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It’s Jail Time for this “Lady” who Abused her two Domestic Helpers

| Opinion | 30/04/2014

maid basher

Wong Pui Kwan was quick to turn violent every time one of her two maids made what she considered to be a mistake.

She also cut their salaries, their hair and pulled down her shorts and underwear to humiliate them in front of their laughing children.

Wong, who is 27 and a former property agent was jailed for a year after a two-month campaign of violence against her two foreign domestic helpers, one from the Philippines and one from Myanmar, both of whom ran away to seek help as a result of her terrible treatment.

The Filipina, Analyn Almoite Rinonos suffered severe depression and returned home to the Philippines. Wong would lose her temper suddenly and often for no apparent reason. At other times her temper was triggered by really trivial actions such as forgetting to switch a light off. One night Ms Rinonos was preparing to shower Wong's children when Wong caned her. Another night after hearing her daughters cry she woke up Ms Rinonos told her to go to the kitchen toilet and then splashed oil over her and demanded that she sleep on the balcony. Another time she hit her on the head twice with a plastic container with so much force that it broke the container. She force-ably cut the maids hair and threw a child's chair at her.

This despicable woman is now spending one year in jail. Let's hope she learns some anger management techniques while she is there.

Though I doubt it.

Another Maid-Beating Couple Caught

| Opinion | 07/03/2014

Muhamad Al-Hafiz Nordin

Do you ever look at the rows and rows of apartments and wonder what is going on behind all those closed doors? Sometimes it's not good.

A seriously dysfunctional family has been brought into the limelight with the prosecution of Noraini Hassan and her husband Muhamad Al-Hafiz Nordin. They treated their Indonesian maid abominably by repeatedly punching, kicking, scratching and slapping her. They also virtually starved her, causing the 34 year old's weight to drop by 20 kg in just seven months.

Her typical working hours were from 6 am to 10 pm  everyday and involved doing household chores as well as looking after the couple's two year old daughter.

The reasons for the punching kicking scratching and starvation? Once she forgot to iron Nuraini's dress, another time her hair dropped on the floor as she was sweeping it. She took 4 slices of beard one morning at 5 am and reported it to Noraini (to loose 20 kg she must have been on the verge of starving the whole time she was there). on another occasion Al-Hafiz hit her on the head twice, leaving her giddy and in considerable pain for not cleaning the baby milk bottle steamer - even though his dear wife had instructed her to not clean it.

I hope this despicable couple end up in jail where they can spend some time contemplating how other human beings ought to be treated. With any luck they'll get the chance to mop some floors while under the harsh supervision of a prison guard.

You can read more here

A Nanny Story You Don’t Often Hear: Cannes-winning Film About Filipina Nanny

| Opinion | 29/08/2013

Set in Singapore in the 1990s, llo llo chronicles the relationship between a young boy and his maid from Iloilo

Set in Singapore in the 1990s, llo llo chronicles the relationship between a young boy and his maid from Iloilo

Often times we hear about nannies being abused all over the world. On the other hand, we also often hear about parents complaining about their nannies bad behaviour. It has even become so common that when we hear a fresh story of the same theme, our subconscious mind seems to think that it’s expected. No matter how much of a common thing it is for us to hear about such stories, we can never conclude that it will always stay that way. Still, there are some rare stories that need to be put out there to change the mentality that we have become accustomed to.

One of the most heart-moving true-to-life stories about nannies these days is a story about a Filipina nanny who worked for a family in Singapore. Teresita, a woman from Ilo-ilo, Philippines used to work for a Singaporean family back in the early 1990’s. She spent 8 years working for the family but had to leave for health reasons. The experience that she had with them was priceless for her. She carried their photos and graphic memories of them being together even years from the time she left.

Teresita, called as “Auntie Terry” by the family, spent a vacation with the family during the time she was still working for them. She shared a very memorable time of those days where she visited a wishing well and gave her heartfelt wishes for the family. According to her, she wished that her wards will grow up not forgetting about her and that they would be successful and decent men in the future. For her, it was simply an expression of her love for the family and the kind of relationship she had with them not knowing that it will surely come true.

