Help maid homesickness – Maid homesickness is a large problem that most employers of new maids deal with.
Whether it is for their children back at home, or a general missing of their hometown’s culture, food, language, homesickness is a very real and a very big problem for some maids.
Here are our top 5 tips to help you deal with maid homesickness.
1. Bring pictures of loved ones
Allow your maid to bring pictures of her loved ones and display them beside her living area / bed.
If she have not brought any, help her to print a few photos, say 4-5 photos of your family and friends, and place them beside her bed.
You can find cheap photo printing at Harvey Norman here.
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Contrary to popular belief, completely cutting off visuals and images of familiar faces does more harm than good for your homesickness.
It cumulates over time and may end up being too large to control once it surfaces. Deal with the issue right from the start to make sure you nip homesickness in the bud.
Also, make sure to not break any of MOM’s laws for domestic helpers here.
2. Arrange for weekly 1 hour family calling time
Have a fixed, pre-set time that your helper can call home.
This timing should be consistent weekly, and should not be interrupted, replaced or postponed regardless of tasks at hand.
This creates a time and habit that both your helper and her family can look forward to each week. It also helps your helper stay up to date and acquainted to her family back home.
Remember, this time is sacred for your helper. Do not treat it lightly or flippantly.
Also, give her space and privacy for her to make the call. She may not be fully comfortable making the call in front of you, even if she is speaking in her native tongue.
3. Reduce idle time
Keep your maid occupied with tasks at hand.
An idle mind tends to wander, and keeping her mind fixed on things to do will help her overcome her inital bout of homesickness.
4. Be explicit on when she can call / message her family members
Set clear expectations on when she can contact or message her family members and when she should refrain from doing so.
A good rule of thumb is to do so at the following timings:
- During lunch time 30 minutes
- During dinner time 30 minutes
- At the end of the day after 9pm
This allows both the family members and her to not stress over her being uncontactable, worrying about her well-being.
5. Give her family your phone number for any emergencies
In addition to the previous point, you can also give your house phone and also your own mobile phone number as an employer to her family to be contacted in case of emergencies.
You can also give your Employment Agency’s number to them.
This way, your maid has peace of mind that whatever medical emergencies or family situations happen back at home will DEFINITELY get to her and she does not need to worry.
Maid Homesickness BONUS: Help her find a support community in SG
Don’t ban her from interacting with other helpers in the neighbourhood.
Although some employers are concerned that their maids get overly-friendly with the next door maids, having zero support is a much larger problem to deal with eventually.
Encourage her to go out on her off days and provide recommendations for her to go to. Remember, she is a stranger in a foreign land and may not know where to go.
Here are some ideas on places for your helper to go:
- Peninsular Plaza
- Lucky Plaza
- Botanic Gardens
- Paya Lebar MRT area
- Orchard Road
- Jurong East (for westies)
- Tampines (for easties)
- Serangoon (for northeasties)
- Yishun (for northies)
Also, help her to join local Facebook groups of domestic helpers that are from her country.
Do however exercise caution with this method as things may get out of hand. You do not want her to pick up bad habits from other local maids as well.