How well-equipped is this city for those raising infants/toddlers? Specifically, are there public places to change diapers, maintained playgrounds, etc?
There are not many public places specifically set aside for changing diapers. In addition, playgrounds are rare outside of schools and housing compounds.
Where can I get a list of reliable childcare providers/nannies?
The most reliable method of obtaining a nanny with experience and limited English is through a referral from another expatriate. This may be done through word of mouth or via the notice board at an expatriate supermarket.
Discuss any safety issues for children in this city.
Nanjing is a relatively safe place to be. Despite the fact that a lost child will be in an environment where most people don't speak English, local Chinese are often very caring toward children and are particularly fond of foreign kids.
Just be careful when crossing the road. If you use common sense when out and about with your children, there shouldn't be any major problems. See the "transport" section for more details.
What are the most popular kid-friendly attractions in the area?
- Olympic Stadium has a very large pool with an area for small children.
- Nanjing Zoo
- Xuan Wu lake is a beautiful lake in the heart of the city. One may ride 2-4 man boats around the lake, ride one’s bike or run along the path, or have a BBQ.
- Mo Chou Lake is large lake about 10-15 minutes outside the city center and one can ride 2-3 bikes.
- Hong Shan Zoo
- Zhenzhu Spring Wild Animal Park
- Underwater World has underwater viewing areas and dolphin and penguin performances.
What are the most popular activities for kids after school or on weekends?
International schools organize many after-school activities. Entertaining kids at home is also commonplace.
What's it like to be a teenager in this city? Are there any particular challenges I should be aware of as a parent?
On the whole, teenagers enjoy themselves in Nanjing. An expat teen in Nanjing can lead a lifestyle that's similar to his or her counterparts in the West. Keep in mind, however, that China does not strictly observe any legal drinking age and bars are easily accessible so parents may want to monitor their children's activities more closely. It is also very easy for children to purchase cigarettes.
Are there any organizations/social groups in the area that cater exclusively to young people ages 12-17?
Such groups exist only within the international schools.
I want my child to get the most out of our stay in this country. Are there any specific opportunities to teach young people about the local culture?
In general, children tend to pick up a lot of the local language and culture (especially the language, often becoming the "mouthpiece" for the family). It is also suggested that the family make a list of these holidays and learn some information about them before arriving in Nanjing. It will not only make transitioning into Nanjing easier, but also show respect for the Chinese culture.
- Chinese New Year (& Lantern Festival)
- Dragon Boat Festival (Nanjing)
- Mid-Autumn Festival
- China’s National Day
- Children’s Day
- Youth Day
Those children who go to international schools receive lessons in Chinese tradition in addition to learning the language.
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