So you’ve done your research and finally found a nanny or yaya that seems to fit the bill. She has a glowing letter of recommendation from her previous employer (or  the assurance of your best friend’s trusted yaya who happens to be the yaya’s aunt) her NBI, barangay and medical paperwork in check and has agreed to the terms of her employment (i.e. salary, days off etc). She breezed through her interview and met your child (your husband, mother and/or mother-in-law), with whom she got along  instantly and you were left with a satisfied smile on your face because you know, deep down inside, you have found The One.

She moves in and things go smoothly for the most part. Welcoming a new person into your household does take some adjusting. But minor kinks aside, a month or two into the new partnership, you are still a happy employer and she, a happy employee. Then one evening, when putting your not-too-cooperative little one to bed, your child asks you “Mama, if I don’t follow what yaya says, will the mumu really come and get me?” “What mumu?” you ask. “The one that lives in the big tree in the back.” says your little one.


Suddenly, you have flashbacks to when you were a little girl and were told by your yaya to behave or else the kapre will kidnap you. You never totally believed her but would occasionally have bad dreams involving giants and eventually, develop a silent, mistrusting uncertainty when standing under old trees.

Not wanting your child to grow up harboring unnecessary paranoias, you decide it’s time to have a discussion with your almost-perfect yaya. Here are some tips on what to bring to that table:

1. Spell out the things you do and do not want her to do and spell it out in a way that is simple, clear and understandable.  Point out that when some kind of disciplinary action is needed, there will be no threats of supernatural abduction or otherwise. Instead, talk to her about how you want situations handled, depending on your parenting style. You should let her know how you want her to teach, encourage and discipline your child. You need to get her on board with how you want your child raised. She needs to know what you expect from her.

2. To further illustrate your dos and don’ts, do some simple role play scenarios. After discussing your methods, take on the role of your child and act out (as accurately as possible) some difficult scenarios. Ask your yaya to play along and practice what you had just talked about. Role plays are fun and effective ways to illustrate and practice the rules you had just laid out. Another great effect of doing role plays is that they make you stronger as a team and put you on the same page. Your yaya  is, after all, your teammate in raising your child.

3.  Once you’ve thoroughly talked about your expectations and have equipped her with the tools to deal with situations the way you want them dealt with, it’s time to motivate.  Let them know why you needed to hire them in the first place and how important their role is in the family. They are your eyes and ears for when you can’t be with your child so let them know how much you value their ability to be that. Also assure them that as far as your child is concerned, the lines of communication are always open and if they do not know how to handle certain situations, they ask you and not the kapre in the old tree in the back yard. She also needs to know that if your child comes to you complaining about yaya, but yaya handled the situation the way you talked about, you have yaya’s back.

4. Listen. If yaya has had a lot of experience  and your child presents you with a situation you aren’t quite sure how to handle,  talk about it with yaya and you just might learn a thing or two.

Like in any relationship, clear communication is important.  Make sure that you keep those lines open with your yaya as you cannot expect her to know how you want to do things. Unless of course, mind-reading is part of your job description.


printed with permission from Celebrity Living Magazine Philippines