Print this page

Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or both working, leaving your child and entrusting its life to the hands of a complete stranger is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. I don’t know how many times I’ve been with new mothers in Hanoi and heard them complain that: “You just can’t get good help these days!”


Your Requirements vs Your Nanny


While expat families want a super nanny, they must understand that they come with a hefty price. A good nanny can cost anywhere from US$250 (VND5.6 million) to US$500 (VND11.2 million) a month. You have to be very clear about what you want from your nanny and make sure you have it in writing and that you both sign it.


You can find someone who is willing to look after the children, do the shopping, laundry, cooking and cleaning. Would you like your nanny to speak a certain language, have they taken a CPR course, are you sure they can manage in the event of a crisis? A very common trend now is for university-educated woman who speak English well to take on the role of a nanny because they will earn more as your help than taking on a job in their studied profession.


Also, check verifiable references. I’ve heard several stories of mothers who called the reference and discovered it to be a friend of the candidate or the candidate themselves using a different number. It’s perhaps safer to be able to speak face-to-face with a previous employer or find someone through word of mouth from a trusted source or another mother. Or else be very thorough with your background check.


Your Nanny’s Requirements


Again, this will all depend on your nanny and her experience. But with Tet now over, they expect a one month bonus, which is the equivalent of the year-end bonus for westerners. But then there is also a 13th -month bonus which is also the equivalent of one month, but for the entire year’s work, or at the end of a yearly contract. Plus a yearly salary increase of 5% to 10% and all the Vietnamese vacations off to spend with their family.


If your nanny is working full-time, she may expect full payment even when you are not in Vietnam (which isn’t her fault, and she is a full-time employee), during the weeks or months when you return home for the holidays. Some nannies are also not willing to do laundry or cleaning, and consider themselves as child carers not housekeepers.


Mother vs Nanny


There is also a risk you take with allowing someone else, namely your nanny, to raise your children. Your child could see the nanny as the help, have no respect for her and treat her terribly, as well as learn to manipulate her in every way possible. This means that your child grows up without the essential lessons of becoming a well-rounded individual. With no responsibility and not having to be accountable for their actions, your child could end up a spoilt brat.


On the opposite side, you could come home to a multilingual child, who now prefers to speak in Vietnamese at the dinner table, and only answers to the nanny. You risk losing those important years when your child is most susceptible to manners and etiquette and will mirror the person they spend most of their time with, the woman raising them, the woman they may consider to be their mother and may even call her that, the nanny. You could come home to a child who cries and will only be soothed by the nanny, the woman who has now become your full-time stand-in.


Finding the perfect fit for your family is not easy, so I wish you good luck. There are plenty of good and hardworking nannies out there. Just take your time to find her.


If you have any comments or queries, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.