In winter, employers with babies/kids often complain that their helpers from the Philippines are not keeping their kids warm enough, which results in their kids getting cold and may even necessitate a visit to see doctor. The Philippines is a country in the tropics, and most of the people there have never experienced winter. It is normal for the helper to lack awareness about weather change and how it may effect the health of the kids. They naturally won't know how many clothes they should help the kids to put on before bed, when going out, or how to control the environment at home during bath time. It is unrealistic to expect them to be as conscious about this as Hong Kong people are, because we have experienced winter since birth!
What can we do to equip our helper(s) to take care of our kids better in winter? Below are three tips to help your helper take good care of your kids during the cold winter months.
USE THIS SIMPLE TECHNIQUE TO CHECK BODY TEMPERATURE AND ADJUST CLOTHING/COVERINGS ACCORDINGLY
Use your hand to check the nape of their neck and/or the bottom of their feet to see if the child is warm enough. The nape of the neck or the bottom of the feet should be warm to the touch. If their nape/soles are cold, then the child is not warm enough, and we should help them to put on more clothes. If the child is too hot and beginning to sweat, the maid should remove their coat or outer clothing. If the maid shares a room with your child, teach her to check the child's temperature before she herself goes to bed and if she wakes up in the night she should check the child's temperature again. Tell your helper to ask you if she doesn't know what quilts you want used on your child's bed, or if she is not sure of which clothes to use.
Clarify with your helper which clothes are "indoor" clothes and which are "outdoor" clothing. In addition teach her which clothes are appropriate for the different seasons. Before your child goes out you should have already instructed your helper as to what clothes you want them to wear. By giving careful instructions ahead of time, you will avoid misunderstanding, disappointment and unpleasantness later on.
AVOID EARLY MORNING CHILLS BY ...
When the children wake up in the morning, dress them in warm clothes immediately such as: vests and jackets. Give the children their breakfast, and allow their bodies to warm up before taking off their jacket. Make sure that the children wear slippers or slip socks. Do not let children walk around barefoot at home, because when the sole is in direct contact with the ground, children catch cold more easily..
MANAGE THE CHILD'S SWEAT
During the winter the children wear more clothes and sweat more easily. Your helper should have the habit of putting a small towel or cloth at the back of the child's neck to absorb sweat. If, after inspection, they find it is wet, they should replace it as soon as possible with a dry cloth/towel. Using a small towel will keep the child's clothing from getting wet and help prevent the child from catching a chill.
Our next post will share how how to safely bathe children during the cold winter months.
Kathy LAM is a registered nurse and mother of three children. She works at Arrow as a coach for employers and parents. She teaches infant care, breastfeeding and child massage. If you would like some coaching in breastfeeding or infant massage, contact Arrow.