Traditionally, Indian families hire full-time domestic staff to help with household chores and child minding. For this reason, day care centers in India are not as prevalent as they are in western countries. But the concept of day care is growing, and new centers have recently opened in Mumbai.* The schools mentioned below are more like playgroups or preschools. They have established reputations and offer your child a place to learn and grow in the company of other children.
The majority of these schools operate two 2-hour sessions per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Day care fees vary from school to school and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. (Centers in expensive neighborhoods naturally have higher fees.) Overall, prices are lower than in western countries, ranging from Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 60,000 per year.
It is recommended to enroll your child in a play group several months in advance to avoid being put on a waiting list.
Sunflower Nursery School
36 Ridge Road, Malabar Hill
Phone: 2361 5817
For children 15 months to five years old. Activities such as gardening, cooking, swimming, reading, and sports. Play areas for younger babies. Conducted in English.
The Tree House
A franchise with various locations; See website
Phone: 6451 2384
English-speaking playgroup for children 1.5 – 2.5 years old. Session is two hours long. Pre-school for older children.
Kangaroo Kids Education
Various locations; See website
Phone: 2655 6950
English-speaking toddler playgroup for babies 10 months to 1 year and four months. Jungle gyms, story telling, puppets, etc.
A franchise with various locations; See website
Phone: 022 61565656
English-speaking PlayGroup program for toddlers age 1.8 to 2.5 years. Educational singing, dancing, painting and crafts give structure to the day. There is also play time both indoors and outdoors in a closed area.
*It is important to note that there is no overseeing committee to regulate the safety and standards of day care in India. Therefore, thoroughly research a day care center before enrolling your child.
Partially due to the newness of day care centers, but mostly due to the availability of affordable staff, most expats with children hire a nanny. Called “ayahs” in Hindi, these nannies primarily look after children and may also assist with household chores. Depending on English speaking skills, previous salary, and prior experience with expat families, monthly salaries range from Rs. 6,000 – Rs. 10,000 for a full-time (8 hours a day, 5 days a week), live-out nanny. Live-in nannies are not the norm, since nannies normally have families of their own to attend to, though there are some available. Salaries for live-in nannies are less because their housing costs are covered. Nannies, like drivers and maids, are paid “under the table.”
Finding a Nanny
The first place to ask would be at one of the mother-toddler groups mentioned below. With expat families constantly coming and going, there is almost always a nanny about to be unemployed because her employer is leaving Mumbai. Ask around for recommendations. You can also try one of the following agencies:
Regina Pacis Convent (Byculla)
Phone: 2372 5311 or 2370 9904
Regina Pacis Convent places young girls from rural parts of India in Mumbai homes as live-in maids. The convent trains the girls for two weeks before they begin working. The girls are usually in their late teens or early twenties and speak Hindi. They are reliable, but young and therefore inexperienced. Lack of English skills is a downside. However, if you want a live-in maid and are willing to be patient, this is a viable option.
S K Enterprises Agency
Phone: 2674 1812 or 2294 0218 or 2674 2719
S K Enterprises Agency can help you find English speaking maids, nannies, and cooks as well as drivers.
T R Manpower Services
Phone: 2300 2491 or 2300 1230
T R Manpower Services recruits cooks, cleaners, maids, nannies, drivers.
Hopping Bunnies gathers every week for a play group at a member’s apartment and can provide a network of other moms and playmates for your tiny tots. Play groups are divided according the year your child was born. A meeting typically has about 10 mothers and children in attendance. Light refreshments and the chance to chat for the parents; opportunity to play with other kids in a different environment (with different toys!) for the kids. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information and to join.
Mumbai Mums Support Group
Mumbai Mums, run by American Women’s Club, is for mothers of all nationalities with babies up to 12 months old. Expectant mothers are also welcome. Meetings take place on the first Wednesday of each month, with members taking turns hosting the meetings. Babies are weighed and measured, and advice is available on issues such as feeding, weaning, introducing solids, and sleep problems. There is a lending library containing books on issues related to pregnancy and childbirth. Mumbai Mums also gives information on having a baby in India, hospitals, doctors, and pediatricians. Contact email@example.com.