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Child minders taught how to stay calm and act professionally

17 April 2018

By Marites Palma

There was a lot of enthusiasm when a a new round of child care training began at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Wanchai on Apr 8.

This was despite the low turnout of participants. Of the 50 who quickly filled up the slots opened for the half-day seminar, only 18 showed up, probably because of the confusion that arose from the unexpected recall on Mar 26 of Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre, who had spearheaded the training as part of his continuing education campaign for OFWs.

Participants listened eagerly as the lecturer, Christina Themar of Next Chapters Organization, gave them useful tips on how to take care of a child in a professional manner, and how not to lose their cool when faced with difficult situations.

Cristina Themar (center) of New Chapters Organization, is joined by seminar participants.
Themar demonstrated to the workers what they must do when the child they’re caring for throws a tantrum in a public place. She said the carer needs to take two steps backwards before taking a deep breath, then two steps forward and another deep breath, to cool down and think clearly on what needs to be done.

She said the carer should talk calmly and with her eyes on the same level as her ward so the child feels safe and comforted.

Themar said it is important for the caregiver and her employer to collaborate on a mutually satisfying schedule in looking after a child. Both parties must keep their communication lines open and take interest in the child’s needs as it grows older.

She said there should be a consistency in providing for the needs of children as they benefit from a normal routine.

Lastly, she said carers must be mindful of how they respond to their ward’s misbehavior, and how they impose discipline on a child that has been entrusted to them.

Themar also took up topics like cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity in looking after a child.
She said a caregiver should be aware of the physical and verbal interactions with a child, and should be mindful in disciplining according to the age and behaviour of the child. Further, the level of engagement with children should be clear and concise, and in line with the parents’ expectation to avoid confusion.

If the carer is looking after a sick child, she should respect the medical practices of the family, and not apply any method she may have used with her own children, as this could cause allergy or adverse reaction.

The carer must also prepare and serve food to the children with love and thoughtfulness, and observe cleanliness at all times.

She should also be aware of how her role is seen from the eyes of the family she serves, and understand the level of independence given her when performing daily tasks like riding in public transportation, bathing, getting dressed and completing a child’s homework. This way, problems could be avoided in the course of work.

Part of Themar’s lecture dealt on the proper way of communicating with employers. She said the following are examples of expressions that demonstrate goodwill: “I appreciate it!”, or “sounds like good idea”. When one wants to show her proactive nature, she may say: “Lets work together to plan”, “Why don’t we”, “How about...”?

In suggesting a follow-up, she may say, “Why don’t we touch base tonight when you return home?’ In establishing trustworthiness, the worker might say: “I have your child’s best interest at heart”, or I’ll be there”. In providing positive assurance, one may say, “I am sure we can figure out a way to sort it out”.  When acknowledging, say, “It was really tiring to carry the baby and all of the groceries.”

The carers were told to be honest, and not pretend that they can do everything easily.

“You need to tell the truth so that you can maintain your good health, you also need to protect yourself to have a healthy life while working away from family,” Themar said.

As a final word, she advised them to try to control their emotions when a serious situation arises in the course of work.

“Don’t ever let the little one be the cause of losing your job.”  “Act professionally in attending the needs of your ward”. “Always stay calm” were among her pieces of advice.

Themar invited other migrant workers who also want to develop professional skills in child care to attend future sessions of the Child Care Tarining at POLO.

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