I am a strong believer that it is very nice to raise children in Nicaragua. It is a very nice experience to have children grow up here. The kids here grow up a little bit more “old school” in the sense that they keep their innocence longer. My daughter is 9 years old and she still plays with dolls and dresses in pretty little dresses. I have friends who have sons and they still dress like children and look how children should look.
People here in Nicaragua do not have the style trends that we have in the States where kids tend to look way older than their age. Kids in Nicaragua look like kids and they act like kids. They go to the park, play basketball, and they go outside and play. They have a lot of social opportunities here because there are play dates that they can go to. There are so many at home moms and they go beyond and out of their way to be with their kids. They create those bonds.
When my 3-year old daughter was in preschool, I threw a little get together so the moms could get to know each other and the kids could get to know each other too because they are all going into the big school. They are no longer in daycare so it was a little bit difficult for them to assimilate that. We did this get together and you could see how these kids have a completely different feeling from the States. There is more family time. Family time here in Nicaragua is insanely big.
Birthday parties here are never thrown on the weekends; they’re done on the weekdays because the weekends are considered only for the family and usually most families would go out to the beach or to places like Granada or other cities in Nicaragua. Sundays are reserved for going to church and spending the entire day together. So you would see families go to the movies or to the mall together. They are always together on Sundays. So nobody goes to birthday parties on the weekends because they don’t want t break their nucleus.
Raising children in Nicaragua is much nicer. You have the ability to hire people to help you out such as nannies, maids, cleaning people, drivers, etc. it is relatively cheap to have people help you and still pay them well. That will facilitate your life with your children, so you could spend more time with your children instead of cleaning your house. You could have them pick up your kids so that you could get home from work. There is a lot of family bonding here in Nicaragua so raising kids here is much nicer.
There is also the struggle factor. My kids do not have the options like in the States where you go to Old Navy, Target, etc. There is nothing like that here so kids here are not materialistic. You might have a family that is very well off but the kids have no idea about what certain popular brands are or what new toys are out because we don’t have that here. There are only a few toy stores and one of them is a mom and pop shop and the other one is like a big mall store and it is limited to four aisles. Kids do not really care about those things. They’d rather go outside and play with a stick, or they would rather just go and hang out with each other and mess around.
It is also nice for the kids to see that others are less fortunate than they are and others who need help because you could see it. Some people live here in extreme poverty and so it is nice to show that to your kids and help them have social responsibility so that they can grow up to be empathetic and compassionate adults, which is something that I don’t think children in the States are exposed to because it is just so busy that people take those things for granted. In the US, it is more “me, me, me”, “I, I, I”, and they don’t have that human contact that I think kids need.
I like that the kids here Nicaragua would rather go to the beach and surf and play. My kids play with blankets and chairs in their rooms. That essence of having that play and that exploration of nature is something that you don’t get in the States. I don’t think you could get that anymore unless you live in somewhere really nice like Seattle where you could just go out in the woods and hang out. Usually you don’t get that. At least I didn’t get that when I was in Los Angeles. I was always in a concrete jungle and it would have been nice to be able to do other things like you can here in Nicaragua.
(Marissa Lolk at the beach in Nicaragua with one of her daughters, pictured.)