If you have an Instagram account, you may have already come across one too many posts by different individuals lamenting about the summer break. The summer break is the long holiday, mostly taken by schools which usually has the kids at home for 8-10 weeks. From what I have seen on social media the past three weeks, it has become many parents nightmare.
It is usually accompanied by kids who are consistently hungry, bored and in want of play and adventure and a home that is always upside down. Typically, it should be a time of rest and recreation for the kids and for parents to bond with the children. But because many parents still have to work during this period, as no organization gives summer break, parents try to enroll their children in summer school activities; arts and craft, baking/cooking, swimming, coding class and so many other activities.
For many parents however, especially those who have three or more kids, enrolling the kids in these activities require that they part with so much money. Many of these activities cost between N15,000 (Fifteen thousand Naira) to N25,000 (Twenty five thousand Naira). So now more than ever and combined with what the economy is today, parents are looking for the most affordable, most convenient and easiest way to navigate these 8-10 weeks.
If you are a parent who falls into the category, your go-to option will most likely be leaving the kids at home with your maid or nanny pending when you figure something out later during the holiday. From my personal research, having a maid during this time happens to be the most affordable and accessible option. Why? She’s readily available, you are not paying her per child, she is used to the kids already and you are not worried about the environment they are in.
So, if maximizing the presence of your maid/nanny during these weeks is one of your strategies, there are a few employer management tips I’d like to share with you that will be of benefit to you and your maid. Here we go.
- Don’t expect that she will automatically adjust to having all the kids around.
Housekeeping is already a lot of work even with the kids not around. With them being around 24/7, you can expect there’ll be more dirty areas in the house, more dirty dishes, probably more laundry to be done. More work for your maid/nanny means slowed down productivity. So if you decide to add full time childcare to her housekeeping this holiday, give room for adjustments. There’ll be errors, oversights and tiredness.
- This is not the time to threaten her with termination or pick unnecessary fights.
Some employers do this a lot with the thought that it makes their maids sit up. Your threat may just backfire and you would be left with an emergency in your hands. Remember that your maid is a resource and your duty as an employer is to make sure that your resource is maximized to your benefit. There are many ways to correct and confront your maid on issues. Tone down on raising your voice especially when the kids are present or making a big deal of something that could easily be corrected. Focus on problem solving rather than magnifying the errors. What this does is that it takes the pressure off her work and she is able to work with ease. Because as soon as she starts to feel too much pressure, she will leave.
- Offer her an extra token/incentive for the “service” she’s rendering.
It will definitely not cost you as much as a summer school will cost you. I said offer because your maid will most likely not ask. Incentives are great motivation and performance tools. People will always put in more work when there is sometime tangible and measurable at the end waiting for them.
- Encourage the kids to help out.
They will most likely feel like they have someone at their beck and call who would do everything that ask. Be sure to make it clear that they have a duty to make the maid’s work easier by helping out with the chores. Sorting laundry, sorting dried dishes to their various positions, cleaning the furniture and other simple chores. They can be taught in the process how to operate the gadgets, microwave, washing machine, dish washer e.t.c.
- Encourage and convince her to teach them a skill.
Your maid knows how to cook up a storm already, bake some pastries or arrange a wardrobe properly. She may be skilled in a whole lot of other areas that you may have overlooked in the past. Now is the time to schedule the kids for a session for a few hours with her weekly. The will pick up a useful skill without you emptying your pocket and also in a safe and known environment. It will also help your maid bond properly with the kids, you will be less suspicious of her harming your kids because they would become “friends”. Lastly, it will help her feel like a value-provider as it is an opportunity for her to impart knowledge.
- Create a routine for the kids and schedule timing for all activities that involve the maid.
It is important that instruction is not coming directly from the maid and the kids feel like they can disobey. Let them know that there is a time schedules for play, for TV, for helping out, for learning and so on. The kids will only be bored when they are not aware of what they should be doing per time. Boredom will lead to mischief and may create more work for your maid. Don’t put your maid in a position where she will have to fight with them to do things they are supposed to be doing. Create a routine for each of the kids and walk them through each day to ensure they understand.
- Restrict their play area.
Ofcourse it is their house. So you can expect that they want to explore every corner while playing hide and seek games or their play fights. While running around they may litter, shift things around, break something, overturn chairs and so on. What this means is more work for your maid. You can combat this by instructing ahead of time that play within the house should be restricted to certain areas such as their room or a section of the sitting room so that clean up will be easier.
- At the end of the day, listen to feedback from both parties.
At the end of each day, get feedback from both parties; your maid and the kids. Don’t fall into the trap of one-sided judgments. The kids will probably have something to complain about the nanny/maid and same goes for the maid. Listen to feedback and judge and correct accordingly without bias.
- Take time to establish hierarchy, acceptable correction methods and boundaries.
Who answers to who? Do your kids answer to your maid during this period or you would require them to call you to confirm anything before it is done? Is your maid aware that she wouldn’t be allowed to spank the kids? Are there words you wouldn’t want her to use on or around your kids? Do the kids know how powerful the maid’s NO is? Do the kids know that if it is coming from the maid, then it is as though you were the one speaking? These are the things that should be made clear to the kids and maid maybe the weekend before the holiday starts.
Lastly, as a suggestion, you should probably take a week off work if you can, for the first week the kids would be at home to help them settle in and introduce them to the new routine you have made. Also to watch how your maid/nanny adjusts to having them around.
I hope this article has been helpful. If you found it enlightening, please share the link with your family, friends and followers so they can read also.
Looking forward to you having drama-free experiences during this summer holiday on a budget. 😀