Even though I am not a child expert, I know that children can be very sensitive to change especially when the change involves a new person coming into their private space. Some kids instantly warm up to the person and sometimes become too clingy, while some immediately erect an invisible wall that totally blocks out any form of interaction. For younger kids, all they might need is a gradual transition which can be done by talking to them, after which they warm up to the person. Sometimes, the ease at which they adjust also largely depends on how they feel in the presence of the new person. Is the person friendly? warm? e.t.c.
When hiring a new maid, many parents often leave out their kids in the decision-making process. They assume that the kids should naturally adjust to anyone that is hired. It is not the case many times, and so the result is having kids who frequently have confrontations with the maid, which may lead to other things; sometimes scary. We have seen cases of kidnap of children by the maid to get back at their employers, sexual, physical and verbal abuse, poisoning, infection and so on.
It has become important that we adequately prepare our children for the maid experience. We underestimate what our children know and what they have the capacity to learn, and in trying to preserve or protect their innocence, we leave out things they should be aware of and miss out on the opportunity of being informed. For one week, I highlighted ways we could prepare them on my instagram , but I thought it would also be helpful to make a post for easy access and reading.
Find below a few ways we can prepare our kids for the new maid.
- We should point out to the parts of their bodies that are out-of-bounds to strangers. Strangers meaning anyone who is not their mom or dad.
- They should be aware that they should not sit on the laps of the opposite sex. Boys should not sit on the maid’s laps while girls should not sit on the male help’s laps.
- They should be aware that they should not go into the room or bathroom of the maid without knocking and receiving a response, so as not to run into her naked.
- We should periodically inspect our children’s bodies and ask questions. Do you feel pain here? Did anybody beat you?
- They should not share toothbrush or cutlery with the maid, whether hers or theirs.
- Install cameras if child is still an infant or non-communicating toddler.
- We should teach them that the maid is your employee not theirs. They are not permitted to communicate with her the same way you do as her employer.
- Explain to them the job of the maid and the benefits her job serves in the home. She is not a slave but someone who is solving a problem.
- Tell them from the beginning how they should refer to her. e.g. Aunt, Miss/Mrs or First name basis. Above all, it should be with respect.
- Teach them top look out for one another and other kids also. The older ones should protect the younger ones in the event of anything in your absence.
- Identify a distance that should not be crossed without you being present or expressly giving your permission. This would keep them aware and help them know when to raise an alarm.
- Plan for a means to communicate with them outside the maid’s phone. Put your number or another person’s on speed dial so they do not have to try to remember in case of an emergency.
- Teach them to listen to their instincts. Many children have instinctive feelings, but is usually downplayed by parents. It may come sometimes in form of a pain that will hinder you from doing something or going somewhere, or they just cry non-stop. Teach them to be self-aware and communicate when they don’t just feel good about something.
- Ask your neighbor/s to help look out for them.
- No one should go out with the maid on errands except they are permitted.
- Teach them that God is with them everywhere and at every time. Even when their parents are not there physically to protect them, God always does.
- Teach them a phrase or recitation that boosts their confidence in God.
With these few points of mine, I hope I have been able to enlighten you on the importance of preparing our kids for the new maid. Preparation always keeps you one step ahead, One way to adequately prepare is to think backwards; assume everything that could go wrong and work out ways to prevent them from happening.
Are there ways you helped/or intend helping your kids prepare for the new maid not mentioned here? Kindly drop a comment to let us know. Thank you.
Your Maid Whisperer.
Picture Credit: Beyond Black and White
Wow! I can’t believe i’m just discovering your blog. Its a really helpful write-up you have here. I’m about hiring a new help and i’ve been losing sleep over how my kids would take the exit of my current maid, cos she is like family to them. She’s been with us since shortly after i had my 1st and they don’t even know she isn’t part of the family.
Thank you so much for reading. I am glad you eventually found me.You could try to start to look for a new maid while the old one is till around and have her come to spend so time with her and the kids. So that the kids can have time to warm up to her before their current nanny who they feel safe with leaves.