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New helper....does not know anything about child care

  1. #1
    rs2000 is offline Registered User
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    New helper....does not know anything about child care

    Hi All,


    I have a 5 weeks old and my elder one is 4.5 years. our helper finally arrived 3 weeks back from philipines. she told us that she had worked 3 years in lebanon , caring for a family with 3 kids.

    now in terms of cleaning and general household stuff, she is fine, just slow. however when it comes to kids, she is miserable. She is very diligent and is doing something whole day, although i think she is quite slow and takes long time for things.

    For my baby, i dont expect her to handle anything for now. What I would expect her is to get my elder daughter rready for school, feed her, bring her back from school , play with her etc etc. The MAIN issue is that she is just like a robot. she would just say "...., eat your food..." "xyz!, get up for school"
    its juts a monotonous tone without any facial expression and obviously my kid never does what she says. in the begining my daughter would tell her what she did in school and other stuff, and my helper woule just say "ok..." with a plain face.
    i havent seen her smiling with my kid ever. she tries but I dont know whether those were human kids that she handles in lebanon. when it comes to baby care, she is worst. she has not idea but its fine as i dont plan to get her involved before another 3 months.

    Now what do you suggest I shall do. I have told her a few times about what my daughter likes..how can she tell her stories and also how to reply when she talks to the helper.....i have seen may be 5% improvement .,...but in the end, its me who has to do moist of my kids stuff...like 50% of the school prep, feeding her etc etc......i know my kid is obviously not a very easy kid to handle...but a robot can be a good friend of kids?

    please suggest how shall I train her up?do you think she can get better? changing her is'nt an easy option. I have paid 5-6k for all her expenses and insurance till now. and then i will have t pay another 5k to send her back.
    and with 2 kids, it would be a nightmare to wait for the next one (who noone knows will be better ?)

    i am just frustrated.........and finding ways to make the situation better...btw she is good at cleaning, laundry and anything which is simple, repititive and mechanical. cooking, childcare are hers worst skills.........

  2. #2
    ssheng is offline Registered User
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    First off, try to relax, because at 5 weeks post partum, you are likely also suffering from being overwhelmed and cooped up while you are in recovery. In some ways timing is the real issue here - your new helper arrived just as you returned from the hospital, and is just getting to know you and your family while you are in a brand new situation yourself with a newborn.

    She has only been with you for a few weeks, again, a few potentially chaotic weeks with a new baby in the house, and her entirely new to Hong Kong with probably no friends, so there is plenty of time to train her and integrate her into your family. Try to remind yourself of what she is there to do - not to be another version of you, but to help you, and therefore of course she will not do anything relating to your children better than you at the moment.

    So, as for practical advice, I would first try to look at your life and routine and identify a specific element you can train her to be good at and start there. Once that is mastered, you move on to the next, and so on and so forth. It is a long term relationship, so don't feel stressed to have her learn everything at once, especially since that hasn't worked so far. Her cleaning is fine, so you don't have to worry about that, but you mention cooking, school preparation, feeding your daughter and playing. I would say cooking should be your last priority for now - just let her prepare simple foods right now. Perhaps this week you can just focus on getting your daughter ready for school and the routine you like. You and your helper can get your daughter ready together, and you show your daughter through your firm hand that she needs to listen to your helper. Like, she tells your daughter to get up, but you are there too, and if your daughter doesn't listen, you show your helper how firmly you want her to rouse her, etc. (Btw, I am just speculating here, my toddler isn't of that age yet, so not sure how a morning routine with a 4.5 year old would work). Once she can do that, then you move on to feeding, then playtime, etc.

    The thing is, your helper might not BE that happy yet, which is why she isn't able to smile. We sometimes forget because of the cultural barriers that helpers have feelings just like we do and how scary it would be to be away from home, knowing it is for a few years, and be thrust into a household that is very different from your own. Plus, who knows what her past employers were like - in the middle east sometimes they have multiple helpers per family who have different assignments, and maybe she was only asked to clean, not play with the kids. Or maybe they didn't like her to show too much emotion and disappear into the background. Or maybe she just thought that was what she was supposed to do...hard to tell. Point is, you WILL be able to help her learn your routine and expectations over time, just give yourself a break and take it slow. Good luck with your new baby!

