No two families are the same, no matter which nationality, religion or parenting style they belong to. Their needs can be different from one family to the next depending on the size of their home, how many children and the amount of responsibility they need taking on. Working closely with a family in their own home, means that not one job is the same as another and there always needs to be a degree of flexibility from both parties.
Here are 10 things your maid/nanny might like you to know:
1). It’s hard to take care of the kids and clean the whole house from top to bottom in the same day
– If the baby is sleeping and/or the kids are at nursery/school this is the perfect time for household chores to be completed. However, with all the day-to-day duties, perhaps food shopping or school pick-ups included, it’s important to be realistic about how much time it takes to clean properly and the priority should always be on looking after the kids.
2). Allow me to teach your kids what is right and wrong
– Manners start at home. Children need to learn and respect boundaries from within their home environment. It is not just the job of the teacher or parent to raise children with morals and respect towards others; it’s also the carer’s responsibility. Most unwanted behaviour occurs during the daily routine, when siblings squabble on the way home from school or fighting at the dinner table. The best way to enforce discipline (not punishment) is to correct the behaviour immediately after it happens. This is why the childcarer, with your guidance and instruction, should be entitled to follow through with your behaviour management approach.
3). Please support me to support you. If you speak to me in a bad manner in front of the children, they will learn to speak to me in the same way
– It’s important for children to treat others as they wish to be treated. This is part of the important life skills that children need in order to grow up and become responsible, emotionally intelligent and successful human beings. Children are quick learners so if you need to have a stern conversation with your maid/nanny, do it when the children are not present. More importantly, find a way to talk openly and honestly with your maid/nanny in a professional and courteous manner. If you’ve spoken to her, given a fair opportunity to improve and still you’re not happy with her performance or with something she has done, you can seek advice from the maid agency or the labour department about terminating her position for replacement.
4). If I make a mistake, please show me the correct way or provide me with the tools or training in order to learn better
– Mistakes happen (so they say!). Lack of communication, language barriers and shortened attention spans due to fatigue are usually the main factors that lead towards a domestic-related breakdown. However, making mistakes related to children’s safety and health is not one worth chancing, which is why proper communication is so important. It’s frustrating to explain something over and over again but perhaps writing down an instruction may be more effective. Everybody deserves the chance to learn and ask questions no matter which field they work in. Often maids/nannies feel too embarrassed or shy to ask for help or for an instruction to be repeated. Our Nanny Training program may be all that’s required to settle these concerns and build sufficient skills in order to perform their job in-line with your expectations.
5). Raising your children is not entirely my responsibility
– There are many reasons why parents decide to hire a nanny to help care for their children. Ultimately, an extra pair of hands can be very useful for any working or expat parent that lives miles away from their own family support. Parenting is one of the most challenging and enduring times of your life but also the most crucial and rewarding. There is no such thing as a perfect parent or family and expert advice is just a click or phone call away. It‘s not embarrassing or shameful to admit that you are struggling and don’t know what to do, most parents are actually in the same boat. So don’t give up and allow somebody else to raise your children, take responsibility as the parent while allowing others to support you. When mistakes arise, take ownership as the guardian and employer in the house, you have choices.
6). I’m not trying to make your child love me more than you
– It’s natural for children to form a close bond with the adult they spend a lot of time with and the person who provides a big amount of emotional and physical support. However, there is nothing more powerful than the maternal connection between mother and child. Many parents worry that their child will not love them as much if they hire a full-time nanny but that’s not necessarily the case. As a parent, you must spend as much time as you can with your children and continuously work on strengthening the relationship. There should not be a power struggle between who is more important or who is right or wrong, there is ‘parent’ and there is ‘nanny’. These two roles play a huge part in the upbringing of your children and you need to work together as a team, in harmony and both support each other to do your best.
7). Sometimes I feel like a machine
– It’s necessary for everybody to take sufficient time off to recuperate so they can come back to work recovered and fresh to start the day/week, especially those that work with children. Allow time for your child carer to have lunch and look after her own health and hygiene. If live-in, she should also be allowed to leave the house at least once every week to meet family and friends. If she feels valued and happy with her life, this will reflect in her work.
8). I find it difficult to talk to my employer
– Try to be approachable. Even if you’ve had a stressful day, there may be something important your maid/nanny needs to tell you about your child. In order to avoid potential mistakes, take the time to make sure your maid/nanny has fully understood what you said and make sure she feels comfortable to ask you questions at any time. You can also set scheduled meetings so that she knows when to approach you about certain matters and you’re not both messaging back and forth or distracting each other when you are supposed to be doing other things.
9). It would be really helpful to get feedback from my employers from time to time so I know if I’m doing a good job
– You can build a professional and mutually respected relationship with your maid/nanny by monitoring her job performance and providing regular feedback. It’s the same in any profession, when your employee feels valued, motivated and positively criticised they can improve and are more likely to stay in their role for longer. Shouting at, undermining or avoiding communication will have all the opposite effects and your maid/nanny will not last long and their attitude will suffer. Don’t forget, a kind word, a thank you and a sign of appreciation speaks volumes, not everybody is driven by money.
10). I’d like to feel included in the family
– It can be strange to have somebody in your home that isn’t from the same culture as you or speaks a different language. There will always be unusual or annoying habits that you don’t like and vice versa. Regardless of the differences, you share something in common which is to help keep a happy home with cared-for children. By showing to your children an inclusive approach towards your maid/nanny, they will learn to make friends more easily and respect people who look or talk differently to them. Invite your maid/nanny to join you on family holidays, celebrations and events, it would mean a lot to her. After all, your family is also her family now.
By Angelica Robinson – Professional Nanny Trainer