Finally, you have found that great domestic helper and you cannot wait for her to arrive. She will certainly be of help to your family, but how do you make sure it will be a smooth transition? Many parents find it difficult to prepare their child for the arrival of the new helper.
Every family will encounter different problems and difficulties. Your 4-year old son may have been very close with your current helper and he has already declared war on the new one. Or your daughter has decided she does not need a nanny, she just wants mummy to stay at home. The arrival of your new helper will not be without some small hiccups here and there.
But it doesn’t have to be a disaster either. Most important for your children is that their lives are not turned upside down. Don’t tell your daughter an hour before the new helper is arriving, that she will be sharing her apartment with a stranger. Instead, turn the immediate period before the arrival of the new helper into a time of learning and fun. Involve the children in an entertaining way so that they get excited about the new helper rather than seeing her as a threat.
If your children are unfamiliar with the concept of live-in help, you can watch some movies to ease them into the concept. Lucky for you there are quite a few movies about nannies. Think Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and The Pacifier. Let your children choose what they want to watch. After the movie you can ask them what they think about the nanny. What did they love about her? What did they think of the children’s attitudes? If your children are younger, you can ask them what kind of nanny they want. You may be surprised to hear your son say he wants to learn to bake and that your daughter wants a helper who can sing.
Another trick to get your children excited about the new helper is to tell them about her background. You can even turn it into a small project where they create a collage with photos and information about her country or about domestic helpers abroad. Cut, glue and explore together with your toddler or let your older children surprise you with their creations. It will be a nice bonding moment for you and your children will learn something at the same time.
You can also ask your children to help decorate your new helper’s room. Make it a fun morning outing: take them to furniture stores where every child can pick an item like bedsheets, rugs or curtains. If your children are younger, you can ask them to make a drawing of their favorite cartoon character that you can hang in the helper’s room together.
Children will thrive when their routines remain the same. Your children know very well what the house rules are, but they may want to take advantage of the helper who doesn’t know the routines. Together with your children you can create a weekly calendar with all the children’s daily activities and even meal plans. This way you let your children know that they should not expect their weekly patterns to change or that they can trick the helper into introducing a secret weekly McDonald’s lunch.
Making your children part of the preparation process before your new helper arrives, will help them – and you – ease into idea of having a new helper. A final important step is to reassure your children that you love them and that this won’t change. Let your children know you will also be there for them even if the helper dresses them and brings them to the bus stop every day. Ask your children to come up with an activity that they want to do with you alone. This could range from reading their favorite bedtime story, to making morning pancakes, to walking the dog on the weekend. You may be surprised by their choices!
Employing a new helper does not need to be screams, tantrums and slamming doors. It will take time for everyone to adjust. Listen to your children and take things one step at a time. Before you know it life will be back to normal. And the worries about your child and the new helper will be a memory of the distant past.
Lead image sourced via Pinterest