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. 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.
Shanghai is relatively safe. 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.
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?
- Aquaria 21 in Puxi has a great layout on a small lake
- Century Park is a popular day out with activities such as mini-golf and boating.
- Dino Beach is a great summer's day out, featuring an outdoor swimming pool with wave machine and "imported beach."
- Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is in Pudong, near the Pearl Tower
- Shanghai also has a zoo and a wild animal safari park
- Universal Studios has plans for a theme park in Shanghai
- Science and Technology Museum in Pudong (with IMAX theatre) is another good option for children.
- AKS (ActiveKidz Shanghai) is a non-profit organization providing a huge range of sporting options to expatriate children
- High 5 Soccer and Activities Club
- Century Park - Shanghai's largest park, located in Pudong with a miniature golf course.
- Meadowbrook Equestrian and Rural Activity Center - offers horse riding
- Jinjiang Amusement Park has roller-coasters and other rides
- Planet Laser Tag - live-action laser tag game
What are the most popular activities for kids after school or on weekends?
The 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 Shanghai. An expat teen in Shanghai 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 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 easily pick up the local language and culture (especially the language, often becoming the "mouthpiece" for the family).
Those children who go to international schools receive lessons in Chinese tradition in addition to learning the language.
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