Kids are not boxes! Tips on moving to HK with kids.

ASK THE EXPERTS – Our team of agents give some tips to help you transition children to Hong Kong.

Lets get this straight – KIDS are NOT BOXES.

Our Locations team is a varied and vibrant mix of nationalities but one thing we all have in common is KIDS – all ages, from 3 to 23,  at all stages and we know what it means to move them from one ‘location’ to another.

They have emotions, attachments and physical as well as spiritual and psychological needs.
Our panel of staff members are not just Real Estate Agents but parents:
So we asked them for a few tips to help you. Now one would think with a diverse range of nationhoods we would get a diverse range of advice – well true to the addage that dictates that same advice is good advice, we have chosen to print it all – and its very consistent.

If you would like to contact any of us for further guidance or a chat over a coffee or even a skype before you embark we are here with open arms.
We know its not easy but a move to Hong Kong could very well be one you never make again – we all came for ‘two years’ once a long time ago!!


Stuart is a ‘trailing spouse’ in the nicest terms. A stay at home Dad of two very active kids ( 4 and 6) who runs a tight ship and keeps up with the daily routine of swimming lessons, school runs and home management along side a new career in Real Estate. A former banking professional Stu found it was possible to change direction while taking care of his family (Reach Stuart)

Top tips:
Relocating to HK with kids as a trailing spouse was at the same time a daunting yet exciting experience for me. A new city, a new culture and a very new role for me as a stay at home Dad

How did I survive ?

Luckily HK is set up for trailing spouses of either gender and if you embrace the change and accept the challenge ( which is certainly not easy at times) then it can be a very rewarding time of your life.

The best thing I did was join a sports club which gave me (and more importantly my family) access to an immediate social network, a place to come to to relax and let the kids run free and also the chance to indulge one of my passions / obsessions in cricket ! Clubs of all shapes and sizes in HK are one of the best ways to meet people and to get involved in HK life and by the time you leave HK you may well have made friends for life through this experience.
Even if joining a club is perhaps not an option for you personally , getting your children involved in sporting activities through the various clubs in HK is just as good and great for the kids to mix with other HK rug rats and to help them make new friends. My two children are both HKCC Gappers through the cricket season (every Saturday morning) and budding rugby players for Valley Fort which has the added bonus of training at the PLA army base in Stanley on occasions with curious Chinese soldiers watching on !

Involve yourself in your childrens school / pre-school life and you will be surprised how many other people you will find who are going through or have been through exactly what you are experiencing. I made two of my best friends in HK (and since) just by dropping my kids off at their pre school and hanging around for 10 minutes afterwards chatting with other parents.

The more you make the effort to get involved in HK life, be it through your children school life, clubs or whatever the more you will get out of it which will make your time in HK well worth the experience.


A self confessed power machine of a mum to two boys, Nikki works hard to perfect her role as a mum, a professional Real Estate Agent and a sportwoman participating in HK’s top level of Dragon Boating. A Psychologist by training and a pharma sales leader, who better to ask about transitioning family than a person who never stops working on it even when settled? (Reach Nikki)

Top tips:
Embrace opportunity!
Sport – all sports are on offer in HK.
For children and adults!!
Try some of these…..

Mini rugby clubs in all areas of Hong Kong, for girls and boys

Many football schools, APSS and Brazilian Football Academy, start from five years and up to older boys and girls with competitive squads.

Cricket, try the gappers at the HKCC, early on a Saturday morning.

Sailing, learn to sail from age of 6 years at RHKYC

Netball and Hockey at HKCC

Multi sport – offering swimming, gymnastics and much more

Horse-riding in Pokfulam and the New territories

Karate – taught at HKFC, Aberdeen Boat club, Country Club

Hong Kong is not just the city, take a look at the green centre when you look up from the city! All of the green area contains kms and kms of hiking trails! Beautiful green lush paths with gurgling streams and gushing water falls. Stunning flowers and wildlife. All levels of hiking area available, to tough climbs which reward with the view when you get there, to concreted trails, suitable for pushchairs.
Further explore hiking options and even camping on beautiful isolated beaches of the outlying islands.