After a couple of decades, an unexpected blessing came and paved the way to making her wish come to life. During the 2013 Cannes, an Ilo-Ilo film that received an international appreciation and won the Camera d’Or prize brought Teresita or “Auntie Terry” into a great and emotional reunion with her very loved wards. Anthony Chen, who was one of the three boys in the family that she used to work for as a domestic helper, featured it as his debut film. With the cooperation of Cebu-based public relations agency Selrahco PR, a bridge was created for Teresita to meet with Anthony Chen and his youngest brother Christopher. It was a challenge to find Teresita at first because of the fact that they only knew her first and last name but with the great support of these people given to her, she was easily found. Chen and his youngest brother flew all the way to Ilo-ilo to reunite with Teresita after 16 years of not seeing each other. It was an emotional reunion that moved the heart of not only them who were involved but of every person who have watched the movie and witnessed this one-of-a-kind bond that existed between them.

Ilo-ilo, the title of the film, is now shown in Singaporean cinemas as it was scheduled on the later part of this month. Teresita will also be attending the premier screening with the boys thanks to the help of a popular low-cost airline in the Philippines known as Cebu Pacific. This will be the first time for the Filipino nanny to travel overseas again after 16 years since she departed from Singapore. Truly her wonderful and heart-moving story has shown the kind of selflessness and genuine love that Filipinos have for others. Filipinos are known to value relationships highly and Auntie Terry is just one of the many examples who show that to the rest of the world.

You can visit the film's website here

Tips For Parents When Saying Goodbye

| Opinion | 18/07/2013

Hard to say goodbyeFor parents and the child, beginning child care can be both an exciting and emotional time. It is therefore important that a childminder provides helpful and effective tips to make the experience less emotionally stressful. There have been a lot of teary-eyed goodbyes when parents have to leave to go to work and need to send their child behind with a babysitter. This can be a very painful experience especially if it is the first time that the parents and the child are separated from each other. In order to make goodbye less heart-wrenching, often parents try sneaking out while their child is not looking, or busy playing with other children. This is absolutely not recommended because it can impact the development of the child. At the same time, the child will think that the parents abandoned him or her. The child will also think that his or her parents used deception. While the child is still settling-in, it is always best to encourage parents to say goodbye short and simple. It does not have to be grand, long and dramatic. As a matter of fact, it should not be long so not to give a painful separation a chance.

In the early stages of the placement, a childminder should provide parents a routine to follow when saying goodbye. These tips are helpful to both child carer and parents. Let us take a closer look at this practical sequence of actions that are meant to be followed regularly:

  • The arrival of parents and the child

  • Warmly welcome the parents and the child

  • If the child is older, be ready with an appropriate activity and tell the child about it

  • Encourage the child to kiss goodbye to his or her parents

  • Encourage the parents that they are leaving and will be back at (be specific with the time)

  • Do not interrupt the parents and the child when they are saying goodbye. Allow them to do it on their own way

  • The parents leave

  • Talk to the child right away about the activity you tell him or her

  • If the child is still very young, allow the baby to see them leave and encourage the parents to say goodbye

Transitioning into a new child care setting, encourage the parents that they need to make sure that they have extra time at drop off. It is advisable that they do the morning drop offs especially if the child is not accustomed to the new routine. This will definitely help the child settle-in and be at ease with the new environment. This will also help the parents establish the need to create a goodbye routine.

Whether parents like or not, you should encourage them to always say goodbye. This can be a daunting task especially if parents know that their child will start crying if they say goodbye and prefer to leave the setting when they see their child is not looking or the child is already engrossed with the activity he or she is doing. It is important to establish trust. A childminder should encourage parents to build trust with their child when saying goodbye. It is not good that the child does not know that his or her parents have already left the room. Give the child the opportunity to know that his or her parents are going. It is the child’s right to know it. However, as a childminder, encourage the parents to be kind and direct. Let the parents say to their child why they have to leave. This is teaching the child the importance of honesty. In addition, the child will also think that it is important and has to be done. Let the child feel that the parents will be back to pick him or her up before, say, lunch, or snack time or dinner.

