Sun Xiuqin, a 44-year-old woman from northeastern Heilongjiang province came to Beijing in 2008 with her daughter, who is a university student in the city. She was trained to become a high-end nanny at a local housekeeping company in November last year and now works for a family with a Chinese wife and a European husband. She takes care of their two-year-old son. Her daily work schedule is as follows:
6 am to 6:30 am
Sun gets up at 6 am almost every day and has some bread or steamed buns and a cup of milk for breakfast, before the boy gets up.
6:30 am to 8:30 am
The boy that Sun takes care of is usually up no later than 6: 40 am every day and before then Sun must prepared his bottle of milk. After feeding the boy, Sun plays with him and helps him stand near the windows to look outside. This day a plane flies through the sky, exciting the boy. Sun tells him what it is.
"He can understand what I say and remember it," Sun said. "I talk with him continuously to give him as much information as I can."
8:30 am to 12:30 am
It is time to give the baby snacks, often fruit or some cookies.
Sun brings the boy to the garden downstairs because an expert told Sun that children should get at least two hours of outdoor activity every day, giving them a good dose of sunshine and fresh air. This day, Sun tells him stories about animals, which she learned from a children's book several days before. The boy shows interest in the stories.
11:30 am to 12 noon
They come back at 11: 30 am for the boy's lunchtime. The parents gave a special recipe to Sun, involving mashed vegetables, meat and fish. Sun makes the food and feeds it to the toddler. Sun learned through her training course that little children should eat an egg every day, but this boy is hypersensitive to eggs and he cannot eat anything with it, including some kinds of bread and biscuits. Sun needs to check the ingredients of everything before feeding it to him to make sure there is no egg in it.
12 noon to 2:30 pm
The boy has an afternoon nap during which Sun picks up all his toys he has scattered around the house and then also takes a rest.
2:30 pm to 6 pm
The boy gets up at 2:30 pm and has a bottle of milk. They spend the whole afternoon playing. Sun sings some children's songs to the boy and then plays a puzzle game with him that helps him learn words.
The boy enjoys the game and learns words quickly from it, to the amazement of his mother.
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
It's dinner time for the boy and he wants to feed himself. His parents allow him to because they think it is an opportunity for him to learn independence. But this day the two-year old can't handle his cutlery properly and his vegetables end up everywhere. Sun cleans up.
"Many Western parents like to encourage their children to do things on their own," said Sun. "Although it makes more work for me at dinner time, it's a good idea."
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
The boy has a bath and gets a massage from Sun. The boy goes to bed before 9 pm, after which Sun packs up his toys and washes his clothes. She often doesn't get to bed until 10 pm.
"Although I am tired, it is still a good job for me because I love children," said Sun. "Most importantly, I earn enough money to support my daughter's college education."
- China Daily/Asia News Network