by Kathy Lam
In winter, employers with babies/kids often complain that their helpers from the Philippines are not keeping their kids warm enough, which results in their kids getting cold and may even necessitate a visit to see doctor.
Why is this phenomenon so common? Can it be improved?
The Philippines is a country in the tropics, and most of the people there have never experienced winter. It is normal for the helper to lack awareness about weather change and how it may effect the health of the kids. They naturally won't know how many clothes they should help the kids to put on before bed, when going out, or how to control the environment at home during bath time. It is unrealistic to expect them to be as conscious about this as Hong Kong people are, because we have experienced winter since birth!
What can we do to equip our helper(s) to take care of our kids better in winter? Below are some skills we should teach our helpers patiently:
Teach them how to check the temperature of our babies/children
- check the nape of their neck and/or the bottom of their feet. If the child is warm enough, their nape/sole should always be warm when touched. If their nape/soles are cold, then the child is not warm enough, and we should help them to put on more clothes.
- It's a good idea to put a towel on our babies/kids'back all the time, so if they are too hot and sweat, the towel can absorb the sweat, and we can just change to a fresh towel as needed. Our babies/kids will be less likely to get cold because of the sweat.
- If the helper sleeps with the children in the same room, teach them to check the child's nape and soles before the helper goes to bed herself. If they are sweaty, change the towel on their back. If the child's feet are cold, help them to put on socks.
Teach them how to dress the children for different temperatures and weather conditions
- Teach your helper what kind of / how many clothes we should help our babies to put on at home or when they go out in different temperature.
- We should teach our helpers, that they MUST bring jacket/baby blanket for babies/kids whenever they go out, no matter what season is. In winter, helper should be taught also to check regularly the temperature of the babies/kids to make sure they are not too hot and sweat when they are indoor. Assist the babies/kids to take off the jacket if they are too hot.
Your helper also needs to know how to prevent the babies/kids from getting cold when bathing them.
- In winter: close all the windows in the room where you are going to bath the babies /kids and help them to change clothes.
- All the things for baby bath must be prepared well and put properly in the right place before preparing the water for bathing. It's highly recommended for employers to make a checklist of baby bath essentials for our helpers, paste it either in the toilet or baby's room, so that they are clear on what to prepare and organize the things better.
- Keep the room warm and bath water comfortably warm but not hot. If you have a bath thermometer, warm the water to about 37 degreesº C. Or you can check the water temperature by immersing your elbow in the water. If your elbow feel that the water is warm enough, it means the water is suitable for bathing a baby
- When everything is prepared, check the diaper before removing baby's clothes. After removing baby's clothes, bath baby immediately.
- Limit the time of baby bath. From removing all baby's clothes to wrapping the baby with dry towel after bathing : 5-10 minutes only. Letting baby sit in the water for over 10 minutes is too long, as baby may get cold.
- If you want your helper to use an electric heater when bathing your baby, make sure the heater is safe to use. It is the employer's responsibility to teach the helper clearly where the heater should be put, how to use it, precautions when using it and when should the helper should be turned it on/off.
Winter is coming, I hope all Arrows'employers are happy with our Arrows' ladies' performance. It takes time for an ordinary helper to become a good helper. As employers, we can contribute a lot in molding a good, capable and professional helper.
Kathy LAM is an early Arrow customer. Her helper has been with her for almost 5 years now. Kathy is a registered nurse and mother of three children. She works at Arrow as a coach for employers and parents. She teaches infant care and breastfeeding for private companies, and breastfed her own 3 children for a total of 7 years. If you would like some coaching in breastfeeding, contact us and Kathy will call you back to introduce her service & fees, etc.