When you hire a mother

 Mother pinning award on her child

Most of our customers are couples expecting their first or second child and they naturally want to hire a woman who is  "married" and "has kids". So it is no surprise that most of Arrow's helpers have children under 18 years of age.  I conducted a short poll on our webpage and more than 90% of the respondents have children under 18 years of age. Our poll targeted mothers, so pure singles did not respond. Still, we know that great majority of helpers deploying through Arrow are mothers. I began thinking more about this after one of our helpers resigned her job. Her employer liked her very much and she also liked her employer. She resigned because she had lost touch with her 12-year-old daughter and felt that she had to go home and check to make sure her daughter was okay.  I began to ask myself "what effect does the Hong Kong work schedule have on mothers who have left children behind in the Philippines? Is there anything an employer might do to help them keep their family ties strong? Have you ever thought "My helper is also a mother - when does she talk to her children?" "How does she keep her family ties strong?" Here's what we've learned - 

children under 18 pie-chart.png

How often do you speak with your kids?

Exactly 1/2 of respondents connect with their kids every day. They use Facebook messenger, Skype, Viber, etc. Some ladies I know get up at 4 a.m. daily to talk to their kids before they leave for school. They then go back to bed for a while and arise again to take care of their employers' children. Their commitment is amazing. The fact that 1/2 of respondents can contact their kids every day is, I hope, an indication that we have customers who are sensitive to the needs of their helpers and flexible enough to give them time each day to call their children. I wish I had asked the question "How often would you like to speak to your children?" I wonder about the other 50% - would they speak to their kids more if they could?

 Most respondents connect with their children on a daily basis

Most respondents connect with their children on a daily basis

What is the best time of day to contact your children?

Most respondents (87%) told us that the best time to contact their kids is between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Only 13% would prefer to talk to their children from  10 p.m. - 6 p.m.  Unfortunately the prime times for helpers to contact their children are also busy times for employers and their children. The helper who takes good care of her employer's children may end up losing touch with her own kids.

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What should I do? 

The best time for your helper to talk to her children is during work hours... so what should you do? If you are super strict and won't let her contact her kids during work hours then she may lose touch with them. If she loses the connection with her kids - the chances of her resigning will increase. So what should you do?

Talk to her about her family needs

Discuss this issue with your helper? Ask her "When is the best time for you to talk to your kids? 2nd best time? 3rd? How long do you need to talk to your kids every day? 15 min? 1/2 hour? etc. Tell her what will and what won't work for you. If you agree to a time during work hours then make a clear agreement with her about when she will talk to her family and for how long.  Afterwards occasionally monitor the situation and if you find she is not keeping to the agreement remind her about the agreement she made and tell her you that you expect her to abide by your agreement. 

If your helper is able to keep strong ties to her family, then she will feel confident to continue working here in Hong Kong. If she has an employer who remembers that she too is a parent who loves and needs to stay in touch with her kids, then she will stay loyal and will hopefully continue to serve your family for many years. 

Arrangement of work and holiday in times of typhoons and rainstorm

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Hong Kong is frequented by tropical cyclones (commonly known as “typhoons”) and rainstorms during the summer months. It is essential for employers and foreign domestic helpers(FDHs) to set out reasonable and practicable rest / work in the tropical cyclone warning (hereinafter referred to as "typhoon warning") or rainstorm warning arrangement. This helps to prevent unnecessary disputes and confusion, maintain good employer-domestic helper relationship.

What should an employer do?

Employers should consult and involve FDHs in working out prior work arrangements and contingency measures for typhoon signal number 8 or above or black rainstorm warnings. *

Typhoon affected period

If the Observatory issued a typhoon signal number 1 or 3 and announced that it had the opportunity to switch to the No. 8 typhoon on the day of the FDH’s holiday, the weather condition would continue to deteriorate. The employer should consider one of the following possible arrangements:

1.advise the FDH not to go out for safety reasons, take the holiday at home and rest.

2. cancel the holiday, but work. Employer will give ee holiday replacement, or pay FDH for working in the holiday.

3. FDH still goes out for holiday.


1. The employer should advise the FDH not to go out for safety reasons, take the holiday at home and rest.

Rest at home also prevent the risk that the FDH may ask to stay outside because of the problem of traffic.

If the FDH agrees to rest at home, the employer shall not ask the FDH to work on the rest day. <<Employment Ordinance>> says the employer should not ask the FDH  to work during the rest day. Unless the FDH volunteer to at rest.

As FDH may not be able to go out under such weather conditions, employers should also provide food and drinking water at home for FDH’s consumption where appropriate.

