Nursery school for 1-year-old baby

Dear All,

I am moving to Shanghai this July. My company will sponsor housing. My wife is expected to give birth to our first baby in Sep 2019. I would like to send our baby to nursery school when he is 1 year old. I would really appreciate if you could share some school for expats' kids in Shanghai center area so I could consider locations for housing. My company is located in Hongkou, both metro lines 12 and 4 are good. Ideally, the school should start to teach in English when the baby starts to speak, additional Chinese doesn't harm.

Will it be realistic to estimate the living cost of a family of 3 to be about 8,000RMB/month? Excluding housing and nursery school? Thanks a lot.

Thanks a lot,

I really do not know where to begin.

First of all congratulations.

Secondly, I guess that I was really shocked to read that you plan to out-source the care of your baby at one-year-old. This is common in the West where both couples need to work to maintain their car payments and housing rent. However, it's pretty unusual in China.

They do have them. Of course. Though, if you have seen what I have seen about Ai-ye misuse and attention of the baby, you wouldn't let any one within ten miles of your kids.

Most of China is traditional-conservative. Which means that the woman stays home and handles the budget, the domestic chores, and supports the family. The man supports the family financially.

Contemporaneously, in China, the wife ONLY goes to work when there is a family member in the house caring for the children. This task usually falls upon the grandparents. They typically move in with you and care for the child. This continues until the child is old enough to go to school. This is usually at age 6 or 7.

In lieu of that, you can rent a nanny to care for your baby at the house. This is common with many Chinese who don't have grandparents able to stand in, and the wife must work. The nanny would care for the child and make dinner and clean, etc. You can put a wanted ad in this form if that is what you would like. Though you do need to be careful.

I would advise that if you could arrange it, have your wife take care of the child until they are old enough to attend school. This system worked quite well In the United States. At least up into the 1980's when the monetary value of one USD fell below 15 cents. Now it is some where around one half a penny,

So both parents need to work... in the USA.

Not true in China, though. If you plan your life properly, you can maintain a very functional household and your children will benefit immensely.

I look at this as an excellent opportunity to start a new family, in a new place under new rules and ways of doing things. But that is just me, and I am very old-fashioned.

Here are your options rated from most expensive to cheapest.

[1] Outsource the care, and raising of your child to a day care.
[2] Outsource the care and raising of your child to a live-in nanny.
[3] Bring your parents over, and have them live with you and take care of the child.
[4] Your wife stays home and takes on a traditional housewife role and raises the child yourselves.

Everyone is different, and it is up to you to decide what is best for your child. I would offer to say that you do not know what things are going to be like for you in a year from now. Especially after you have lived in China for a spell. You might be surprised how your points of view on things have changed and migrated.

This entire issue is a very important one because what you are talking about is how to structure your family while you are in China. This is not something that should be taken lightly. It should be something that is planned.

The funny thing is that I have a blog post that I just wrote last week on this very subject. Who would figure? It's titledThe two fundamental types of families and how they work. I suggest you take a read. It might help give you some insight in how to run your family while you are in China.

Best Regards, and again congratulations.

Dear Vannrox,

Thanks a lot. I am very impressed by your detail response. Quite surprised actually. Cause in Vietnam, which share many similar cultural aspects with China and also where I am living now, it's quite popular to send kids to school from 15 months old due to several reasons. First of all, most grandparents don't live with children because our generations leave to more urban cities. Second of all, many nannies are not really trustworthy and kids can learn better in school (even with whatever teachers teach those 15-month olds like singing, speaking, exercising sleeping, etc.).

I went through some kindergarten, nursery websites. Because most of them are English and high-class, the cost is extremely high, up to about 200,000 yuan annually for the fullday scheme.

My motivation to find nursery/daycare is not to ask my wife to go to work cause she is a medical doctor and it will take time to convert the license. We just wish that she could find some short-term course in hospitals or medical schools to study. If you are aware of such programs or places offering that, please kindly advise me. Thanks again.


I just wish you the best.

What ever works for you will be fine. I asked some of the people who work for me and they advised that you can probably find a nanny to look after your child for you, but to be very wary.  There are good ones and bad ones. When looking for a nanny you get what you pay for. So do not expect to get one cheaply and expect first class care for your child.

Yes, Vietnam and Southern China share some similar cultural aspects.  That being said, if you are moving to Shanghai then keep in mind that you will be moving to a Western city. You could, for that matter, move to London or New York. The experience would be the same. It would not be a typical Chinese experience.

In China, it is very common to have the grandparents care for the children. In fact, I can comfortably say that of the four girls in my office, all of them have grandparents watching the children while they are at work. Of the men that I asked, they told me that that the grandparents watched the kids up until they were in elementary school , or shuttled back and forth between siblings houses to watch the children.

You will discover this when you arrive.

Just carefully vet whomever you entrust your child to care for. Be wary and cautious. Best Regards.

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