When saying goodbye, an open communication plays a very important role as it helps build a trusting relationship between the parents and the child, as well as the childminder and the child. The child will understand that their parents have left leave him or her to a new carer whom they find to be trustworthy.

“I Miss my Mummy and Daddy”

| Opinion | 17/07/2013

I want my mummy!

I want my mummy!

Keeping a child happy can be a daunting task, especially if the child is new to the childminding setting and is missing his or her mummy and daddy. Most children feel sad if their parents are nowhere to be found. Kids who are very dependent to their parents are difficult to handle because they will usually cry the moment their parents leave them. It is therefore important to keep them happy so that they will not miss their parents so much.

As a childminder, nanny or babysitter your responsibility is not only to ensure a safety environment for the child, but also to be certain that the child will enjoy his or her stay with you. If you are in need of a nanny or babysitter in Singapore, you almost certainly can find one on in Find a Nanny website.

Mothers who need to return to work will need a childminder to take care of their child but children who have been with their mother from birth will definitely have a hard time adjusting to the new face of their care-giver. They typically will break down if they have to be separated from their mother every time their mums leave for work. A childminder has to be ready with this kind of situation in order to convince the child to behave accordingly. It is best to build rapport with the child in order to gain his or her trust. Do not attempt to replace the role of the mother because you will never succeed. You can never take the mother’s place completely. What you can do best is to reassure the child that mummy is at work and will most definitely be back. Offer activities that are appropriate to the child’s age and understanding, but most importantly a nanny, childminder or babysitter should always be there to comfort the child when he or she is upset. So do go to a lot of trouble to ensure you hire a maid or a nanny who understands how the child feels. Children are very sensitive and emotional. It is important that you ensure they feel safe and happy, that their presence is treasured, and that they are loved. Doing this, will help them feel at ease more quickly and your role as a care giver accepted quickly.

Encouraging the child in your care to play with other children is important because of the positive benefits it will bring in child development. As a childminder, you should endeavour to join a childminding group and meet up with other minders so that children will have the chance to meet new friends. This can be as simple an arrangement as meeting up at the playground in your estate every second day, for example. Here you can discuss other interesting activities that you can do that would help make the day of the child enjoyable. Set up play dates and visit appropriate places where children can learn new things. Children always love to play and this is one the best ways to let them feel safe, happy, and loved. They absolutely will always look forward to meeting their minders or carers because they will soon learn to enjoy their company. If children are happy, they will not miss their parents quite so quickly, and their mummy and daddy will be at ease while at work.

Ensuring Mummy and Daddy

While a childcare professional needs to make ensure that the child is safe and happy, a good nanny should also take into account the parents’ emotional situation. They, too, have to be reassured that their child is in good hands. Let the parents feel that you will take good care of their child.

Parenting Styles – Or How Parents Impact Child Development

| Opinion | 26/06/2013

Parenting Styles

Parenting Styles: Click to enlarge

Understanding child development is not an easy task. It requires a lot of study and research in order to come up with a logical and systematic approach. Raising a child does not consist of following a recipe. It is not based on instructions. There are no specific procedures or steps on how to raise a perfect child. The role of the parents is apparently very crucial in the process because their children look up to them as role models. However, parents can an do make mistakes. They are not perfect. It is therefore important to fully understand the significance and relevance of different parenting styles and how these distinctive styles impact child development.

Parents influence their children in so many ways. This is the reason why it is always best, first and foremost, to ask yourself this question: What kind of parent am I? It may sound simple but it is definitely a tough one. It can certainly leave you lost in thought for several minutes, or hours, or even days before you can come up with an answer. It can be disappointing if you do not know who you are as a parent. Without having a strong sense of who you are as a parent you can end up like a ship without a rudder. If you plan to hire a nanny, for example, it is important that the nanny can take on your role effectively when you are not available. It can be difficult to find a suitable nanny,  going to a maid agency is probably not your best move because a nanny's job can be a very specialised one.

Do you know that there are many parents who do not share the same ideas about parenting styles? That is right! Parents have different personalities and they are all unique. What they do though is for the best of their children. There is actually no such thing as bad or good parenting. But, of course, parents can influence children both in a positive and negative way. Styles come in different titles and definitions. Nowadays, the world is no longer limited to two types of parents – strict and lenient. Parenting styles, too, have evolved dramatically. Thus, it is best to hire a nanny who can copy your own parenting style, but perhaps in a way that is less daunting, exciting and more child-friendly.

