How to Deal with Strangers Touching Your Baby in China

Most parents, whether they live in China or not, know the frustrations of having to deal with strangers wanting to touch their newborn. Living in China means facing these experiences, on a far greater scale, and in ways that will surely blow your mind. We have had complete strangers pick up our child, and walk away! Many lean in close to look at our son, and then touch his face. To be honest, this infuriated me in the beginning. Trusting that a complete stranger has clean hands, in any country, is a risky game. As your child gets older and their immune system has strengthened a little, these intrusive touches may begin to bother you less, but still many parents are highly aggravated by these actions. By the time that your little one can walk, they will be bombarded by one group after the next, all wanting a photo with this sweet foreign face. Here

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Teaching Kids to Embrace Cultural Diversity

As a couple who have become parents in an exclusively foreign environment, this has been a wonderful chance for us to introduce our child to racial and cultural diversity. We are blessed to be able to raise our son abroad, but since we are from different countries, no matter where we live, at least one of us will always be a foreigner. In our community, and while out and about traveling the world, we come across so many ethnicities. This gives our son plenty of wonderful opportunities to learn and appreciate how different cultures live. Understanding that people are not all the same will enable your children to embrace and value the things that make each person or group of people different. Children really do notice differences, so take the time to teach what is important to each culture and help strengthen acceptance and understanding. Even though we are currently

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The Ultimate Rule Guide for Pregnancy in China

Every culture has different rules for pregnant women. While we were traveling through Thailand earlier this year I was about 5 months pregnant, and on more than one occasion we were told that it was okay for me to drink a bit of alcohol, even though I was expecting. The same opinion holds for some European cultures, but that would never be accepted here in China where rules for pregnancy are extremely strict. Chinese women have a special set of rules to follow. This list in not exhaustive. It is simply the rules that I can remember hearing, or reading about, over the last 9 months of being pregnant in China. Food and Diet Pregnancy is considered a “hot” condition, so to balance the scale between “hot and cold” or “ying and yang”, so called “cold foods” must be consumed throughout the pregnancy. I was therefore told by another pregnant

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Facing Culture Shock in China

China’s growth as an economic superpower has opened up opportunities for several multinationals to set up operations here and bring their countrymen to run these branches. It is not surprising for local residents to now have expatriates working as colleagues in these multinationals instead of seeing them as just tourists. The centuries old culture of China that has remained unaffected continues to shock and intrigue expats as they try to assimilate themselves into the surroundings.   Greeting and acknowledging people in China – The usual practice of greeting people in China is putting a smile to those lips and bowing your head down in acknowledgement along with verbal greeting of “hi hao” and “nin hao”. Though shaking hands is not a common greeting among Chinese culture, they have started to practice it with their Western counterparts. To increase familiarity with each other, expats may get invited to their Chinese colleagues’

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Giving Birth to Baby in China – What Expats Need to Know?

Many Expats in China who are expecting a baby prefer to have childbirth in an international hospital, as their staff are fluent in English. Besides the comfort of language, these hospitals also provide the latest emergency facilities and have experienced doctors who are trained in the West. Though these hospitals are more expensive then local ones, the expats are covered by international insurance which takes care of hospital charges. Expenses and facilities Expatriates fluent in Mandarin and Chinese couples can choose between government and private hospitals to have a baby in China, as both maintain a high level of hygiene and care for mothers and infants. Depending on the prenatal care and childbirth conditions, local China hospitals charge between RMB 8000 to RMB 50000 for delivery and stay. The vast difference between these charges is due to the type of ward selected and the type of delivery conducted depending on

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Does China’s One Child Policy Apply to Expats?

A question that is on the mind of many expatriates heading to China, especially when going with a young family is definitely, “Does China’s one child policy apply to Expats”? The simplest answer is ‘No’, but there are some situations where conditions do apply. Implementation of the one-child policy China’s government in the 1950’s encouraged its citizens to have as many children as possible to increase the work force of China. But in about thirty years the government realized the population growth rate was sky rocketing and would only take 24 years before the population doubled! The government took serious measures to implement the policy strictly starting officially from September, 1980. The policy gives exceptions to ethnic minorities, parents with handicapped first born children, and other issues, and have more recently relaxed the rules somewhat. Interested in learning more about the One-Child Policy? Check out these books: Just One Child:

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Five Things You Should Know About Living in China

I still remember the time I realized that moving to China might actually be a possibility. I was excited, scared, and really had no idea what to expect. Being considered a “third world country”, I didn’t know how to prepare. I didn’t even know what language to study! Should I study Mandarin, Cantonese or something else entirely? To be sure, China is strikingly different from life in the West. If the possibility of moving to China is looming on your mind, it is not uncommon to think and rethink the idea before breaking the news to the family. It’s only natural to be worried about moving half way around the world. But, let’s not let our worries hinder such an opportunity to embrace new culture and truly understand and experience diversity. Let’s take a look at some of the important changes you will experience as an Expat. Social Media. What

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Having a Healthy Pregnancy Away from Home, In China

Moving to a new place can be a brave decision for an expecting couple, where as moving to an entirely new continent like China can be chaotic at the least. The customs followed in China before, during and after child birth can be confusing for a Westerner. Understanding the traditions and customs and being equipped with as much information as possible can help you have a healthy and happy pregnancy. Once you know which city in China you will be residing, start your research about the hospitals in the area. If you are staying in tier-1 cities like Beijing or Shanghai, you can easily find hospitals and doctors who speak English and practice Western medicine. Most of these hospitals also offer parenting lessons and physical activity classes like maternity yoga. Medical insurance from your work can cover the hospital expenses, which are comparatively high than at home. If you are

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How is it to live in China as a Foreigner

Moving to a new place is always challenging, especially when that new place is an altogether new country. In a country not known for it’s ethic diversity, you might think it will be very difficult to blend in. However, it won’t take long to find where other foreigners congregate – especially if you are staying in large metropolises, like Shanghai or Beijing. From Christian fellowships to the bar scene, there is likely a place where you’ll fit in. However, it is inevitable, and desirable, that you will find yourself engaging with the local culture.   Being the odd one out One of our most memorable experiences with having young children in China was going to the Summer Palace in Beijing. We had been in China for a couple of years by this time, so we were used to getting a lot of attention. But this was unlike anything we’d ever

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Interesting Chinese Traditions Related to Childbirth

Not only is it fascinating to hear about various pregnancy and birth-related customs and traditions followed by the Chinese people, but it can also help the expat to better understand and be aware of attitudes and behaviors of doctors, friends and neighbors when having a baby in China. There are many pregnancy and childbirth-related traditions that may seem odd to expats, but are perfectly normal for Chinese people. As with any discussion of traditions in China, the following are generalizations and may or may not be apply to every area of China.   Pregnancy-related traditions China’s pregnancy customs have their own place in society. It is believed that whatever a pregnant woman does and sees influences her unborn baby. So pregnant women read good poetry, avoid gossiping and avoid losing their temper. There are many taboos related to the kind of food a pregnant woman should eat. One such taboo

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