What To Do If Your Child Prefers Your Domestic Helper To You

15 November 2017

In many expat and Singaporean households, the kids are often left in the care of a helper while Mum and Dad work. Should you be concerned that your child is close to her, or should you be happy that she likes your helper because she’s treated lovingly and is well taken care of?

Dr. Ken Ung, senior consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist at Pacific Healthcare, says you shouldn’t be concerned. After all, it’s only natural that children form attachments to their main caregivers.

And there’s no need to feel uncomfortable or even jealous about sharing your child’s attention with the helper, he explains. Understand that your baby is capable of forming an emotional bond with more than one adult. She might share a connection with your helper, but that doesn’t mean she can’t establish one with you.

Here’s what else you can do to cope with the unease?


1. Get involved in your child’s routine

You probably want to flop into a chair at the end of a workday, but feeding, bathing or changing your little one can bring you closer together. Get involved whenever you can – even more so on days when you’re not working.

Eddy Lam, founder of maid agency 121 Personnel also advises parents against “delegating parenting to the helper and limiting the amount of time she spends with the kids, if needed.” 


2. Relax and enjoy

Parenting may be serious business, but it should also be enjoyable. Spend more time playing, singing, talking and cuddling, and less time worrying about how much the helper can do for your baby.

Even if your baby protests initially, pick her up to soothe her instead of leaving her to your helper. She just needs time to adjust to you.


3. Talk to your helper

Let her know you want to get more involved with your little one, and ask her to encourage your child to be excited for your return at the end of the day.

And, when you’re at work, find ways to communicate with your kid. For example, speak to your tot on the phone during lunch break, so she’ll recognise your voice.

But if you continue to be troubled by the thought of not spending enough time with your child, then consider exploring alternative arrangements such as flexi-time or part-time work, or work-from-home days. You can also consult home services like Amahs on Wheels, which can help you with flexible home cleaning services to free up your day for you to spend time with your kid.


Adapted from Young Parents, November 2017

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