Image via Flickr user Sally Ann Jacobson
Singapore is a busy bustling city where most people are leading a hectic lifestyle with long working hours. Due to the high standard of living in Singapore, both husband and wife will need to work and strive hard for their career in order to keep up.
This is why there are so many people hiring domestic helper to help out with their household chores or take care of their kids and elderlies. There is not much time for us to keep the house clean or even have the energy to prepare a proper meal for the family after a long and tiring day at work.
However, some of us may have mixed feelings hiring a domestic helper. Some common problems that we might know of are that domestic helper may steal the employer’s valuables, show sign of violent treatment towards the toddlers, or even being disrespectful to the elderlies.
Although these signs could happen, not all the domestic helpers are the same. In fact, most domestic helpers are really caring and helpful towards their employers with some of them will even go extra mile for toddlers and elderlies. Besides that, having a domestic helper could ease your burdens; you will not have to worry about rushing home to prepare dinner or having to clear your dirty laundry, and can use the time to spend more with your kids.
Below are some of the tips and advices that could help you build good relationships with them (This is especially important when you have to live with her for minimum two years under the same rooftop!):
1. Always remember thatyou are the employer, not a friend, but show empathy for the helper’s situation too. They leave their homeland and family, travelled long distance to a country where they have to settle down and fit into a stranger’s house to do all the house chores etc. for at least 2 years.
2. You might not want to overreact, and frightened them. Be kind and patience to guide them on your house rules.
3. Every one of us is just a human being. They can’t be perfect at cooking, childcare and cleaning. Learn to overlook some things, and concentrate on what they are good at. You will realise actually, sometimes employers are too demanding and expect things to be done at limited time.
Tips that you might want to take note:
1. Don’t flaunt material things. Keep bank accounts out of the way if possible. There’s a huge financial disparity, so be sensitive about it.
2. Do not display your valuables, do keep it in a safety box if possible.
3. Be conscious that your domestic helper is after all still a helper, who is still quite foreign with you. (There is a saying that goes, “Thieves within a household are difficult to guard against”)
Tips on questions that you might want to enquire during an interview with your domestic helper:
1. Try to communicate with her and see if she can understand your words. Basic communication is important especially living together under the same rooftop.
2. Ask for references, and make sure you can speak to her previous employer to understand her better despite her work experience.
3. If she’s transferring from one family in Singapore to another, ask why. If she has transferred from a series of employers, without good reason (for example, the family was leaving Singapore) and without finishing her contracts, thoroughly investigate why.
4. Is she married, and does she have children? Her personal situation will have some bearing on her skill set.
5. Find out why she is doing this job. Is she working to support her family back home? Does she have plans to go back at a certain point? Is she building up to starting a business when she does go home? Finding out about her future plans means that if you do employ her you can help support her, and both of you can work out an exit plan.
6. Asking typical questions like “Do you like children?” or about cleaning and ironing are pretty pointless. Instead, ask her what she feels her strengths are; what is she best at? Does she work to a cleaning schedule, and if so can she give you a quick rundown of it?
7. Set ground rules and make it clear what would be a deal breaker – for example, stealing from you, or asking for money advances.
8. How would she discipline a child?
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