The following websites deliver internationally and have things like Peppa Pig and Disney movies in Cantonese:
Do adjust your expectations when buying as I have heard of many sites that sell counterfeit DVDs. I don’t think this is a problem as children don’t tend to notice but do understand that DVDs sold at multiple price points often mean the cheaper ones are of lower quality. In my opinion, the HMV site is the most reliable one.
There are also some programmes uploaded to YouTube, for example this playlist contains Peppa Pig and this one, Thomas the Tank Engine. I have also collected together several nursery rhymes (some are in English – the Cantonese words are available via the Nursery Rhyme shop) in this playlist.
TVPad is a little box that plugs into the internet and your TV to deliver pre-recorded series and streaming of live channels of Asian TV. Cantonese and Mandarin are both well catered for as well as Korean, Japanese and other Asian languages. It’s a little tricky to use if you don’t read Chinese but well worth the effort once you’ve found some favourite channels.
This is a difficult subject to discuss as I find many people are emotionally attached to either simplified or traditional characters. Most of the books available on AsianParent, Buyoyo, YesAsia and even Amazon will be in simplified characters. For a variety of books in traditional characters it is best to stock up when in Hong Kong or buy through Taiwanese websites (although they sometimes have slightly different vocabulary). The list of booksellers below deliver to the UK.
A search on Amazon for ‘Chinese Children Book’ will spring up some lovely books in English as well as Chinese. For example this one and this one have beautiful illustrations and traditional stories and there are even some flash cards available.
www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk is a community website housing a forum and an excellent Cantonese dictionary.
cantolounge.com/complete-guide-learn-cantonese is a beginners guide to learning Cantonese and has a downloadable pdf option so you can learn offline too.
Pleco is a dictionary app available for iPhone and Android that gives pronunciation for both Mandarin and Cantonese, including Cantonese recordings for iPhone (coming soon for Android).
Cantonese Community Online
There is a lively group on Facebook, Cantonese Parents, Babies & Toddlers (www.facebook.com/groups/140016236038208/), which brings together likeminded parents to share tips and ideas and support each other in bringing up children speaking Cantonese.
I often get asked about finding a Cantonese speaking nanny, below are a few things I learnt while searching for Cantonese speaking nannies for my children.
- It is hard to find nanny who speaks good Cantonese, it’s much easier to find Mandarin speaking nannies or nannies with non-native Cantonese. The majority of Cantonese speaking nannies will be in our parents’ generation, which means that they don’t have great English and they aren’t online. The best way to get in touch with this group of nannies is via Chinese Community Centres (in London this means the Chinese Community Centres in Kings Cross, Leicester Square and Camden).
- It’s worth using an agency but keep your expectations low. Agencies are very expensive and, for Cantonese they often find it difficult. They often use the same avenues that we would use (posting online, community centres etc) so it’s worth looking yourself first.
- Most Cantonese speaking nannies I’ve met are not registered (in the UK this means they are not OFSTED registered or DBS checked), some will be willing to go through this but most won’t. Don’t discount them because of this but do consider a mix of childcare (perhaps nursery for half the week and nanny for the other half) if that becomes more tax efficient.
- If you are nervous about your level of Cantonese, consider reaching out the PlayCantonese network, perhaps we could find someone to help you interview the nannies and help you get a cheat sheet of commonly used words. You’ll find your Cantonese improving massively as you are forced to use it every day, I no longer send messages to my mum asking her translate them into Chinese to forward to our nanny – I can write my own!
If you are a Cantonese speaking nanny looking for another position, please do get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send your details to our mailing list.