Expat children and household help usually go hand-in-hand when you’re living in Indonesia. It’s always been advantageous for us to have help around but as my children are getting older, I’m starting to believe that household staff is actually detrimental to their development. Why? The main reason is because it hinders their independence and creates the mindset that responsibility can be outsourced. Although I am not rushing to let my maid go, there are many changes that I can make to ensure that my children grow up with a sense of accountability and ownership of their duties. The best way to teach them this is by allowing my children to complete their own chores and help out around our home.
Truthfully, it’s not an easy task because children are more concerned with playing rather than cleaning. The following are some monumental steps that families can take towards having a balanced household:
One of the advantages of living in Indonesia is being able to hire a nanny for your children. Expats, however, sometimes imagine nannies to be a cheery “Mary Poppins” lady with tactical child-minding powers and a skillset to cure all childhood issues. The reality of a nanny in Indonesia may be far from this foreign perception. Skills like first aid, child discipline, and childhood play are not always a part of the package. Becoming a nanny in Indonesia requires no specific vocational training or work experience. Continue reading
I do not enjoy travelling with my kids. Sometimes the vacation is worth the pain and suffering we go through to get to the destination, and sometimes it’s not. It has definitely become easier over the years as we have gained more experience, so here is what we have learned so far.
PICKING THE RIGHT LOCATION
I went through a stage where my children were constantly sick and down with some kind of bug. Initially I thought the causes for their ill health were environmental, and as an expat mother, I felt guilty for exposing my children to a foreign country that could potentially be harming their health. So, I did some research, spoke to several doctors and asked my friends from around the world about their experiences with childhood illnesses. I concluded that what we experienced was normal. They all suffered from the same kind of illnesses. Continue reading
I’ve had a very busy social calendar lately. As a mum of three young kids, none of it would have been possible without living in Jakarta; having the support from my household staff, or husband.
I haven’t always been this social. Continue reading
I was recently contacted by a reader who is moving to Jakarta at the end of the year with her young family from the USA. As you can understand, she is slightly nervous for the move. Jakarta can be intimidating for an outsider coming in. Especially if you are a mother and have never been to Asia! There are many concerns raised by newcomers and the most common themes are around health, safety, schooling and, nannies, of course!
Today I wanted to answer a common question about searching for a nanny and pembantu (maid) before arriving in Jakarta. When I was planning our move from Singapore to Jakarta, I had a 20 month old toddler and a newborn baby. Being used to having a live in helper (nanny) in Singapore, I was very eager to find another one before I arrived! But I waited and I’m glad I did.
On the hot topic of nannies this week, I have a friend who is new to Jk and is currently looking for a nanny. It can be a really daunting task, especially if nannies are new to your family and your culture.
It’s a very personal decision, like inviting a new member into your family, who you will trust to take care of your little ones.
There are so many other elements to consider. Will you hire a live in nanny or live out nanny? What is the right salary? Does she need a health check? Is she First Aid trained or has any previous training? I will write more about these things in later posts, but today, I wanted to focus on one point only.
When I am hiring a nanny for my family, I make sure that I hire someone who has a genuine love for children. Every nanny you interview will say that, yes, they love children! So I ask their previous employer or their reference (in my case, my previous nanny’s sister). “Does she love children?”
Nannies, nannies, nannies!
As an expat in Jk, I promise you that this will be a very hot topic of mine! One of the first things I recommend any newbie into the city to do is find a good nanny!
Here are some of my tips for finding a nanny (the same applies for maids):
1. No need for agencies (I can recommend a few good ones later)! Just ask around. Ask your husband to ask his work colleagues for any leads. Chances are, there was someone with a family who left the company before you arrived or will be leaving very soon. Meaning, there is a nanny looking for work. Continue reading