Finding child care in Thailand ( The Nanny agency’s perspective)
All too often, believe it or not, child care is one of the last considerations many expats who are coming to Thailand think off and some actually get here and think:
“OMG, the kids, the kids, who’s going to care for the kids whilst we at work!??”
So rather than have a ‘Home alone’ debacle we thought we’d give you a few tips in how to look for the best care giver for your children from our point of view for when you arrive in the land of smiles.
Assuming that you are not due at your desk for your first day in 8 hours’ time that is!
Spend the time it takes to find the right person to take up this key position in your family, a good Nanny is a coveted asset and can actually help make life so much easier.
Discuss in depth with your partner what the ideal nanny would be, is she a mature type,sturdy, experienced, robust, or a twenty something fresh out of education, young, creative, energetic. Can she cook? Is she a cleaner also? What languages are important to you both?
All too many people have not discussed these things first, and there’s a lot of bewildered looking at each other searching for last minute answers when they visit our offices. Try to have at least these things in mind before approaching a nanny agency in Bangkok.
In Thailand there are many cultures from neighbouring countries. Nannies are from lots of different countries and speak all languages, it would not be too hard to find say a Nepalese speaker, or Muslim nanny, so the research you do, before you visit a nanny agency is essential.
A hastily drafted email telling us what you want and for us to ‘send her round ASAP’ will not really avail you to the best we have to offer!
“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world”
Taking another person into your family to manage your progeny is not something that should be taken lightly and the Internet has made the whole process of research a lot easier.
An agency will have already done a lot of research interviewing nannies and mannies (their male equivalents) vetting their registrants and creating a personal profile for each nanny. A great nanny agency is one who takes as much care of their nannies as much as they do the families they go to.
We now understand what it feels like for parents who have to arrange marriages, you really want happiness and harmony for both sides, so we really try to get to know our staff and many actually live at our offices which is a house whilst we get to know them and find out what their ideal family would be, we certainly get to test their cooking in this arrangement, which is a bonus in most cases!
Then when they go off to live with their families we often feel a tinge of sadness, but they always pop back in with their children to show them to us, it’s really a labour of love. This is probably the reason why our offices are full every day of nannies from all over Asia trying to register with us.
We ask for references wherever possible, yet for us knowing the nannies is more important then references, we all see third party testimonials each day, however a direct testimonial from us is more important to the families.
Many of the nannies have been with us on our books for several years and we have a few who have been registered with us for over ten years so we know them on a personal level.
We try as we can to build up a picture of their family we are sending our nannies too, and often we have the knowledge of the families through our huge network of nannies.
The Interview process
A vital step in the process is the meeting in person, sometimes even though on paper it looked the ideal match, there may be little rapport established, so at this point, rather than take a chance of you and your children spending the time to get to know a nanny and settling in to find not long after it’s not a great fit, we would rather go through the interview process again with another nanny.
Don’t be hasty due to time constraints to just go with the first nanny you meet because it really is a lot of unnecessary upheaval later on!
You can learn so much with how she interacts with your child, so bring your kids they are as much a part of the interview as all three adults!
Check the references yourself, this is your family don’t cut corners, sure we have checked the references, but it’s up to you to complete the necessary due diligence for yourself.
A second interview should really be on site so if you are happy with your new family member in the first instance, you will need a few days trial at your home, so arrange a few days trial run, make sure to pay the nanny for their time at the going rate, this will be an ideal last step of the interview process.
This seems to be an issue here in South East Asia, of course one of the attractions of working and living here in Thailand is the cost of living compared to the west, the prices of things will in the main be less, and the cost of child care usually follows suit. But, and a big but, is; do not consider a nanny like a utility, they can add such value to a family and create such great harmony and reduce stress if you include them as a real member and treat them as an equal.
Pay therefore should be considered more of a personal contribution than going with the standard average. Everybody considers a monetary payment as a return for services given, yet if we try to remember that respect and credit for good work are far more motivational than just pure pay.
PNA is a well-established nanny agency based in Bangkok and has a great range of nannies from all over Asia.