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6 Tips for Surviving with Kids without a Live-in Helper

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 30, 2020 8:00:00 PM / by Cheryl Tan

My friends have often glanced at my three little active boys, then back at me in admiration (or sometimes pity), and said, “I don’t know how you guys do it. How do you manage with three kids and no helper?” You must be wondering the same too, so I shall share my tips here with you!

3 little boys


1.Inculcate Good Habits

Cleaning up

It is important to teach your child to clean up his mess and to take care of his toys. In this way, your child will also learn to take responsibility for his actions, and gain life skills such as sorting, tidying, and organizing things. Besides, the toys are less likely to get lost and there will be less likelihood of injuries from trampling on toys strewn on the floor. I’m sure that you’ll agree with me that your life will be less stressful if you didn’t have to nag at your child to keep his toys or clean up his mess. You will feel happier living in a neat and clean home, too.

My toddler constantly messes up the house as he plays. It’s like a war zone at home, with booby-traps sprawling across all areas of the home. I have recently started to train him to keep his toys before taking new ones out to play, and he is happy to do so if I do the tidying up along with him.

toddler sweeping floor

Good sleep habits

Establishing a regular bedtime routine will help your child to wind down before bedtime and get a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved overall mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, and even depression.

We trained all our children to fall sleep on their own before they turned one. Our family’s bedtime routine consists of a bath, brushing of teeth, quiet play, reading a couple of books, saying a prayer, and lastly, lots of hugs and kisses before lights out, and saying goodnight.


2. Division of Labour

Doing household chores will not only help your child to develop gross and fine motor skills, but also instill self-discipline, and build confidence in your child. Being able to help around the house and contribute to the well-being of the family will give your child a sense of ownership and achievement.

I have three boys aged nine, five, and two. My two-year old has learnt to wipe the dining table and load the laundry into the washing machine. In addition to these duties, my five-year old is also able to fold our clothes and wash the dishes. Since he’s too short to reach the overhead dish rack, we place a dishtowel on the kitchen table beside the sink for him to place the clean dishes on. He also enjoys it when we pair him up with his older brother to soap the dishes, while his brother rinses them and places them on the overhead dish rack. In addition to this, my nine-year-old son also helps to take out the trash.

I have a friend whose children, at the age of eight and ten, are capable of preparing a full meal for the family. I have dreams of being served breakfast in bed. Perhaps I should consider sending my boys for cooking classes one day!

young boy washing dishes


3. Delivery

Daily essentials and Food supplies

Getting your groceries delivered saves a lot of time and energy. Plus, home-cooked meals are generally healthier because you can control the amount of oil, salt, and sugar content in your food. Some parents choose to cook simple one-pot meals for the ease of cleaning up thereafter. Do you know that you can stock up on your daily essentials and food supplies by ordering groceries online and getting them delivered right to your doorstep? Some sites you can consider include the following: Fairprice, Redmart, Market Fresh, and Amazon Prime Now. You can select your preferred delivery time slot so that there will be someone to receive the items at home.

Cooked meals

If you neither have the time nor energy to prepare a meal, do not fret! It is very convenient these days to order your meals using delivery applications (apps) such as Food Panda, Deliveroo, and Grab Food. You can specify your desired delivery time and location when you place an order. Here’s a tip for you: enjoy savings when you purchase food delivery promotion codes at discounted rates! I have purchased Food Panda and Grab Food promotion codes on Shopee. These promotion codes can be keyed in during the check-out process when you place your order using the food app.

My family often orders meals for dinner on weekdays because we do not have the time to cook after a long day’s work. Also, just thinking about the mess in the kitchen and dishes in the sink gives me a headache! I save the cooking for some weekends when I have the time, energy, and inspiration for it.


4. Family Support

I am extremely grateful to my mum and parents-in-law for providing ad hoc babysitting services and weekly home-cooked meals. Honestly speaking, I would find it difficult to cope without their support.

