KidPass – One Pass to Amazing Activities

We recently teamed up with KidPass to learn more about the thousands of activities they offer to kids throughout the New York area. Read our Q&A below to see how one pass can unlock a new world of fun for your little one(s). A special discount offer for Bell Family may even be in store, too!

Q: What are some examples of the variety of activities offered by KidPass? Are the activities for children of all ages? 

A: Have you ever found yourself with a restless child and lots of time to fill? KidPass to the rescue!  KidPass can get your child into 5,000 places to play in New York City like Kidville, Gymboree, NY Kids Club, 92Y, lots of swimming pools, all kinds of classes, and tons of open play spaces throughout NYC. If you can dream it, KidPass can take your kids there, and we have activities for newborns, toddlers, and kids up to age 17.

Q: What are the different plans you offer those looking to join, and how do the plans work?

A: Most of our parents choose the KidPass Basic Plan. For $49 a month, you get 10 credits to use on activities of your choice. Search by date and neighborhood, find an activity you like, and book it on our site. Your spot will be waiting for you when you arrive. If you ever want more credits, we’ve got a Family plan and a Power plan too.

Q: Many families have busy schedules and require flexibility. How flexible are the memberships and class schedules? Is there a fee for cancellations?

A: Oh we know how it is! We are all parents at KidPass and we know that plans can change quickly. If you make a reservation with KidPass and need to cancel it, your safest bet is to cancel it 24 hours in advance. And if you ever want to cancel your KidPass membership, there are no penalties for pausing or cancelling your account.

Q: How does a family or childcare provider get started?

A: We’re inviting all our friends from Bell Family to try KidPass for free for one month! Use this link and the discount will be applied at checkout. Come play with us soon!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Bell Family Has Their Very Own IRONMAN

Lauren Kruk, Bell Family’s Nanny Services Manager, has accomplished something most people have not. She has successfully trained and completed in an IRONMAN competition, proving that the Bell Family team is one strong bunch.

Read below to hear directly from Lauren, and her experience from earlier this summer.

On Sunday July 23rd, I completed in IRONMAN Lake Placid. IRONMAN consists of a 2.4 mile swim in open water, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run (in that order). Being a part of a triathlon club and starting with small races in 2014, it was always a dream of mine to complete the largest triathlon distance, and as Lake Placid is the longest running IRONMAN event in North America (and also beautiful!), it was an easy choice to achieve my dream there. I started training before the new year, and in a matter of 6 months I had racked up 523 running miles, 1,675 miles on the bike, and 50 miles in water. It was challenging, exhausting, but exhilarating and emotional. An IRONMAN has a 17 hour cutoff; all disciplines are timed (with transitions between each timed too). I finished in 14:43 and I’ll never forget the feeling of crossing that finish line. It’s true what they say, anything is possible!

Lauren-race

On behalf of all your teammates at Bell Family, CONGRATS LAUREN! We’re so proud of you!

Training Thursday Vol. 14 – Swaddling

Welcome to volume 14 of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we release a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.

This week we are featuring a training video on swaddling!

Here are some quick how-to steps to keep in mind:

  1. Once the blanket is placed down on the surface (top folded down like a triangle) place the baby’s neck line in line with the top of the blanket.
  2. Wrap down, up, and then around the baby.
  3. Make the blanket secure around the baby’s body by tucking the remaining part underneath.
  • Tip: Look for a tag that is attached to the blanket. There is often instructions on the tag if you need a refresher.

In addition to our follow-along training video, you can read more details about How to Swaddle a Baby through parenting.com and the 5 Reasons to Swaddle Your Baby through Precious Little Sleep.

These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social worker.

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Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

Dinner Is Served – Vol. 6

With back to school season upon us, those complex, time-consuming meals are left back in the days of summer.

Summertime is a great time to experiment with recipes because you often find the kids preoccupied, and time is in your favor. Finally, those recipes that have been pinned to your Pinterest board for the past year get some action!

But what happens when the kids go back to school, your calendar sees little free time, and dinner should have been on the table 30 minutes ago?

