September is even better than New Year’s Eve for resolutions and changes in our lives. Summer holidays are officially over. Kids will soon be back to school, adults are back to everyday life and work. You may have taken some time to step back during your vacation and think about how you could improve your daily life in Hong Kong. If you want to succeed, you’ll need the support of your family and the involvement of your domestic helper. When it comes to her duties, take some time to explain to her what your targets and expectations are. Let her make suggestions: her practical experience may be valuable. If you’ve just hired a new helper, here is some advice to welcome a domestic helper.
IF THIS SEPTEMBER MEANS NEW SCHOOL YEAR
For parents, September first means new school year for their children or even first year of school. That is to say: changes for the whole family and for your domestic worker. Your helper has a role to play in giving your children the best chances to succeed. There are the main topics you should review with her before starting this new academic year:
Taking your children to and from school
The first thing you want to make sure of is that your children arrive and come back safely from school. They might walk or take the public transportation, either way, you should make a practice run with your children and your domestic helper, especially when attending a new school so they can know which route to take or spot the right stop. If your kids take the school bus, make sure your helper knows whom to contact if an emergency comes up and she is not able to pick them up at the bus stop.
After school routine
It is important to discuss with your domestic helper your children’s routine after school and to adapt it every year while they grow up. Can they go to playdates? Do they have extracurricular activities they need to attend? Or do you want them to go home directly and do their homework? While your kids may try to negotiate the rules, you must make sure your domestic worker understands your expectations.
When it comes to homework, many employers ask their domestic helper to supervise and help the children. Keep in mind that she might not have any background in tutoring, and no idea of what you are expecting on this topic. This situation can therefore be frustrating for both of you. Explain and show her what you want, for example by being involved at first. In any case, you should always keep an eye on their homework from time to time to stay aware of what is going on at school.
Preparing healthy lunches
Your children are growing up, their needs and their tastes change, they may have less time for lunch this year. Discuss with your domestic worker which quick and healthy lunches and snacks she should prepare for your little ones. You could schedule the week meals with her, and even involve your kids in the preparation for more fun!
IF THIS SEPTEMBER MEANS CHANGE AT WORK
You start a new job or get a new position? This probably means some changes in your daily routine: you may leave and come back home at different hours, be more often on business trips, not be reachable as you were before, need different kinds of clothes, etc. Of course, you need to adjust your domestic helper schedule. Explain to her which tasks will remain the same and which will be different. If you use a paper schedule, don’t forget to prepare a new one.
IF THIS SEPTEMBER MEANS LIFESTYLE CHANGES
During your holidays, you may have decided to modify your eating habits, to work out, to try new activities at home or outside, etc. Any of these changes may impact your domestic helper’s duties. This could be the right time to thoroughly review and adjust her tasks list and schedule. You can also take this opportunity to offer her some training, so she can improve her skills. Languages? Cooking? Baking? Sewing? Check the HelperChoice Academy program to get some ideas.
Let’s make September a fresh start for everyone!