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Family Life and Childcare for Expats in Thailand

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: August 2014

Family life in Thailand

People in Thailand tend to have a family oriented, slower pace of life. It is quite common to see family members of three or more generations living together in the same home, especially in rural areas. Elder family members have the highest authority in the whole family.  Children are taught to respect their elders from an early age. They live with their parents, especially girls, until they get married.

Whilst it is common for families to live in houses, if you are living in Bangkok condos are more popular. Traditionally parents would go to work and Grandparents would help with taking care of the children and home.
However, family life in Thailand has changed over the past few decades with everything becoming more westernised. Family sizes have become smaller and divorce rates have risen.  Many Thai families consist of parents and no more than two children. Young couples may live far away from their parents and set up their own family in cities where there are more opportunities and better infrastructures. Solo living has also become more popular, especially in the larger cities.


Childcare in Thailand

When moving to Thailand with your children, finding a good childcare provider will be on the top of your to-do list. In Thailand, pre-school education is not mandatory. There are many childcare service providers in Thailand, especially in large cities where there are higher demands.

Some public schools offer childcare services in the form of kindergartens. A small fee is charged on administration and there may be some expenses for books and lunches. Private kindergartens or childcare centres are also available and prices differ between each provider depending on where they are. You should note the teaching language in these schools is Thai. Therefore, they may not be suitable for children with a different language background if they only intend to live in Thailand for a short period.

There are some bilingual nurseries, in which English is used as a second language in teaching. A general view is that the younger the child the more likely they are to settle in a foreign country, including learning languages.  Therefore, if you plan to stay for a long time, you may want to consider bringing your children to Thailand sooner rather than later. 

You may choose to send your children to international schools, which may offer similar preschool or nursery services as the services in your home country. These schools may only be available in the larger cities and could be difficult to find in rural areas. Costs of such schools are very high. You should except to pay tuition fees of no less than THB100,000 per term for a decent international school. 

You should check the availability of such providers before you choose a city to settle in Thailand and if they provide boarding option. There are normally long waiting lists for popular childcare providers. Therefore, it is advised that you find schools and contact them as early as possible, this can be done before you move to Thailand. You can find more information about international schools here: https://internationalschoolsbangkokthailand.org/

There are other childcare providers such as babysitters and nannies. Baby sitters are normally teenagers who temporarily care for children. There are many nannies in Thailand and some of them can provide bilingual services. You can find advertisements in local newspapers and websites. However, to avoid disappointment, it is suggested that you use an agency to find a proper provider.



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