Insert this great recipe for four-ingredient pesto chicken!

Four-Ingredient Pesto Chicken

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 3 chicken breasts

Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts, organic recommended
1 -  6 oz. jar basil pesto
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
3 slices mozzarella cheese

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Place chicken breasts in a baking dish.
Use a spoon to cover chicken with pesto.
Top each chicken breast with one slice of mozzarella cheese and two slices of tomato.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Broil the chicken the final two  minutes so that the cheese is bubbly and golden.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Upcoming Event: The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival

Will you be strolling the streets of NYC this weekend looking for something to do? Head on over to Westfield World Trade Center on August 26th-27th, for a weekend full of flavor and fun with The Creative Kitchen!

The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices to help create wholesome lifelong eating habits for both kids and parents. The weekend-long event offers a host of family-friendly activities including food demonstrations, live entertainment, food sampling, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt, giveaways, and more! The event is free and open to the public for General Admission.

And for those enthusiastic eaters and little epicures alike, you can attend hands-on cooking classes at the James Beard Foundation Future Pavilion, where renowned chefs pass on their recipes, skills, and love for all things culinary to a new generation of learners!

Visit the website, on the Kids Food Festival Facebook page, and on Twitter at @KidsFoodFestFun to stay up-to-date on all things about the event.

Kids Food Festival 2017 Digitial Poster

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

The Best of NYC Mom Groups

Are you new to the city, raising children on or near the Upper East Side? Do you need a new mom network, or some fun and easy suggestions for activities with the kids?

We gathered a great list of  NYC mom groups to help meet local moms and make playdates with children the same age as your own.

Our top three UES centric things to do with kids:

1. The Craft Studio
2. My Gym: Lincoln Center
3. The MET

Need more? Kidz Central Station is a great spot to search for classes all over Manhattan and Brooklyn for ages infant and up, and Mommy Poppins, “Top 50 Things to Do for NYC Families” has great suggestions, too!

Happy Mom-Grouping!

SistterMoms

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Training Thursday Vol. 13 – Stroller Safety

Welcome to volume 13 of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we release a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.

This week we are featuring a training video on stroller safety!

Here are some fast stroller safety tips:

1. Make sure the brake is on when you place the baby/child in the stroller, and that you unlatch the brake when you are ready to push the stroller.
2. Make sure the child is properly dressed for the weather (take sunscreen on a warm, sunny day, make sure the child has a hat and warm jacket on a cold day, etc.). Check the temperature before you go outside.
3. Make sure all straps are properly fastened on the child before pushing the stroller.
4. If you are carrying heavy bags on the stroller, be careful the stroller does not tip backwards. It is best to keep items stored underneath the stroller.
5. If you need to stop and are on a decline or hill, make sure to use the brake for added support.

Read more from Parent’s Magazine on stroller safety here.

These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social worker.

Stroller

Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

Parental Phone Use Linked to Child Behavior?

The amount of screen time isn’t only something to be cautious of for children, but it’s also something to keep top of mind for parents. In a recent article published by The Bump, it discusses how a child’s behavior can be influenced by the parent’s relationship with their cellphone.

The study was conducted by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Illinois State University, and involved 170 two-parent households. The parents were asked to fill out a short survey, which included questions about 1) their use of smartphones, computers, tablets and other devices, 2) how this usage may interfere with family time, and 3) details about their child behavior issues within the last two months.

At the conclusion of the survey, 48% of parents said two or three technology interruptions were standard for a given day.

“We know that parents’ responsiveness to their kids changes when they are using mobile technology and that their device use may be associated with less-than-ideal interactions with their children. It’s really difficult to toggle attention between all of the important and attention-grabbing information contained in these devices, with social and emotional information from our children, and process them both effectively at the same time.”

Senior Author, Jenny Radesky, MD

At the end of the day, it may be challenging to make the direct correlation between technology interruptions and child behavior, but it’s certainly something to keep at the forefront of parents’ minds.

For the full article on thebump.com, click here.

Phone-1

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Training Thursday Vol. 12 – Bad Behavior

Welcome to volume 12 of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we release a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.

