Are you looking for ideas on how to empower your nanny to be the best? Here are a few tips.
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32-year-old Rose Okutoi has been working as a house help for the past 10 years. When she first came to Nairobi, her plan was to become a chef.
Since she wasn’t able to afford to go to college, Rose opted to become a house help. She hoped she could earn and save enough money and then join college.
But as time went by, Rose watched her dreams evaporate. Her role as a house help involved working long hours and receiving peanuts as a salary.
Often, her employer would fail to pay her or deduct part of her salary when she felt like doing so.
“I feared even dropping a plastic cup on the floor,” she said. “I still remember the many times my boss deducted my salary because a cup dropped!”
As time went by, the husband of her employer got her pregnant, leading to her dismissal. Luckily, Rose met a Good Samaritan who offered to help her to get back on her feet.
When her baby could fend for herself, Rose resumed her work as a house help. Rose wishes someone would have cared about her personal dreams and goals. Rose is not the only house help who needs empowerment.
What is the role of a nanny?
A nanny is usually a female employee who helps take care of a child at home. A nanny can either be a blessing or a mom’s worst nightmare.
In the Kenyan context a nanny is commonly known as a house help. Because they take care of more than watching your child, it is proper to refer to them as house managers.
A house help’s role may include and not limited to:-
- taking care of your baby
- washing clothes and utensils
- mopping the house
- preparing food for the whole family
- helping older children with their homework
How to empower your nanny to be the best
A typical house help wakes up before her employer and goes to bed after her employer. She is often overworked, despised and underpaid. This should not be the case because a house help provides a crucial service.
Unless it is a preferred career path, most house helps use this as a stepping stone. Besides, most of them do not have a choice and working as a house help becomes the only source of income. But this does not mean that they don’t need empowerment.
Empowering your nanny starts with showing her love, respect and caring about her. As part and parcel of your family she deserves this and much more.
Suggestions on how you can empower your nanny
- Your house help is not part of the furniture or the wall. Do not treat her as something that appears and disappears at the flick of your magic wand.
- Involve her in your daily family conversations and interactions. Make it clear to everyone you come in contact with that she is part of the family.
- Encourage your children and spouse to assist in house chores to lessen her burden.
- Go on trips with her whenever your family goes on a vacation. Alternatively, you can offer to pay for her vacation if you need to spend a private time with your family.
- Since she spends lots of time with your children, they should respect her as they respect you. This will enable your children to treat others without prejudice.
- Pay her an acceptable salary and on time. When you are not able to do so, explain to her without delay. Give her a salary increment even when she doesn’t deserve it.
- Listen to her ideas, dreams and goals. Allow her to eat together at the family table and give her time off on a regular basis.
- Enrol her for short courses that will improve her skills and add value to her work. This courses can be in cooking, first aid and other skills related to taking care of your family. These are good examples of how to empower your nanny to be the best.
A house help is very important member of your family. She deserves respect, care and love. One of the best ways of empowering her is finding out what her personal dreams and goals are.
Once she shares what she would like to become, you can help her come up with a saving plan. When your children are in school, you can allow her to start attending part time classes.
Help her to find a place where she can work as an intern and gain practical skill in her field or profession. When time comes for her to leave and be on her own, throw a celebration party and allow her to exit with her head held high.
These are a few examples of how to empower your nanny to be the best. Feel free to leave comments on how else a house help can be empowered.
I learned a lot when I was 14 and 15 years old doing chores inside and outside the household, and as a result, I grew up with a good work ethic.
– Jack Kingston
James Ouma is a CTI Clarity Coach, Cyclist and Writer. He is passionate about positive masculinity and helping incarcerated male teens to reconcile with their families and their communities. He loves staring at his bicycle, flipping through movies without watching them, and playing ‘tap out’ with his wife.