granted bank holiday status. One can mix as much or as little with other communities without anyone batting an eyelid. The location of the island makes it an ideal base for exploring other countries in Asia/Oceania. Food is plentiful, of good quality and variety. Weather-wise, it is summer all year round, which may get rather mundane for one wanting the seasons, but the children don't seem to mind. Healthcare is excellent - both government and private hospitals. It is technologically advanced (is this a good thing?)- and this has certainly rubbed off on DC. Crime is low - authority is respected. The family unit is revered.

Local education in Singapore is excellent (although it has its critics), however priority goes to citizens and residents. International schools are extremely expensive. This is our biggest concern at the moment, as DH is not on an expat package which includes an education allowance. Apart from that, I think Singapore is a wonderful place to bring up children. Then again, I can only compare it to the UK, which I've not missed since boarding the plane to leave last June.

polarfox Wed 09-Feb-11 17:37:37

I don't know about children , but for adults based on all factors (economy, environment, leisure , stress etc) Switzerland came out tops this summer, according to an international study.

So that's were I would be heading; happy adults=happy children wink

eidsvold Wed 09-Feb-11 21:35:14

australia

lazydog Thu 10-Feb-11 01:15:02

Well I was about to vote for Canada, but I want to move to Singapore now! envy

Mumcentreplus Thu 10-Feb-11 01:17:20

where the love is...

earwicga Thu 10-Feb-11 01:24:24

I think Disneyland would be the best place

slipperandpjsmum Thu 10-Feb-11 09:05:57

Thanks so much for all your varied and interesting answers. I have seen the poles some poster refer to. Maybe we could compile a MN top ten based upon our experiences!! Think Singapore is a surprise new entry!

awayfromhome Thu 10-Feb-11 10:19:49

Another vote for Singapore! It is a great place to live for all the reasons that Lollypolly and tootsieroll have mentioned.

strandednomore Thu 10-Feb-11 11:41:57

I had a great childhood in Manila but I suspect it wouldn't be so great now. There wasn't so much traffic back then. We travelled all over the country, including to some of the areas it just wouldn't be safe to go to now, and spent regular weekends at a beach club where me and my brothers basically ran feral, swimming and snorkelling and playing in the sand. We went to an International school which although based on the American system was very multicultural and I grew up with friends from Japan, Korea, Australia, Pakistan, NZ, Germany....

At the moment I would vote for the UK (despite what a lot of people think) - although Singapore sounds great!

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 10-Feb-11 11:49:28

I am hoping it's the UK smile, me and DD are returning in the summer to live.
She was born in Oman which is fabulus, but somewhat dull with regard to entertainment and glitz.
We moved to Thailand when she was 2.8, we had four fabulous years there with the opportunity to travel to many many places.
Switzerland came when she was 6.8 and we had three not so good years.
We moved to Belgium last year and so far, it has been really good for her. We've been able to drive to England really easily.
For me and DH it is important that she is settled somewhere for her senior school, hence the move.

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