  3. #3
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    i would start slow with her - adding more responsibilities as she moves on. probation is normally 3 months, and i am guessing she is probably still adjusting to work in hk. as long as she is willing to learn, then you will be fine in the long run. you are probably overwhelmed with everything now - take a deep breath, step back and for now...let some things slide. at 4.5yrs old, i am sure your daughter will be able to tell her what she'd like for her meals - and as long as your daughter is satisfied in that arena now, i'd be OK with it. maybe teach her a few simple dishes and give her a list of things that work wonders with your daughter - so that she doesn't have to take the time to figure out what kind of things work / don't work with your daughter. then once they have developed a bond, things will become more smooth. take it easy on yourself. good luck!

  4. #4
    mariaindb is offline Registered User
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    Remember also that your helper arrived at a very critical moment in your elder daughter's life. You're just home with a new baby and your elder daughter is probably very jealous and needs to adjust to that situation. (This took a few months with our son!) With your new helper arriving in the middle of all that, don't expect your daughter to listen to this new person too easily!

  5. #5
    balletangel is offline Registered User
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    I totally understand what you've been through because I am in a similar situation with a new maid started work about one month ago. I have a 4 yrs old and a 18 mths old children and the maid claimed she has experience taking care children in Malaysia and Abu Dhab for the past 4 yrs. She even as a 18 mths which I trust her with tons of experience with kids and turns out that she got NONE whatsoever. She can manage very very simple English, do not know how to sing nursery rhyme nor play with the children. And yes, just like a robot, if you failed to give her orders in full details (even so, still need to repeat few times before she can pick up the message), definitely screw BIG TIME. This is the 3rd maid in 4 years and I doubt there are any decent maids out there in the market.

  6. #6
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Can you afford to send her for training? There are courses conducted by Matilda for example for helpers.

    Give her some time. She's probably missing home and less smiley? If it's their first time in HK and they don't really know anyone, I think they find it very daunting. Within one week of employment, we always drop off a new helper at a church that we are familiar with (but do not attend) where the bulk of the congregation is Filipino. If they are unfamiliar with the area, we pick them up at the end of the day. I find that they come back happier and the weeks progresses better. We do it several Sundays until they are confident.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  7. #7
    rs2000 is offline Registered User
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    thanks all

    i dont know if she will improve or not
    i do understand the jealpusy part and have realized my elder kid has become more stubborn lately...but it has been 3 weeks or more, and i havent seen her improving a bit...despite me telling her again n again
    i thought about the courses but they are quite expensive and the worst case migh be that she does not learn something at all.......are there any cheaper courses available for helpers anywhere........
    i just hope things improve...i have got too much to handle right now

    thanks again everyone

  8. #8
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    You've got to give this woman a break. She's not a professional English nanny with a degree in child education.
    She's a Filipina migrant worker who is being paid US $500 a month to be a maid. She's new in the country, has only been on the job for 3 weeks, and has had almost no training to how you want things. She must have started just after you gave birth.
    The fact that she works all day, and does all the cleaning and housework, and some childcare -- that's a good start.
    It doesn't sound like there are any fire-able offenses -- sounds like she's not lazy, dishonest, stealing, or abusive / negligent with your child.
    What you're demanding is an instant emotional bond with your child -- and that's tough.
    If the kid is jealous / difficult, or if there's been a change in household (like a new baby, exhausted mom and a stranger in the house), it's hard getting a child to like and trust you instantly.
    You don't know what her last employer was like. There are many Asian / Middle Eastern parents who WANT their maids to be robotic and keep their heads down. I've seen families where parents let the kids yell at or even hit maids. I've also seen families where the parents don't want the child to bond with the maid, and get angry when the maid shows affection.
    I'm not saying that you're like that -- but God knows what her past training was.
    3 weeks is not long at all.
    Like SSheng said, sometimes we forget that helpers are people, too. She might be overwhelmed by the move and the workload, or terrified of doing something wrong. Some people are just naturally more shy or slower to open up. Give her some time. And good luck!

    PS. Since the issues seems to be personality / bonding, I don't know if a course would help. Sounds like you need her around the house all day anyway, since you have a newborn.

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