Our resident domestic helper expert, Mel gives some practical tips on how to prepare for your helper’s arrival.
My new helper is about to arrive. What should I do to prepare for her arrival?
Congratulations on this new transition! Here are a few practical considerations that you may want to figure out before your helper arrives. You might find it helpful to jot down your thoughts on each topic, or use this as a conversation guide to discuss your preferences with any other key adults in your household.
Where would you like her to store her clothing, shoes, luggage, and snacks? You may want to clear some refrigerator and kitchen cabinet space for her, and clarify whether or not she can store snacks in her room.
Read more: Your Helper’s Personal Items
Will she have a food allowance, or have you decided to share food? Will she eat at the same place and time as you, or will she eat separately? Would you like her to be on the clock/available when you are eating, or will she be “off duty” and take that opportunity to eat her own food? Taking time to share your expectations now can eliminate awkward situations later.
Do you need to buy a safe for valuables? Would you have more peace of mind if you put locks on certain drawers? Since you will most likely not know your helper that well on Day 1, these are understandable precautions. Being wise and careful does not make you unkind.
Is privacy or “family time” important in your household? If so, what boundaries would you like to create, in order to retain family or quiet time in the house? If this is something you value, don’t be ashamed of it. Your helper is an employee, and she will enjoy her privacy from you sometimes as well. Tell her if you’d rather she not clean when you are eating dinner, or if you prefer to be alone with your baby during the night time routine.
Who will train your new helper? When will the training take place, and what does she need to learn first? If you only have a short window of time to teach her things yourself, start with the most important skills first and try showing her things that only you can teach her. For additional training, you may want to sign her up for classes or ask a good friend to show her the route to your child’s school or how to make a certain meal.
Read more: The Best Way To Find a Helper
What time should she get up? When will her meals be? Will she have breaks during the day? Sometimes being precise can assist your helper in understanding your needs. Instead of saying, “You can take a break in the afternoon,” consider specifying, “Your afternoon break is from 1:00-2:00.” This means she’ll feel more relaxed, and there will be less confusion, since the expectations have been defined.
Do you have preferences on how she does your laundry or looks after your baby? Is it okay for her to use her mobile phone while she’s working? Are there certain “house rules” that you have as a family that would be important for her to be aware of? I recommend putting as many instructions and desires as you can down in writing, to create a sort of “Employee Handbook.” This gives her something that she can reflect on, and refer to, after your initial verbal introductions and training.
Best of luck welcoming your new helper! And if you want ideas on what practical items may enable your helper to do her job well, check out this list of job-related items for domestic helpers.
For more employer-friendly advice (no judgment here, Mamas!), contact Melanie to schedule a private hiring session or to attend one of her helper management workshops. We’ve done both and can say they are definitely Sassy-approved!