2. The employer can also discuss with the FDH, if she agrees to cancel the rest day, to work.

If the FDH agrees, the employer would pay wages, or give a separate rest day. Employers may consider giving typhoon or rainstorm allowances as an encouragement if your FDH are willing to work in times of typhoons and rainstorms.

Provide employees with adequate facilities and equipment such as safety helmets and raincoats to ensure their safety at work.

3. FDH still goes out for holiday

If you choose to let your FDH to go out for holiday under a possible typhoon No. 8, you should consider to let her leave home before the typhoon warning signal is no. 8 is issued (public transport services are still working) and understand that she may not be able to come on time due to actual difficulties. Be flexible.

The employer should provide the FDH the urgent contact number, so FDH can inform the employer immediately if she cannot come on time because of any reason.

During the rainstorm

When the black rainstorm warning is in effect, the road may be heavily flooded and the weather is bad. For the sake of the safety of the FDH, the employer should ask the helper to rest at home until the Black Rainstorm Warning is canceled. Unless the parties have agreed in advance of the relevant work arrangements.

* Employers may refer to t<<The Code of Practice under Typhoon and Rainstorm Warning>> to formulate the work arrangements and contingency measures for Typhoon Warning No. 8 or above or Black Rainstorm Warning. For more information, please visit the following website: http://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/public/wcp/Rainstorm.pdf

If the employer has further question, please contact the Labor Department at 2718 1771 (this hotline is available from "1823") on the Labor Department's website: http://www.labour.gov.hk


 幼 兒 照 顧 服 務 Child Care Services 

社會福利署非致府機構提供多元化的幼兒照顧服務,以支援一些因工作或其他原因而暫時未能照顧子女的父母。這服務也可舒緩僱主因外傭辭職/ 新外傭未能及早到港,引致沒人照顧嬰幼兒的壓力:

The Social Welfare Department in Hong Kong provides Child Care Services to assist parents who cannot take care of their children because of work or other reasons. This services can reduce the stress of employers if your existing helper resign/ new domestic helper cannot come early.   

For detail, please click the link below and read:

外傭申請中國旅遊簽證的手續 Requirements of Supporting Documents for Domestic Helpers Applying for Visas to China


It is common for employers to ask, "How to help my domestic helper to apply for visa to China?" The link below states clearly the documents required when submit the application:

Child Care, First Aid & CPR Course

There is a 11 hour course is for domestic helpers who care for your babies and young children. The course covers Child Care, First Aid & CPR and is held in a real home so that all safety scenarios in your helper’s exercises are in realistic situations.


詳情請登入以下網頁For detail, please click:


FREE Cantonese Classes for Foreign Domestic Helpers 免費廣東話班

Good news to employer and foreign domestic helpers!!

An Organisation Cheer holds F

Good news to employer and foreign domestic helpers!!

An Organisation Cheer holds FREE Cantonese Classes for foreign domestic helpers. Any domestic helpers who can understand and speak English can register for the class. Register now!! 
基督教機構Cheer舉辦免費廣東話班, 導師將會用英語教授廣東話。有興趣的僱主請盡快為你的家庭外籍女傭(不拘國籍,懂得聽英文便OK)報名。名額有限,先到先得!!

Any domestic helpers who can understand and speak English can register for the class. Register now!! 
基督教機構Cheer舉辦免費廣東話班, 導師將會用英語教授廣東話。有興趣的僱主請盡快為你的家庭外籍女傭(不拘國籍,懂得聽英文便OK)報名。名額有限,先到先得!!

The importance of regular feedback

Filipinos come to Hong Kong because they need money, but they stay because they feel happy. If they don't feel happy they won't stay. Their job satisfaction is related to the feedback you give them. If you don't give them feedback they will assume that they are not doing a good job and that you don't like them. If you give them feedback even if it is partially corrective they will appreciate it because they know they are accepted and doing an ok job. If you give them some positive feedback they will go "off The Charts" happy and send me a message like the one you see below.


You can find some guidelines on how to do a performance review here: http://arrowes.hk/more/. At Arrow our goal is to help you find and KEEP a good helper.