In a general sense, parenting is categorised into three different styles – Authoritarian, Permissive and Authoritative. In order to make an informed choice when hiring a nanny or a part time maid, let us delve deeply dive into each the parenting style.

The most common style of parenting is authoritarian. Parents tend to be controlling because they expect their children to follow strict rules established by them. This approach aims to manage the behaviour of their children and expectations from them are high. Although it is true that strict parenting produces well-behaved kids, it can also make them rebellious. Furthermore, strict parenting can create a serious problem between parent-child relationship. A nanny is primarily a child care professional who understands that it is good to set guidelines to children but they need to be reasonable and realistic.

Permissive parenting, on the other hand, is the opposite of authoritarian. In this style of parenting, parents believe that children should be given the freedom of choice. The word “lenient” comes back to play in this type of parent. Of course, you do not want to hire a lenient babysitter or a domestic helper. They should be able to handle kids even in their most difficult times. Children who experience more freedom than other children are often difficult to handle. Choice and responsibility is good for children but it is still absolutely necessary that they are not allowed an excessive amount of freedom. Setting limits, after all, is an important part of parenting. A good domestic helper must know this.

The authoritative style of parenting is probably the category where most of the parents fall into. In building a great relationship with their children, parents connect with them by setting up rules and guidelines and take time to listen to what their children think. Open communication is the key. These parents tend to be more nurturing and thus they can easily earn trust and respect from their children. Like authoritative parents, nannies should also encourage independence, allow children to express their opinions and at the same time administer fair and consistent discipline. Children who are raised by authoritative parents tend to have a happier disposition because they have good emotional control. In addition, they also show good social skills.

The Benefits of Being Surrounded With Positive Social Support

| child care, Opinion | 10/06/2013

A positive environment provided by parents, nannies, babysitters and child carers help to bring up well-adjusted children

A positive environment provided by parents, nannies, babysitters and child carers help to bring up well-adjusted children

Life has endless challenges. It’s a truth that we can never deny. Even those of us who are strong-willed have their times of being down and weak. We get those moments of thinking negatively and sometimes even tell ourselves that we are incapable of doing something. We seem to think that we are not smart enough or highly skilled enough to accomplish something that truthfully could have been even easier for us if we just tried. This negativity most often leads us to not being successful. When we think negative, we become stuck somewhere and not progressing and the lack of progression leads us to more failures and shunning opportunities for success. The cycle just goes on and on. This is why we need to be surrounded with positive social support to be able to avoid being eaten up whole by our negativity. This will help us get back on our feet and strive for success in life. Let’s take a closer look at how we can actually apply this kind of idea to parenting.
One of the most common problems of kids is when they haven’t mastered a successful potty training. For example your kid still doesn’t know how to do the right thing even at the age of 4. You start getting this negative thought into your head thinking that you’re not doing well enough in teaching your child. One of the most often resorts that most parents do is to run to their parents for help thinking that they might be able to do something that you’ve failed to do when training your child. The worst thing that it could ever make you feel when you’re not able to accomplish something in your childcare training is that you’d feel like you’re a failure. When you stick that idea of being a failure into your mind, other negative side thoughts would soon come after that. But if you have a good positive support, you won’t be led into frustration or any other negative feeling even more – you will only get otherwise.
If you have a good positive support from people, it’s easier to get rid of the negative feelings. For example, one of your friends may say, “I had the same problem with my son when he was 4 years old too. Sometimes they just need a little more patience from us to help them successfully learn it. If you stay patient and positive, it won’t take too long before he’ll be able to master that. Just give him a longer chance to learn.” Another friend may also say, “I have read a great book about potty training before when I was trying to train my child with it. It has really helped me a lot! I would be more than happy to let you borrow it and learn from it. I am sure it would help you as well!” There are also other types of friends that would make you feel better by making you look at the positive side of things. For example, a friend may say, “Even if your child is already in College, who cares if he still doesn’t master his potty training? Cheer up! I’m sure a lot of other people are struggling with the same thing even if they are older than a college kid!” When you hear this from your positive-minded friends, it’s easier for you to get rid of the negative feelings and anything else that may come with it. Their positivity will not cause you to give up but actually feel encouraged and even more determined to help your child through. Hearing these and having the positive support that they are giving you will help you walk your way to a successful potty training with your kid.
Another problem that you would possibly go through with your kids is their attitude problems or how they are becoming too liberated even with the way that they dress. They tend to forget modesty as something that is crucial and think that they can just wear or not wear anything they want. You want to teach them how to do this but then they keep failing to obey you that even your nanny can’t get help from you in helping your kid change this behavior. So what do you do? You go to your positive minded friends and tell them about it. Hear out what they would like to say if they went through the same situation or can relate in any way when they were younger. One friend may say, “I went through the same problem with my oldest daughter. She’s been badly influenced by the fashion culture of the outside world in a really wrong way and it was very hard for me to deal with it. But I kept my cool and stayed patient with her. I would take her with me on a mom-daughter dates and help her shop for clothes that would make her still look very nice without making her immodest. Try it with your child, I think it will help.” Or another friend may say, “I didn’t have that sort of problem with my kids but I do remember when I was younger of how rebellious I was to my parents and did the same thing. I did not care what was right or wrong with what I was doing just as long as I want it I do it. But you know what? My parents were very patient of me and they actually stick with me through the rebellious times I had towards them. They showed me love, care and compassion that just broke me into realizing that I did wrong and that led me to change. Trust me, if you do that with your child she will realize one day.”
Both of the examples mentioned showed how much help having positive social support can help you with your parenting challenges. This will provide you a way out from your negativity thus helping you embrace the encouragement and eagerness to succeed. Also make sure that you fully inform and teach your babysitter or your nanny with these kinds of tips so that they too can help you accomplish that success.

