Mongolian Children

Don't worry about bringing your children here - Mongolian children make up one-third of the population. Mongolia is one BIG playground!

But customs differ, and some cultural differences you should know...

Mongolian Nomad Children On Horseback

Nomad children on horseback

Mongolian Names

As you tour Mongolia, you will meet children with names which may sound ludicrous or cruel.

Would you call your kid Not Human, or Savage Dog? Mongolians do! But they have their child's best interests at heart. Click here to discover why.

Children's Festivals

You may come across one of the following children's festivals on your tour...

First Hair Cut

Mongolian kids get their first haircut when they reach two or three. The ceremony marks the transition from babyhood to childhood.

If you're in the countryside, you may get an invitation. The child's family gathers and each take a turn at snipping a lock of hair. After each snip, the child gets a gift - so don't forget to give one!

Children's Day

This takes place on June 1st. On this day, the capitals' main road closes for the day. You will find many festivities taking place - the biggest one in Sukhbaatar Square. A great time to visit!

Children's Day is alcohol free - restaurants, pubs, and shops will not serve or sell you alcohol.

City Children

Mongolians send their kids to school from age six till the age of eighteen.

After school, Mongolians play in Children's Squares, in front of their apartments. A children's square often includes a basketball court, sandpit and a small park. In fact, if you want to discover the real Mongolia, you'll find these squares the perfect place to meet people.

Unfortunately, these days you're just as likely to find Mongolian children playing video games in the nearest Internet café!

Nomadic Children

Mongolian Nomad Child

Nomad children have no such 'luxuries' and instead enjoy the wide open vistas of the steppe. Some say Nomad kids learn to ride a horse before they can walk.

For some, it's not a horse but a reindeer!

Street Kids

For some Mongolian Children, life sucks. Street children live underground and venture up when they need to find food and money. They can get in your way on the streets of Ulan Bator, but go easy on them - they live a hard life.

Gifts For Mongolian Children

If you visit nomads on your trip, it's considered polite to bring gifts for their children.

Mongolian children like the same things as kids around the world. But avoid gifts which require batteries or refills - they can't buy them.

You can gift babies and young children a soft toy; for older children small action figures, toy cars, notebooks, color pencils (make sure you include a pencil sharpener), and so on.

One well-received gift I gave was a wind up torch - a useful and practical gift for nomads.

Click here for more gift ideas for Mongolian nomad children which I've posted in response to a reader's question.

The Mongolian Blue Spot

Many Mongolian children spend their first few years of life with a small bruise-like mark around the base of their spine, sometimes elsewhere. These marks are not signs of abuse!

Read my Mongolian spot page to find out what causes them.

Child Safety

As for your children, they will be safe here.

My son first came here when eight-months old...

My Son And Myself In The Mongolian Desert

But here are two pieces of advice to keep in mind...

Many hotels and ger camps have no cots. If your child needs one, bring a travel cot with you - or make sure your tour company has one. Gers come in one shape - circular, and the beds have a large gap between them and the wall. If it's a little chilly, you will also find a hot stove right in the middle of the ger.

Finally, bring some duct tape. Electric safety standards vary. You may find some live wires within your child's reach. A little duct tape could stop your kids getting a nasty shock!

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