Does a Maid Destroy Your Child’s Character?

Posted in Hiring A Maid at 8:26 pm

If you’re new – I wrote the How to Hire A Maid like a book. Click Table of Contents for future articles and links to old blogs in a more comprehensible order – or just click here & go to the bottom to read it straight through by scrolling up to each article.

Everyone knows of the stereotype of the son of the Lord of the Manor dallying with the new maid. Or you would if you were partial to regency romances. This is no longer a problem with a maid since one’s progeny can dally pretty much wherever they please if they are so inclined.

Having a maid when you have children, particularly young ones, is a life-saver. After a long day of work one does not have to try to have quality time with one’s children while scrubbing toilets. If a maid is keeping the dust mites down you can spend time volunteering to improve your child’s school or community. Maid’s can vastly improve the quality of life you give your children.

There’s just one little problem. It is very easy for children to become accustomed to having someone clean up after them. Given a choice between ignoring piles of shredded love notes that are probably large enough to be a fire hazard and a screaming match to get it cleaned up, it’s easier to chose inaction if you know the maid will be there tomorrow.

No problem you think. My children, stellar examples of humanity that they are, will have their own maids when they grow up. They haven’t really lost a significant life skill. Perhaps not, but you might be horrified to know that your child goes through school treating teachers, librarians and other staff as if they were paid to clean up after your darling child. The children are not rude about it; just unconscious of such things as the impact of every child leaving books taken out of the bookshelves where ever they land instead of on the return cart. Meanwhile, of course, Librarians and other staff with masters and doctorates are doing a slow burn because they are being treated like maids.

Ideally you would imbue your child with your mother’s maid ethic and get them to clean their rooms before the maid comes. This takes the least time long-term and is the least stressful. If you just can’t do it try task time.

Task time is the time when the family (husbands may be excused – we’re not looking for miracles) works on a set of tasks tailored to each individual. Small children get short lists with big check boxes in colorful fonts. Their lists may include eating, getting bathed, getting dressed, making their bed, picking up 20 things in their room and washing the dog bowl. Their lists should cover a number of easy items they can do themselves, taking care of their space with your help, and tasks that contribute to the whole family.

As children get older tasks should take up a 2-4 hour block. I’ve found teaching children to organize closets and other areas results in a home kept in better order, a sense of pride in a legitimate skill and the potential for a lucrative summer job.

There are never guarantees, but hopefully making sure your children spend a significant part of their life taking care of their home will increase the respect they have for others.

1 Comment

  1. Karen said,

    02.18.07 at 11:18 am

    My neighbors are from Venezuela and they have full time help. I have found their children to be very driven academically where as my daughter who helps around the house can be unmotivated academically. I often wonder if she would be more motivated if she did not have to help around the house?