How to Give Feedback to Your Nanny

| child care, Opinion | 06/06/2013

feedbackYou employ a nanny.  Your nanny is like any other employee: in order for her to do her best, she needs to know what you expect of her.  She needs feedback to know how she’s doing . . . what she’s doing well, where there’s room for improvement, etc.  Here are a few tips on giving performance feedback to your nanny.

*Feedback should be provided promptly.  Don’t wait months after an event before providing your nanny with praise or redirection about that event.

*Feedback should be specific.  Ensure that she knows exactly what she did right or wrong.  If you are redirecting her behaviour, you must tell her not only what she did wrong, but what doing it right would have looked like as well.

*Positive feedback may be public or private.  Negative feedback should be private.  People like to be praised, so feel free to provide your nanny with positive feedback both publicly and privately.  (Public feedback is feedback that is provided in the presence of others.)  Negative feedback (also known as redirection) should only be provided privately.  You (or you and your spouse) should pull the nanny aside and have a private conversation about the behaviour to be redirected.

*You may wish to keep a nanny journal.  A nanny journal is a log of communication between nanny and parents . . . a record of each day’s events as recorded by the nanny, with room for parental feedback as well.  For example, the nanny may write, “9:00 a.m.:  Johnny is crying.  He has a fever of 39C.  I applied a cold wash cloth to his forehead and gave him medicine to help him sleep.  He woke up at 11:15 a.m. feeling much better.  No fever or tears.”  The parents, when reviewing the nanny journal that evening, may write next to that entry, “Susan, if Johnny has a fever over 38C going forward, please call one of us at work.  We’ll need to decide whether to take him to his paediatrician.  The cold wash cloth and medicine were good ideas, and that may be the solution on future occurrences as well, but with a fever of 37.5C or more, we want you to call one of us so we can decide if a doctor is necessary or if the cold wash cloth and medicine approach is best.”

Your nanny is like any other employee: in order for her to do her best, she needs to know what you expect of her.  In order for her to know that, you must provide her feedback on her performance.  You must tell her what she’s doing that is meeting or exceeding your expectations, what she’s doing that is not meeting your expectations, and how she can improve her performance to meet your expectations where she is not currently doing so.  As her employer, you owe her no less.