Embrace your new home as a jumping off point for travel.
Fantastic opportunity to travel to countless, close by children friendly destinations, to embrace culture, food and the people.
Fantastic experiences for children of all ages..
But first start with Hong Kong!

Others to visit, best make your list now and with around 21 days of public holidays a year to add to the school holidays, you have plenty to time to make the trips!!!
Hainan Island

And a little further a field
Sri Lanka
And even Australia and New Zealand….


Taking a more relaxed approach because she was brought up in Hong Kong, Maeve has a strong educational and sports ethos and is now transitioning some of her children back to a Boarding School while maintaining a very active role in her DB community and her childrens schools. Don’t be deceived by Maeve’s calm exterior – she works 24/7 at networking and keeping her kids involved and has some top tips to share about balance. (Reach Maeve)

Top Tips
Travel as much as you can – HK is an ideal geographical position to see the best of Asia.  It can be so exciting for our children to experience new cultures first hand and often retain more than in the classroom!

Eat local Asian food – be it Cantonese, Peking, Shanghai, Thai, Indian, Sri Lankan – we call our children ‘Asian babies’ as they far prefer Asian fare over Western.

Take to the outdoors – HK is 70% country park and there are so many wonderful hiking trails and beaches to explore.  By foot, junk, ferry or Sampan.

Camping – obviously avoid the very hot seasons (although some of the safari style tents have portable aircons) – but too often in HK, our children don’t learn how to be hardy creatures – learn how to collect appropriate firewood, how to build a fire, campfire cooking, working with untreated water etc.  Experience real nature and all it has to offer – in terms of bird life, the wandering water buffalo on lantau and sai kung – and experience clear clean waters of the New Territories.

Visit the busy Hong Kong markets and regularly attempt a few words of Cantonese with the street sellers.

Meet other families & children throughout HK by joining extra curricular activities of interest.  HK has many sports clubs and weekends can be packed full with team practice and regular tournaments – be it football, rugby, swimming, netball, hockey, tennis, ice hockey.  Non sporting activities in the arts – creative writing, painting/drawing/sewing/knitting, theatre & singing groups – also create a wonderful opportunity for our children to meet a diverse range of friends.


You may think that coming to the end of expatriate journey of 24 years with children in Hong Kong, Megan could be a little out of touch – well with 16 year old twins doing A levels, and a son graduating from NZ university and now in the job market its never dull but in a different way. Megan attests to the sanctity of Hong Kong as a safe and enriching place to bring up a family in a time tested multicultural environment with all the benefits of a cosmopolitan lifestyle. (Reach Megan)

Top Tips:
EMBRACE Hong Kong by encouraging varied experiences. Enjoy the festivals, and get out and see the different areas Hong Kong has. Islands, mountains.
My kids have grown up tramping and camping in the hills of the New Territories, the beaches of Saikung and eating at the Dai Pai Dong food stalls of the remote villages. I never let my children turn their noses up at local food – it will stop them from starving if they go to university and know how to eat ‘Asian’ Also please help them to learn Cantonese – a few words. My twins now love using it.
Finally have a helper by all means but know the difference between a maid and a slave and respect your helpers – get your children early on to make their own beds and cook a meal with you, do the dishes as a chore and share a laugh with your domestic staff. They can’t take a helper home with them so they may as well take home respect for people from other countries who work and care for them.

A long time expatriate Mum of three boys Sandra has special needs as her key area of expertise as she has fully invested her time in HK in supporting her own children with differences. A strong advocate of the rights and responsibilities of parents with children who are needing support you know Sandra is on your side if you need her advice.


