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Helper or childcare/playgroup

  1. #1
    sannie is offline Registered User
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    Paris, France
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    Helper or childcare/playgroup

    I realised that there seems to be a lack of childcare where babies/young toddlers can go to without an adult staying with them. I am not keen on a helper being the sole caregiver given the horror stories I've heard and what I have seen of the care (in playgrounds etc). Moreover, these helpers are not trained professionals in childcare/childhood development. I had a balance of both when I worked here in France, DD is taken care of in the mornings by a nanny and then after she has her lunch, the nanny takes her to the daycare where she takes her nap and then do lots of activities in the center (painting, edible dough, colouring, crafts, story time, outdoor play etc). She started at 7mths when it was more just playing with the different toys etc to really benefiting from the activities around 1ish year old. She did however made her first hand printing art at 9mths in the center.

    When we get to HK, my DD will go to school but I have number 2 DS to worry about. He will be about 6mths old. Is there any options aside from a helper if I work? Is there a possibility of doing what I did with DD, have a nanny come in the morning (or even keep a helper for it) and then send DS to a daycare/playgroup/childcare center in the afternoons? I would like one where the carer:child ratio is max at 1:5 and the carers are trained professionals. Here in France, they have to go through at least 1 year in training/school. And if this does not exist, can you tell me your personal experience with helpers being sole caregivers in the day and how you manage them.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    LeahH is offline Registered User
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    At 7 months when I went back to work I didn't consider daycare options - they are very hard to come by here, particularly if you are looking for English speaking staff. I preferred the stability of having her at home with a full time helper, plus a part timer to assist with walking the dog and housework.

    I specifically wanted two people in her life, as opposed to a sole care giver, in order to provide variety and avoid the TV becoming a babysitter while the chores got done.

    Neither have formal childcare qualifications but one has a young daughter herself so has as much experience as me. When I nannied in Europe, my work history was only a younger sister!

    I put a lot of store in how I see them interact with my daughter, they take time to play games with her (just for fun or more focused activities to aid development) and I am always being told by friends they see them out having a lot of fun.

    They take her to play-groups in our building with other helpers (allowing everyone time to socialize), the park with the dog or places like Wisekids or Playtown (commercial indoor play facilities). My husband and I do a couple of other classes with her when we can during the week (Mygym, swimming etc.).

    You will hear horror stories, but given how many people have helpers in HK, they can't outweigh the positive experiences.

    You definitely need to take time finding the ideal person for your family and getting the balance of care right, but it's worked out very well for us.

  3. #3
    Matty is offline Registered User
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    You can have a professional expat Nanny here, fulltime partime whatever, but of course it is a lot more expensive.
    Try www.rent-a-mum.com

    Having said that, even though there are horror stories regarding helpers, there are also some fanstastic ones.
    Ours is amazing. She is a parent herself, and sometimes i think she has more patience and does a better job than me!
    It is obvious that she genuinely loves my 2yr and 6 mth olds.
    it is quite common here for helpers to take your child to playgroups and activities.

    If you take the time to find the right helper for your family they really are amazing.
    Last edited by Matty; 12-19-2008 at 08:19 AM.

  4. #4
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    our helper, too, is fantastic with our kids...as a matter of fact, i spent the first three days of our family vacation listening to, "i want to go home! i miss yaya!"

    (yaya means nanny in tagalog)

  5. #5
    mumofone is offline Registered User
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    Helper or childcare/playgroup

    I also have a fantastic helper who also probably has more patience than I do sometimes. She loves my two girls and I have been happy to send her along to playgroups when I cannot attend myself. I work freelance for a relocation company so on a day I am working I direct her as to ideas for playing that day - perhaps on the beach, indoor playarea, painting, playdough or playdates with other friends. Even biscuit/cake decorating. She is also a very good cook and has managed to get my children to eat things I have never managed to do. I would be lost without her.

    There are nanny's around - http://www.thenannyexperts.com/00-main.html or indeed rentamum and some nanny's advertise on various other chat forums.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    my helper is also my patience reminder... when i am running low, i can call her and she steps in so that i can catch a breath and count to 100!

    she, too, is a fantastic cook. she also does baking with the kids when i ask her. she is often down on the floor playing with the kids, but she also has them help her do the chores around the house... the kids have a great time vacuuming, mopping, moving furniture and dusting, although i think it takes her much longer to complete everything with their "help"!

  7. #7
    sannie is offline Registered User
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    I know it is possible to find a good helper, my sister in Singapore has one who has been with her for 5 years and is a true gem. I truly hope I can find a good one too. I guess maybe I have some insecurities too with having my children cared for over so many hours a day by the same person and that person is not me. Then again, having been a SAHM for some time, I know it does not make me a happy person to be with my kid 24/7. I need and crave for a separate identity from being just a mum. Hence the decision to even move to HK.
    I guess I could work out something between baby going for playgroups (to interact and socialise) and having another part-time nanny to do stuff with.

  8. #8
    sherwes is offline Registered User
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    When I went back to work my son was 8 months old and I hired a Western nanny who held the relevant professional qualification but had no children of her own. After a few months I switched to a helper who had raised 3 children of her own (to teenage years) before moving to HK for work.

    I did like the Western nanny however I am much happier with the helper. She knows a lot having raised her own children and is very safety conscious. She is also quite grandmotherly and I can tell she really loves her time with my son. In contrast I felt that the Western nanny was a little bored looking after a baby rather than more "fun" older children.

    It's about finding the right person to care for your child while you are not there. The right person might be a qualified nanny or a helper depending upon the experience and personal attributes of the particular person.

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