Keats School


Single Mom in Kunming

Personinkunming (5 posts) • +1

It seems usual to find nannys (Ayi) from other foreign families who don’t need them any more, perhaps due to leaving the country, or their children starting school. Do you have wechat? Once you arrive, you can ask in wechat groups. It would be difficult to arrange too far ahead because the nanny who is available now many not be available when you arrive.

Our nanny is lovely and I know of numerous other families who are very happy with theirs.

michael2015 (668 posts) • +5

First - sympathies on your new single-mom status. That sucks - regardless of single mom or single dad. It's possible - but you need to calculate your budget before coming.

Um...apologies to all - this actually turned into a long rambling downvote button...gyahahahaha...

You can use google translate (it works in china also) to look at chinese job sites such as to understand ESL salaries in west china (yunnan, Sichuan, etc) and maybe even Ayi salaries. You can also negotiate those repeat trip benefits - just take the money instead - save it up...if you're not particularly tight with your family.

You can usually get a "live-in" nanny starting at ¥2k-3k per month however just like anywhere else - you'll be churning nannies as you attempt to find someone responsible, compassionate, patient, and most importantly, not abusive. You'll need to establish unspoken criteria for observing your nannies/housekeepers/cooks and be quick, efficient, and totally ruthless when you churn. Basically bringing the new Ayi home and telling the now fired Ayi to return to the agency to seek her next assignment. Ayi's have a probationary period - so if you don't churn them before the probation expires - you have to pay the termination salary - usually 1-2 weeks - but the agency can give you the current laws.

More expensive doesn't necessarily equate to higher quality.

I HIGHLY recommend you equip your nanny with a stroller and bag of baby supplies (assuming this is a baby) and keep your baby close to you - in public. That makes it more difficult for nannies to abuse your child - not impossible - just more difficult.

Word of mouth works better than agencies who hurl bodies at you while jacking up the rates to "foreigner" levels (usually around 3x local rates if they think they can get away with it). Agencies are supposed to screen and train their nannies - but ... buyer beware.

Live-in's are fed and will consume things like toilet paper, soap etc - so beware of the rapid consumption of these day-to-day items.

Nannies/housekeepers also can be assigned grocery buying - this is a major source of embezzlement - taking say ¥100 to buy ¥5-10 of decrepit groceries and pocketing the change.

Ayi's or nannies/housekeepers/cooks (multi-role) tend to work 6 days a week with at least 1 day off plus national holidays, sick leave, health insurance (absolutely NOT expensive here). Best to use an agency to understand current labor rules and laws.

As you will absolutely be churning Ayi's unless you're lucky (and if you were lucky, you wouldn't be a single mom), best to use an agency - regretfully - I only know of one agency and can maybe introduce but NOT vouch for them - they don't speak English so that sucks if you can't speak chinese.

There are occasionally advertisers on this site who offer compensated concierge-like services - from driving to translation - so that will help you transition - at a cost.

Also - if you're a US citizen - you'll need the father's permission to leave the country and basically travel ANYWHERE unless you have a court order (which you'll need translated) giving you full custody.

ANY time you fly in China with your child - and especially internationally - you'll need to present this notarized and translated letter, so please consider this.

To get a work visa here - you'll need a small mountain of documents that need to be authenticated in your home country (to include criminal background check) - which then need to be counter-authenticated by the local chinese consulate or embassy in your home country - so take care of those things before you leave.

Your baby's birth certificate and your legal evidence of sole custodian for your baby will also need to be authenticated by your government, then counter-authenticated by your local chinese consulate or embassy.

Finally - you should seriously consider your local support group (aka "friends"). Teaching can consumer a lot of your time, then there's baby time, self time, etc - so please consider the potential for mental and social isolation issues.

Buddhist and other religious and philosophical groups can be helpful.

As you are multi-lingual - some multinationals may be interested in you depending on your business skills.

You'll need to learn to shop online and find baby stores that deliver (most deliver for a nominal fee - especially when buying formula and diapers in bulk).

I used Ayi's for several years across china. Most were nightmares, especially in Kunming. Sichuan Ayi's tend to be the best - but there's always exceptions to the rule.

Liumingke1234 (3293 posts) • +3

I wonder why would a single mother want to come all the way to China with a 7th month baby with no one here already as a support.

Everything you do here will be twice as hard.

I wish you all the luck in the world.

satii (80 posts) • +2

Michael, great post. Upvoted. I will continue reading once finished asking question here:

2-3K for live-in nanny??? How many years ago was this? Lol

Folks in the industry today claim market average is at least 6K for aforementioned live-in ayi in Kunming.

JanJal (1051 posts) • 0

@Liumingke1234: "wonder why would a single mother want to come all the way to China"

As a general notion (not necessarily relevant to OP), can think of two common reasons - expected employment opportunities and assumed cheaper cost of living (including the nanny thing).

In some rare cases, "no one here already as a support" may be a very reason as well - specifically if such support has failed one miserably (or worse) in their home country.

Haali (1154 posts) • +2

China is difficult enough for experienced childless travelers, let alone a single mother. Big respect for your guts to even consider this! ESL salaries have gone up recently but are still not high, probably 11-13k (about $1600-1850) a month for a full time job. You can expect to spend $1200-1400 a month on childcare, rent, food, and other bills. Yes you will probably have enough to survive but you are leaving a baby with someone you don't know very well (pretty scary in China if you know about the proclivity of people to take shortcuts). I think coming here would probably make a stressful situation more stressful. However, if you can get through the first couple of years and you always show up to work, you will get raises every year, and when your baby reaches or 3 (or close to 3) you can put him/her in kindergarten, which is only about 3000-5000 a month. By that time you should be earning 13-14k so you will be able to save a little money for the future. There are lots of knowledgeable people here who can help you.

Personinkunming (5 posts) • +2

Lots of helpful info from Michael2015.

For another perspective, we went against using an agency, preferring word of mouth. That way we found nannys who had worked for families for many years which we considered strong evidence of their good quality child care. I would trust this more than the word an agency who benefit financially from your business. You may end up with a personality difference, but they are likely to be pretty good at their job - unless the other foreign family are totally lying, and why would they?

From my research, 35/hour for non full time. About 3k per month for full time - 9-5 mon-fri type thing.

vicar (818 posts) • +1

Wait until your child is 3 or 4 then get them into a kinder school. I wouldn't advise bringing such a young child to China if you are working here for the first time. You will end up regretting it. In your circumsatnces, you really ought to check the place out firsthand before you commit to a job.

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