Get the Best Out of Your Helper
Home help is a luxury. But it has to be managed, especially when it comes to our children. So we roped in an expert to help us help your helper. With 18 years of practice as a qualified nanny and consultant working alongside domestic helpers, Shona of Blue House International has the answers to some very important questions…
1. How do you encourage your helper to speak to your children in the way you want them to be spoken to?
Parents should lead by example, and become the best role model they can for the helpers. Domestic helpers come from different backgrounds and cultures and it is important that employers share their wishes in a very clear way as to how they would like their children to be raised. If you find that this is a problem it can be beneficial to sit down together, explain your concerns and provide alternative phrases and examples that they can use instead.
2. How do you ensure your helper is encouraging your children to play without interfering too much?
Helpers will often feel that they are not doing their job well if they are not always playing with your child and that they may even get into trouble. Some helpers will prefer to play, opposed to do the household chores! Parents must take the extra time and effort to role model and explain the importance of independent play, whilst ensuring that the helper still knows the importance of her role whilst playing with your child too. At Blue House we run play sessions and classes for helpers and children and the teachers act as role models and guides to support the interactions between helpers and child.
3. How do you encourage your helper to be firm on boundaries, but disciplined without excessive yelling or using negative language?
This is a tricky one, something that most parents are still trying to master themselves too! Once again, parents must take the lead, role model and set realistic boundaries so the helper feels comfortable. I would encourage all families to have regular meetings with their helper, it can really help to put your thoughts onto paper for your helper to review and reflect on afterwards. I have found that taking the extra time to educate and explain to helpers the importance of carrying through employers wishes, is truly beneficial and nine times out of ten, results in a happier helper, employer and of course child!
4. What issues have you come across with helpers and children and how do we best avoid them?
Over the past ten years of working alongside domestic helpers – the biggest issue I have found is language. Often helpers are super chatty with their friends, however they can be very quiet around young children and often do not talk to the children unless it’s to instruct them. There is very little chit chat, at nappy changing time or mealtimes for example.
If families can show their helpers how important it is to provide a language rich environment in order for their children’s language to develop at the right pace, it will make a huge difference. Try to give practical examples of what you are expecting- for example books, singing, story-telling and challenge your helper and yourself to master the art of the open ended question!
Want to know more? Blue House International hold play sessions ‘Discover with the Child in Your Care’ designed for helpers. Parents can also contact Shona directly, email@example.com to arrange workshops and training for domestic helpers.
This post was sponsored by Blue House International.