So you need a nanny in Bangkok… where do you begin?

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When my second child was born and my first was just old enough to toddle around and wreak all kinds of havoc, I found myself wishing I had two pairs of hands at all times. That’s why having a nanny around the house made such a difference, both for the children and my sanity.

However, finding someone you are willing to trust with your children can be a challenge, especially as an expatriate in a foreign culture. Here are a few things to consider when beginning the search process.

Where do you look?

It’s been my personal experience that word of mouth is the best place to start. Ask friends and neighbors if they know any good people looking for work. Even better, if you know someone who has a great nanny, ask that nanny if she has any friends that she would recommend. You probably wouldn’t risk your reputation to recommend a friend for a job that they weren’t up to the task for; so the odds are that neither would she.

At the same time, ask around at the office. Perhaps put a personal notice in your company’s daily email bulletin or put up a notice on the bulletin board. Try asking someone in HR if they can help or at least point you in the direction of someone who can. Great companies will have a designated individual to assist incoming expat staff with exactly this sort of thing. And don’t forget to check out the BAMBI classified section.

Questions to ask

  1. What are her existing qualifications? Many great nannies will have a written reference from a past employer. Make sure to contact these directly.
  2. What other obligations does she have? Ask about her marital status, whether she has kids or not, or if she has family members living in the area.
  3. Does she have CPR training? If not, would she be willing to take a course if you set it up and paid for it? Courses are periodically run by places such as Samitivej Hospital and Bumrungrad Hospital.
  4. Are they legal residents of Thailand? There are many great non-Thai nannies (ours included) out there. But you’ll need to know what their legal status is. You may choose to help them with the costs of a work permit. You must also be aware that they will have to miss one day of work every six months or so to go down to immigration to keep their work permit up to date.
  5. How healthy are they? Ask about their general health and how many days of work they’ve missed in the past year. I also ask when was the last time they had an eye test. Sounds silly perhaps, but if you can’t see what my kid is putting in his mouth from the other side of the room, then that’s a problem.
  6. Do they know what to do in a crisis? You want a nanny who is able to think on her feet when things go wrong. Present her with a scenario and ask her how she would react. “My 18-month-old is running around at home and trips over something, falls face first onto the floor and is now bleeding a little from the mouth. What do you do?” I would not hire the woman who responds with, “I’d call the ambulance” in this case. I want to hire the woman who has the experience, and wherewithal, to determine the difference between a real emergency and all the other things that kids do.
  7. What experience do they have caring for kids within their own family? Some nannies who have only professionally cared for older children may have helped raise infants within their own families (or vice versa). Be sure to ask in order to get a better understanding of the breadth of their experience.
  8. Do they speak English? Find out over the course of the interview how well you are able to communicate with your prospective nanny. If you feel uncomfortable or that she may have difficulty understanding directions, you may wish to start looking elsewhere.

Photo Credit: Roamme via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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