How to Deal With Your Child When He Lies To His Nanny

| Opinion | 01/06/2013

lying childThere are times when kids lie. It’s all because of their immaturity and lack of knowledge as kids. That is why, as parents, you should know how to help them how to distinguish right from wrong.

So how do you deal with your kids when you find out that they are lying to their nanny?

  1. Discuss with your child about the lie he made. Try to find out why he lied, what motivated him to lie and if it was just about being bored and if he’s just trying to make something exciting happen (in the wrong way). You can also go on discussing to find out if he was trying to avoid being responsible for something he did wrong or tried to protect a friend’s mistake by just lying instead of exposing the truth.

  2. Discuss with your child about the importance of being honest at all cost. Explain how trust can be easily lost without it and how difficult it could be to rebuild trust after that.

  3. Introduce ways in which your child can accomplish his goal without feeling the need to lie. Tell him/her of ways in which he/she can freely express without having to lie.

  4. Discuss with the nanny and enlighten her about the lie. Give her the right perspective to it.

  5. Get your nanny to help out in achieving with your child a good understanding of right and wrong. She may also follow the first three steps above in doing this.

  6. If you notice that your child is constantly lying, just repeat the steps above until he/she will be led to the change.

  7. If after all the efforts of teaching your child how to not lie he’s still doesn’t change for the better, then this time you need to take disciplinary actions towards this repetitive wrong behavior. Make sure that every time you speak with him, you still talk with a loving and gentle sounding tone to avoid threatening him. But this time, you have to make strict points and rules that will help him realize that it’s a serious matter you’re trying to ask him to cooperate with. For example, you can get him grounded for a week. You can say it this way, “Ana, I love you very much and I want to give you the best life you could ever ask for. However, that’s not going to be possible if you don’t change for the better and start telling the truth. Because of this behavior, I will not allow you to attend your friend’s birthday party and you are grounded for a week.” Also make sure that the nanny is taking note of the lies that your child would possibly say every day.

  8. If your child’s lying comes to worst, you have to put him/her under a strict disciplinary action or you may take your child to a psychologist or school counselor.

By following the steps above, you can respond in a good way when your child is lying to the nanny.

Effective Communication with Your Nanny

| Opinion | 30/05/2013

Hiring a wonderful nanny for your children means finding someone that could communicate very well not just with you but also your children. She should be able to have the same outlook or perspective in handling your children’s behaviour and organizing their activities like the way you do. It’s important to keep good communication relationship with your nanny and here are some good ways to do it.

  1. Creating a NANNY JOURNAL – this is one of the best ways to communicate with your nanny every single day. If you want something to be done you can write it down in this journal. For example you want your nanny to feed your kids with something that will keep them healthy, you can write down the name of the task and then explain the instructions on how she should do it. Make it a thorough explanation to be sure that she is doing the exact same thing as you’ve instructed her to do. You can also ask your nanny to communicate the same way with you and freely express the things that she needs to tell you. For example, she has trouble in dealing with your child’s tantrums. She can write down her experience, share what she did to solve it, state whether if it worked or not and then ask questions on how to do better. For example, “Ana wanted something but she couldn’t express it and she just kept on crying the whole day no matter what I do to stop her. What should I do in order to help her with what she needs next time?”

  2. Communicate via CALL and TEXT – this will keep you updated on everything no matter how busy you are and enable you to keep communicating with the nanny as well. Ask her to update you on achievements or anything good that comes up with your child. For example, your nanny may text you, “Ana got a star from class! She’s very happy!” By knowing this, you will know how to reward your child when you get home and make her feel that you’re proud of her.

  3. Communicate via E-MAIL – you may also communicate with your nanny via email. She can email you asking questions like, “Ana’s friend Lucy wants to come over for a tea cup party tonight. Should I say its okay?”

  4. Communicate via VIDEO CHAT – nothing is better than seeing your kids on camera while on a break from work and getting to talk to them about their day. It’s also a good chance for you to communicate with the nanny and respond to any questions that she may have about the children and other things that involves them.

By keeping a good communication relationship with your nanny, you can be sure not to worry about her taking care of your children whether you’re around or not. You can have confidence that she’s on the same page regarding your kids as well as their activities by following the steps above.

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