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My daughter is afraid to stay at home with the maid, what should I do?

Q: I am a mother of a 5-year-old girl. I started working when my daughter was 3 and a half years old i.e. when she started going to school. My in-laws and my parents used to look after her during my absence. Eventually we got a full time maid for my daughter. The maid was not good so we sent our daughter to our aunt's house. My mother came to visit us for a few days so my daughter stayed at home with her for 2 months. But after my mother went back, she started giving a lot of trouble. She refused to go back to our aunt's house and wanted me to be with her all the time. She kept on asking when will I return from office and fell sick for a couple of days. She told us that she'll be fine if she was at home with a maid. So we arranged for a maid. But she still cries and keeps on asking for me. She cries and throws tantrums when I leave for office. On a holiday she wants to know what time I shall be back from office the next working day. She asks about this every two minutes. She says that she is scared to stay with the maid when we are away. We have tried the hard and the soft ways but nothing seems to work. Please advise.

A:Have you checked out the credentials of the new maid you have employed? Have you watched her interact with your daughter? Perhaps she is very stern and the little girl does not like her. Without knowing more details, I am very hesitant to comment. For some reason, your child's anxiety about being alone with the maid has increased. For the child, it is a real situation and not something she is putting on to have you near her. See if you can get a joint arrangement with other mothers in your neighbourhood, where three or four children are taken care of by one caregiver. In that way the children will have each others company and it might be possible to have a qualified caregiver. Alternatively, a day care centre or creche (in the holidays and after school hours) would be a good idea. But I have no idea whether such facilities are available where you live. You will also have to spend time with your child reassuring her that you are there for her. Distract her with interesting play materials and books, but be gentle with her.

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