Young children fall sick often. Each episode of sickness lasts for a minimum of three days, with some illnesses such as hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) lasting longer than a week. With three kids in tow and limited annual/childcare leave available, it would be challenging for us to juggle between our family and our full-time jobs, if we didn’t have help from our parents. We sometimes seek family support to look after our children when they are at the tail end of their recovery.

Childcare centres are also allowed six days of closure per calendar year for Teacher’s Day, staff training, as well as to enhance their curriculum and centre operations. Here’s a tip for you: If you send your children to the same childcare centre, it will be easier for you to drop them off and pick them up from the same location and get the most mileage from your leave. Should you decide to enroll your children in a childcare centre, do plan ahead and secure a place for your child in a centre either close to your home, your parent’s place, or your workplace. Book early to avoid disappointment.

A friend who recently delivered her first child in a foreign country had to cope without any confinement help available. Thankfully, she has a group of friends who took turns to deliver weekly meals to her home, and this allowed her more time to focus on looking after her baby. If you do not have adequate family support and struggle to cope with handling your kids at home, do reach out to your friends for help and support. Conversely, you could also volunteer to help your friends in need.


5. Engage Part-Time Help

Home cleaning

It is time-consuming to keep your home spick and span. If you prefer to spend this precious time with your children, you can consider engaging a part-time home cleaner to clean your home and to do some ironing.

When we were newlyweds, my husband and I spent our weekends doing household chores. We split the workload where he did the vacuuming, while I did the mopping. We’d both wash one toilet each and take turns to wash the dishes. This arrangement continued until I was expecting my firstborn child, after which we engaged a part-time home cleaner so that I could get some rest and relax over the weekend. To this day, our part-time home cleaner cleans the house and irons our clothes, and we have never looked back since.


Engaging  a home babysitter you trust is a great option, especially if:

  • you have an urgent matter to attend to
  • you plan to go on a long-awaited date with your spouse
  • you want to reduce your child’s exposure to danger in the environment by minimizing outdoor travel

When engaging a babysitter, here are some tips to help you select the right one for your child:

  • evaluate the reputation of the babysitting agency and check for customer reviews online
  • check the credentials of the babysitter and the years of experience she has
  • communicate your child’s personality, specific care requirements and your expectations to the babysitting agency beforehand

CaregiverAsia provides affordable babysitting services by the hour. By communicating your requirements to their care consultants, they will be able to recommend experienced babysitters that best suit your needs.

Infographic - Three Tips to Choose the Right Babysitter for Your Child

6. Work Hard, Play Hard

Take time to recharge and reset. After having a long week at work or in school, you and your child can recharge over the weekend with some rest, and of course, play! Play is crucial for a child’s learning and development, and is often the time when your child learns the most. Play gives children different sensory, physical, and cognitive experiences. Whether it’s an infant playing “peek-a-boo,” a toddler playing make-believe, or an older child playing a board game, play develops physical and social skills, stimulates a child’s imagination, and makes kids better adjusted, smarter, and less stressed. Besides, playing builds confidence and lets your child feel loved, happy, and safe.

Here’s the good news: play is beneficial for people of all ages! Play can add joy to your life, help you relieve stress, and strengthen the bond you have with your child. So, carve out some time to play!

3 kids at playground


We chose not to have a live-in helper because we value our privacy and we don’t have space for a 6th person in our humble abode. We enjoy spending time bonding with our children. Honestly, it’s not ‘easy peasy lemon squeezy’, but I hope that these 6 tips will help you better manage life with kids without a live-in helper!


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Related articles you may like:

Why is it important to offer 15 minutes of undivided attention to your kid every day?

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Child Everyday

5 Foolproof Tips in Choosing the Right Babysitter in Singapore

6 Tips for Postpartum Recovery


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Topics: Wellness, Caring For Your Children

Cheryl Tan

Written by Cheryl Tan

Cheryl enjoys spending time with three of her cheeky little boys, and occasionally goes for a swim or catches up with her friends over high tea.

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