Bodrum for kids: raising a family on the peninsula

As Turkey’s original tourist destination, Bodrum is well known for its natural and cultural attractions. However, lately, Bodrum has become the destination of choice for families attracted by the peninsula’s sunshine, culture and good food.

But what is it like living in Bodrum with kids?

What are the benefits - and the disadvantages?

We asked a family who moved to Bodrum about their experiences.

The Moores moved from Cardiff to Bodrum in 2013, buying a lovely family villa in the Bodrum peninsula. But, with two children under the age of eight, they were apprehensive about what they would find. Derryn Moore gives us a rundown of what she’s learned since those confusing new days in a new country.

Bodrum property

Schools in Bodrum

Education was one of the things that attracted us to Turkey. We wanted something a bit more holistic for our kids, and the schools here are excellent and much more child-centred, as opposed to fixated on goals like in the UK. Both children go to Marmara School, just outside Ortakent. Marmara offers education from kindergarten to university, with various subjects and extracurricular activities. Another option is the TED School in Ortakent. TED is a group of private schools that began in 1928 under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Because Turkish children don’t start primary school until seven, both her kids were more school-ready than the locals, allowing them to adapt quickly to the new system. She says that going to school in Turkey allows her children to experience different cultures first-hand. There are children from Sweden, Argentina, Singapore, China, Russia and Europe in their classes. The school embraces diverse cultures.

Raising Bilingual Children in Turkey

Several studies show various benefits for children of bilingual learning, including better academic results, concentration and multitasking; heightened communication skills; increased self-worth and confidence, and more excellent career opportunities later in life.

It’s true what they say about small children and learning another language. They are like little sponges; they pick up everything so quickly. At first, Derryn was worried that the language barrier would prevent her children from making friends, but this fear was unfounded. They have many friends and play well together, chattering away in a mixture of English and Turkish.

Derryn worked hard to foster bilingualism in the home, organising playdates with Turkish speakers, reading Turkish story books and listening to Turkish children’s songs. We worked hard, but the children took to learning Turkish so well that they can now translate for me when we’re out and about, which is a bit embarrassing but a good incentive to study Turkish, too.

Outdoor Lifestyles in Bodrum

Back home, playing outdoors was something kids did in the 70s. We’re from a pretty built-up area, so that children couldn’t play outside. Life is different in Bodrum. All slower aspects of life remind me of when I was a child. We lived on a small estate, and the kids played outside together after school. The neighbours keep an eye out, and the sunshine also helps. There are only two months of rain each year, so the kids play outside daily. Sometimes they’re only inside when they sleep.

There are also opportunities to try new outdoor hobbies. My eldest boy joined the school sailing club when we arrived when he was six. He sails twice a week in a little optimist sailing boat. There’s a big sailing scene here for kids, with lots of competitions and events. He loves everything water-based and would like to get into kiteboarding next year. We’re also planning on buying a yacht for family holidays – we’re not from a sailing background, but we can learn together.

Bodrum castle

More Time for Family and Friends

Derryn works from home, while her husband has time off work, keeping the house running and taking charge of school runs. We can easily afford to live on my salary here. We have more time for each other and more time to do what we like. Everything is close by; the school run takes ten minutes, there are no traffic jams, no stress. The family usually walks to the beach together when the children come home from school for a swim and afternoon tea. It is like someone said stop, put the brakes on our lives, and forced us to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Better Food and Health in Turkey

Derryn says she is shocked at the news stories about the obesity epidemic, particularly the rising levels of obesity in children. But in Turkey, they get the chance to eat better. Vegetables taste amazing here, we often make a simple salad of tomatoes and olive oil which the kids enjoy. Imported goods are expensive, so the family eat seasonally, like local Turks. This eating style is cheaper, fresher and tastier, and better for the environment. The local weekly market is an excellent place to stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains and bread. My husband usually goes; he’s a regular there now and comes back with the local gossip.

Downsides of Living in Bodrum

It is hard living far from our extended families. They come to visit, but it is not the same. So we try to get back to Cardiff whenever possible. Our parents love life in Turkey. After seeing our lifestyle in Bodrum, they want to retire to Turkey. Derryn said it took longer than expected to make friends with the locals. There are many great expat families, but cracking the Turks was more complicated. It took us a year or so to make inroads with friendships. But we made efforts to integrate into the community and now have some wonderful, generous, warm Turkish friends. Derryn recommends learning Turkish before moving to Bodrum to help with assimilation.

Bodrum Old Town

More About the Bodrum Peninsula of Turkey

About Yalikavak: Over the last ten years, Yalikavak has risen in fame to become one of the most popular places to live in Bodrum. From small fishing village, to expat town, to global yachting hub, houses in Yalikavak now count themselves as some of the most prestigious in Turkey. This guide talks more about this town of Bodrum, and why people flock there.

Gumusluk in Bodrum: Gumusluk is a quiet town of the Bodrum peninsula, that is famed for traditional architecture, and seaside restaurants. Although, Gumusluk remains largely off the grid when it comes to mainstream tourism and expat living, foreigners enjoy the peace and quiet.

Property in Bodrum: If you are thinking of moving to Bodrum and would like to buy property, see our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale in all areas of the peninsula. Each listing contains everything to know including price, location, home features and contact details to find out more or arrange a viewing. Alternatively, pop into our office, in Bodrum main town near the marina and chat with one of our agents about moving to Bodrum Turkey.

Bodrum Gumusluk


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