Delhi is not the world’s most child-friendly city. It’s dusty, polluted, and not that safe. One of the first things you will notice is that many Indian parents tend to be pretty relaxed about their child’s safety. Children often wander their neighbourhoods quite freely (even at a young age). It’s also not uncommon to see children as young as seven or eight lighting fireworks without parental supervision on festivals such as Diwalli (where fireworks are common). Parents often let their children ride in the front seat of cars without safety belts or special child seats, or simply prop their little ones on the handlebars of their motorbikes. This is alarming for most foreign visitors, whether they have children or not.

That said, Delhi does have a good side for children. Most Indians love kids, and your child will be doted upon and treated with a lot of love. It’s also accepted (or in some cases, tolerated) to take children out to restaurants and movies, although it will come as a shock to some parents to see little ones out with their parents as late as 1 am. Delhi also has good schools, plenty of open spaces and parks and many activities to keep the young ones entertained. Most malls are equipped with play-areas for kids and there are many recreational and educational opportunities for children. If you have children, it is a good idea to choose accommodation in an apartment complex or a gated community that offers facilities like a pool, sand pit, and a little park for children.

Before moving to Delhi, prepare your children by showing them pictures of the city, introducing them to simple Indian food (such as dal, rice, and other less spicy dishes). If you plan to hire a nanny, ease them into the idea of being alone with another adult by spending time as a group first. It’s also a good idea to bring some familiar objects from home (posters, stuffed animals, etc.) so that your child has some familiar points of reference in his or her new home.

An expat living in Delhi, Kim Barrington Narisetti has written a book ‘Urban Crayon Delhi – a City Guide for Parents with Children’. You can order it at http://www.urbancrayonpress.com/ucdelhi.php, which will direct you various areas of interest to children. You can also hear a podcast of the author’s interview of life as an expat with kids in Delhi at the following link: http://www.livemint.com/2009/06/08200336/Exploring-Delhi-with-kids.html

Time Out Delhi magazine also has a Kids section, with plenty of information on events and activities for children.

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