American Wendy has a grown up family including one member of the HK Sevens team so we could reiterate that sport is a significant part of successfully parenting kids in HK but maybe its not for all kids –  if your kids are not the sporty types you are in the right place for Music, Drama, Art, Language, and Technology – a tech geek paradise awaits. (Reach Wendy)

Don’t forget to take it one day at a time and do not be afraid to reach out to us or any other parents you meet. We won’t all think the same way but we will all have the same goals – to make a family transition into a positive experience. We have all done it, and we know its ok to feel a bit down in the dumps as it makes the high points seem so much higher.


Paddling Dragons

1431594119808_RHKYC2_469653We are very excited in our office as Nikki Green our South-side residing consultant is sharpening up her blades for tomorrow’s Dragon Boat Festival.
The festival kicks off at Stanley and there are races all over Hong Kong.
Nikki races as a member of the RHKYC Royal X team of over 100 on the roster but tomorrow she will be one of four crews, 90 paddlers including 46 men and 37 women; its a long day and if lucky they will race 3.5 minutes !! In 270 meters there is only one thing on their mind – EVERYTHING!  Thats the catch cry of team captain Melissa who doesn’t take prisoners and if you are still standing and can talk you clearly haven’t put it in!!
Nikki’s captain asked them to remember the mistakes they WON’T be making – clearly a day when nerves are overruled by courage, guts and determination to keep the cup in the club. As defending champs these teams are tenacious.

So Nikki and team – all the best
If our agents at Locations can still breathe after viewing with you – they haven’t shown you enough? Hmmmm. At least we can say we have stamina.

Its a gorgeous day in HK for a paddle or to spectate this annual spectacular from a vantage on a boat or on the shore – the festivities are something HK’ers look forward to.


Rugby Sevens Kick-off

There is a magic that descends on Hong Kong around 7’s time. Visitors start to book your sofa. Work ramps up and interest takes the down escalator. Kids plan costumes, adults plan costumes. People you never thought would, wear costumes they wish they never had. You see your bank manager wearing a maniki or your local Starbucks server wearing a tutu and crown and HE has never smiled like that when you ordered your morning latte.
Ah the ‘Sevens” – Hong Kong’s nod to liberation, freedom of expression, patriotism, national pride, over indulgence of alcohol and unfettered schmoozing for tickets and best seats.

New Zealand and SA, UK and Aus as the usual top four have slunk down in the hustings and while they may still carry out the cup, USA and Canada and Japan ( even Hong Kong)  have risen and up has risen the party atmosphere that comes from underdogs winning. Music and rugby, meeting old friends and cheering on Hong Kong and Kenya and hearing the drums of Samoa and the vuvuzelas of the South Africans in the South Stand. Seeing monkeys and madonnas smooching and feeling the camaradarie of a crowd of 45,000 fans who put aside all worldly worry to enjoy a mix of social and culture and sport cocktails ( get your hangover cures ready)

We don our war paint – mine is a mix of my own heritage ( Born in Fiji, from NZ, living in HKG with UK/NZ kids) I have it covered. Black and Black and Blue and Red and White and … its a kaleidescope of fantastic fun.

I suggest you get a ticket if you can and come to the big Gweilo Party – every taxi driver knows where to go!

Sarah’s Story

Get your running shoes on to catch our fun loving Agent- Sarah. Her personal logo includes her Saikung Magazine as she covers the area, and our HIGH ENERGY Sarah needs fuel so she brings it along with her in varied snacks. Her British roots are pasted over the McVities digestives she shares with colleagues. Sarah has a buzz of energy that caught our designers imagination – you will soon see Sarah buzzing around Saikung on the side of a mini bus!! Trust US – Its our TRUTH.


Nikki’s Story

A diary for organisational skills, and a phone to take your calls. An apple for energy, pens for highlighting client needs and her own territory of the SOUTH SIDE with a smiling electrical cable – now that could say anything or nothing at all about our electric, vibrant neon smiling Southside paddling, mum of two Realtor Nikki Green. It said it all to us.
Continue reading “Nikki’s Story”