 當孩子六個月開始,便可以開始進食固體食物。由這時到學前的兒童, 我不時會聽到家長們申訴, 他們的孩子有不同的進食問題。要安排孩子們完成一頓飯,好像打仗般, 困難重重, 令他們非常頭痛。


學前兒童常見的飲食問題包括: 不肯乖乖坐下吃飯、偏食、拿食物玩耍、不肯自己吃飯、打翻食物、吃得很慢、發脾氣、一邊進食, 一邊玩玩具/手提電話/掌上電腦等等。


1. 家長對孩子不同時期成長的特質認識不足, 以致對孩子有有不切實際的期望。

a.學前兒童專注時間比較短,容易分心。如果用餐時間長, 或他們覺得悶,便會想四處走動。加上這年紀的孩子對四周事物都會充滿好奇心, 他們喜歡觸碰不同的東西。很難要求他們長時間乖乖坐在一個地方。

b. 孩子和大人一樣,對食物有偏好。只要孩子有均衡飲食,肯吃不同類的食物, 家長不必強迫他們吃不喜歡的食物。

c.孩子和大人一樣, 不會每天的胃口都一樣好。可能今天孩子可以吃半碗飯, 明天只想吃三分一碗飯就覺飽。不需要強迫孩子必需食完你所給他的所有份量,恐怕這次會令進餐變成苦差。


有些家長任由孩子們隨時想吃就吃。結果孩子吃過多零食,到吃正餐的時間就沒有胃口。要為這些孩子建立有規律的飲食習慣會更困難。也有些家長為了鼓勵孩子吃正餐時不四處走動, 而給與孩子玩具/電子產品一邊玩、一邊吃飯; 哄孩子吃飯或餵飯, 結果無意中給與孩子額外的注意力, 鼓勵了他們不吃飯這不恰當的行為。




食物的份量應該以孩子能夠吃完為準, 而非家長心中希望他吃多少。告訴他如食物份量不夠,孩子可以主動要求加添。無論孩子能夠吃完食物與否,在下一餐前, 他將不可以進食任何零食/小吃。


要孩子立刻停止正玩得興高采烈的遊戲/活動時間去進食, 對他們而言,是一件很掃興的事。他們不合作、不服從的機會很高。我們可以預先給孩子心理準備,如: 「雯雯,玩多一次這遊戲, 就去洗手吃飯。」或者「妹妹,要吃晚餐了,你可以玩多三分鐘, 就去洗手吃飯。」這樣, 係指會較容易和我們合作。




若想孩子服從規矩, 要定明遵守規則的奬勵。如: 孩子如果乖乖坐着吃飯, 飯後可享用一個小吃,或帶他到公園逛。稱讚孩子將鼓勵他們更樂意的遵守用餐規矩。 


i. 溫馨提示

如果孩子犯了小問題, 例如:吃得慢, 可以提醒他, 用餐的時間是30分鐘/45分鐘,夠鐘就會收拾所有食物。在下一次用餐前, 不會給孩子任何食物和小吃。

ii. 刻意忽略

有些孩子喜歡做一些小動作, 以吸引父母或照顧者的注意力。另外,在外用餐時, 有時孩子因為對四周的環境好奇, 喜歡東張西望。這時, 我們可刻意忽略這些小搗蛋的行為。給孩子過多的注意力,有時反而會鼓勵他們不恰當的行為。

iii. 懲罰

所有孩子都應該至少培養服從規矩的好習慣。如果孩子不理會大人的溫馨提示, 仍繼續不當的行為, 或破壞規矩, 便要為自己的行為負責, 接受後果。假如孩子在進餐時,做了些嚴重不恰當的行為, 便要接受懲罰。

如:  發脾氣、打翻食物, 我們可以把孩子帶到一旁, 告訴他他犯了什麼用餐規矩, 與他將要受到什麼懲罰, 然後執行。懲罰的方法可以有很多,包括:處罰孩子自己坐在一角兩分鐘, 然後才可以一起繼續進餐;取消去公園玩 。假如孩子認錯,或說:「對不起」,我們便要接納、原諒他們。可以稱讚他們:「知錯能改, 是好孩子。」


以上的教導實際可行, 不用打罵孩子, 大家也可以改善學前孩子的進餐問題。假若父母或照顧者說一套、做一套, 或家中不同的照顧者沒有一致地堅決執行所定立的規矩, 只會變相鼓勵孩子不守規矩, 令他們進餐的問題變得更嚴重。願這分享能幫助所有家長或照顧者, 有效、輕鬆地處理學前孩子的進餐問題。


How to handle Preschool Children's Eating Problems ~By Kathy Lai King Lam  

When a child reaches six months old, she/he can start  to eat solid food.  It is common to hear parents of preschool age children (3 years old & under) to complain that their children have different kinds of eating problems.

Common Eating Problems

Preschool children common eating problems include:  difficulty sitting still and eating quietly until finishing a meal, dropping food on the floor, picky eater, playing with the food, refusing to eat on their own, eating very slow, temper tantrums,  playing with toys, mobile phones etc while eating.

