Maid to order

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am


More and more domestic helpers are becoming substitute parents during the day. Rehana Sheikh, an instructor at YWCA, and Jackie Chan Hiu-yeung, a psychologist at the Hong Kong Psychological Counselling Centre, offer a few tips to employers who plan to involve their maids in parenting duties.

Look for a helper with experience in parenting, preferably one who has taken care of her own children or siblings.

Make the most of the interview with the helper. Make sure her temperament and values would be a good fit for your family. Have your children around you and watch how she interacts with them. Ask her if her employer wasn't there how she would manage the children. Tell her what you want and don't want and observe her reaction.

Be sure that your helper is aware of your approach to parenting.

Involve your helper when you teach your child. Direct coaching on a continuous basis can be useful, too, provided your helper is willing to be involved in parenting.

Be realistic in your expectations. Don't expect the helper to do everything. Prioritise the tasks you want her to complete.

Help the helper connect with the child. Let her know what makes your children tick.

Make a list of dos and don'ts and put it up where both the child and helpers can see. Let the child know it is his mother who is telling him to do the tasks.

Seek professional help when necessary.