This week we are featuring a training video on how to redirect bad behavior.

Here are some fast redirecting bad behavior tips for ages 3 years and up:

1. Divert the child’s attention into other activities. For example, if the child is having a tantrum, start setting up a picnic on the floor and talk about how much fun it is. The child may forget what he/she was upset about and join you.

2. Give clear choices of what the child can do next as an option - 1, 2, or 3 options at the most.

3. Get down to their level and ask them why they are upset, or try to read them – are they hungry (is it past meal/snack time), are they tired?

4. Be sure to keep calm yourself. Children can always sense when we (as adults/childcare providers) get anxious or upset. They feed off that energy. Keeping cool and calm for the child will provide the best result.

Read more from Parent’s Magazine on how to manage bad behavior in children here.

These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social worker.

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Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

 

Inside Scoop on Explore + Discover Early Learning Center

Along Second Avenue in New York City, you’ll come across an organization like no other.  Explore + Discover Early Learning Center is an organization that provides both excellent and unique childcare in the heart of Manhattan. Infants and toddlers will feel right at home as they receive nurturing care, and learn life-long social and physical skills.

Bell Family had the opportunity to talk with the Co-Founder & President of Explore + Discover for a Q&A, to provide a quick guide for families on why this should be their new go-to for childcare.

Q: How does a family apply to be part of Explore + Discover? How much advance time should a family give for the application process? Do you offer all age programs?

Families begin the application process by calling and setting up a time to visit the center. Once the date/time are scheduled, prospective parents (with or without child/children) come in for a visit with our Director and/or Educational Director. This accomplishes a number of important objectives, including but not limited to:

- Giving us an opportunity to learn more about the child and family.
- Allowing us to more completely explain how the program operates, and answer any questions.
- Letting the family see the facility, and the program in action.

We recommend that if a family is considering applying to the program at that point, that they fill out an application and pay the application fee at the time of their visit. This allows the family to be in the queue, and if they should decide to take next steps to join the program, we have their information and are able to move things along fairly quickly.

Advance time is always recommended—we have some families who come to us when they are thinking of conceiving, which is wonderful (and frankly pretty forward-thinking from a family-planning POV).  At the same time, we keep our doors open to families who may not make preparations in advance, and if we can accommodate them, we are happy to!

Q: What does a common day look like for an infant or toddler at Explore + Discover? What kind of activities can they expect to be apart of?

A typical day for a child at Explore + Discover involves a combination of open exploration, thoughtfully planned creative experiences, and careful attention to caregiving routines.

We believe that allowing children time for exploration through free play each day is vital for social and emotional growth. Each classroom environment is designed with the age and developmental level of the children in mind, offering high quality open-ended materials to encourage creative play.

We also offer a variety of open-ended art and musical experiences throughout the week. Art specialists, as well as classroom teachers, plan engaging activities as a creative outlet for the children. Painting, mark making or drawing, working with clay, and collage are just a sampling of the experiences in our art studio.

Many of our teachers play the guitar and each class is visited by the music teachers, where they listen to, and eventually sing along with familiar songs and rhymes. As part of our Music Before Words program, the children are exposed to a variety of instruments. They are encouraged to listen to the sounds, move to the music, and even touch or play each instrument.

A thoughtful focus on caregiving makes Explore + Discover unique. Feeding, sleeping, and diapering routines are looked at as a time for bonding and beginning to encourage independence.

Q: What are some key items you look to teach the children that attend Explore + Discover? Tell us about your mission.

At Explore + Discover, our goal is to set the foundation for children to become lifelong learners.

We encourage them to investigate their curiosities and wonderings by providing an engaging classroom environment and enriching open-ended materials.

We believe that teachers are partners in learning rather than the keepers of knowledge, therefore providing opportunities for exploration, creating, and questioning.

Using the children’s natural interests and developmental stage as a starting point, the teachers design curriculum unique to each group. By the time the children leave E+D, it is our hope that they have developed the self-confidence, problem solving skills, and inquisitiveness needed to navigate the upcoming years of school.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell