Thursday January 3, 2013
Many parents prefer domestic helpers over daycare centres to mind kids
By YVONNE LIM
PETALING JAYA: Most parents would rather have maids than send their young children to daycare centres, as it is more convenient having a domestic helper.
Lawyer Andy Goh chose to have a maid to look after his two children while he and his wife Sharon, a bank manager, went to work because it was a hassle to have to comply with daycare centres’ drop-off and pick-up times.
“Having a stay-in maid costs more but it is a lot more convenient.
“Due to our hectic work schedules, it is very difficult for my wife and I to send our kids over to a daycare early in the morning before going to work, and rush through traffic jams in the evening to pick them up at a time set by the centre.
“We also feel it’s better that our children go home after school, where they can have home-cooked meals,” said Goh, 43, who has a son Aaron, eight, and daughter Aster, five.
His Filipina maid is paid about RM1,000 a month.
Christina Magat, a mother of two boys, said she opted to have a domestic helper from Cambodia for the same reason.
“When my eldest son Jerome was young, we sent him to a daycare centre for a while but had to take him out as my husband and I found it very difficult to reach the centre on time to pick him up at 6pm in the evening.
“After having a stay-in maid, not only did we not have to rush home all the time, she could also help to cook and clean the house,” said Magat, 43, a marketing manager.
However, both parents agreed that hiring a maid also meant that they risked leaving their young ones alone at home all day with a stranger.
Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia vice-president P.H. Wong said daycare centres also offered nurturing by trained childminders, a service many maids could not provide.
“It might be more convenient to have a maid at home but daycare centres are equipped with trained staff who can teach, read and do activities with them.
“The children also learn to interact with other children in the centre.
“These are important, especially during the first few developing years of a child’s life,” she said.
A recent check showed that daycare centres in the Klang Valley which provided pre-school education charged about RM1,600 per month, while others in the area charged a monthly fee of about RM500.
Wong also said sending children to daycare centres also allowed parents to spend more time with their young ones.
“Without a maid at home to cook and clean for them, parents will get their children to help them with household chores and take time to teach them things, such as cooking,” she said.
Meanwhile, it was reported that nursery fees in Selangor would soon be increased in line with the minimum RM900 monthly wage set by the authorities.
Selangor Nursery Association president Mahanom Basri said the increase was inevitable because of the additional burden incurred when the minimum wage for workers was implemented.