Common Reasons

  1. Parents/Caregivers have little knowledge about the characteristics of children at different ages, so that they may have unrealistic expectations on them:

    1. Preschool children’s attention span time is relatively short(usually less than 10 minutes), easy to be distracted. If the meal time is long, they feel bored and want to walk around. Also , preschool children of this age will be full of curiosity and like to explore different things by touching. It is difficult to make them sit still for a long time.

    2. Preschool children have food preferences, like adults. As long as a child has a balanced diet, willing to eat different types of food, parents/caregivers should not force them to eat the food they dislike.

    3. Normal preschool children’ s appetite may not be the same everyday.  Maybe today a child can eat half a bowl of rice, tomorrow he/she wants to eat one third bowl of rice only and feels full. No need to force a child to eat all the amount of food you provide as this may make the child feel that eating is unpleasant experience.

  2. Parents do not set up regular eating habit for their children.
    Some parents let the children eat whenever they want. This results in the children eating more snacks, and then they have no appetite to eat at dinner time. It is difficult for this kind of family to set up regular eating habits for their kids. Some parents/caregivers give the children toys or electronic products to play while eating, in  the hope that  the children will not walk around when eating. Some want the children to eat faster, so they feed the children to speed things up even though the child is capable of feeding themselves. These result in giving the children extra attentio and reinforce inappropriate eating behaviors.

How to prevent /solve eating problems of preschool children

  1. Prepare the children for the meal time.

    If the children enjoy playing games and activities, they will feel very disappointed if they need to stop playing immediately. The chance that they do not cooperate is high. To minimize both the parents/caregivers and the children’s frustration, we can prepare the child by saying, "Jason, play this game for one more time, then go, wash  hands and eat." Or " Maria, you can play three more minutes, then go to wash hands and have dinner." This helps the children to cooperate with us better.


  2. Let the children eat the amount they can eat.

    The amount of the food for the preschool children should be based on how much they can eat, NOT how much the parents/caregiver wants them to eat. Tell the children that if the food is not enough, they can take the initiative to ask for more. No matter the children can finish eating all the food or not, they should know clearly that they will not be given any snacks before next meal.


  3. Set rules for the children during meal time

    Clear rules will increase the chance of having a smooth mealtime. Here are some good rules to consider:

    1. Don't leave your seat when eating,

    2. No playing with toys/ mobile phone/ tablet/ any electronic products while eating.(Because it will only distract the children, extend their eating time. of course, adults have to set a good model ourselves),

    3. Don't play with food,

    4. Don't waste food (???)

    5. Feed yourself


  1. Tips

    1. Use a timer. If a child has a minor problem, for example: eating too slowly, we can set a count down timer and remind him/her that the meal time will end when the timer gets to zero. He/she should finish the food within the time limit.  Before the next meal, we will not give the child any food and snacks.

    2. Deliberately ignore some behavior: Some children like to do little tricks to attract the attention of parents/caregivers. Some children feel curious of their surroundings when eating outside and want to look around. In these cases the best thing to do is to deliberately ignore the behavior. Sometimes giving a child too much attention will encourage them to do more improper behavior.

  2. Reward and Consequences

    1. Rewards help the children to follow the rules and eat better. For example, if the
      children sit and eat properly, they can enjoy a snack after dinner, or let the children  enjoy 10 minutes more play time in the park. Also, praise the children for the good behaviour as it will encourage them to be more willing to comply with the meal rules. Also let the children know the consequences of non-compliance.


    1. Punishment or Consequences: help children cultivate good habits and learn to obey the rules. If a child ignores the warning of adults, continues to do improper behavior, or breaks the rules,  then they need to experience some negative consequences so that they will learn to take responsibility for their own actions.

      For example, if a child has tantrums or throws food on the floor, we can bring the child to  a corner, tell him that he violated a meal rule and will be subject to a consequence. There are many ways to punish a child including: make a child sit in the corner for two minutes before they can continue to eat together; cancel play time in the park, etc. If the child admits the misbehaviour, or says "sorry", we should accept and forgive them. We can praise them, "I appreciate that you admit and are willing to correct from your mistake, you are a good boy."


Meal times for small children do not need to become a "contest of wills" and misbehavior does not need to be resolved by physical punishment or shouting. If you follow these practical steps of relaxing your expectations about what and how much a child needs to eat, setting some basic rules along with rewards and consequences then meal time can be an enjoyable experience. The stress level at home will go down and life will improve for the children, the parents and the caregivers.


Kathy Lam is the Client Relationship Manager or Arrow Employment Services, registered nurse, Family Life Coach of I Care Family, a mother of 3 girls.