Category Archives: Uncategorized

Potty Training – What You Need to Know

The exact age that a child should be potty trained is…

There isn’t one!

Generally speaking, healthy children aren’t physically and emotionally ready to start using a potty until they are between 18 months and 3 years old.

In America and most of Western Europe, the age of potty training is all over the board. Some train at 18 months and some don’t get there until 4. With that said, training earlier will save money on diapers and wipes, will make parents lives easier, and is much kinder to the environment. Three things that will make parents think, let’s start potty training now!

However, some parents are waiting longer to potty train. Why you ask?

  1. Disposal diapers – There isn’t much motivation to do more laundry
  2. “Wait till they’re ready” -  Most parents are under the impression that “ready” means the child will completely self train one glorious moment. Let’s just say, that’s rare.
  3. Power of social media – The internet is a big factor. One rare potty training horror story can easily be spread, striking fear in thousands of parents.

 

Needless to say, parents have to decide what the best age and approach is for their child. It can have much more to do with parents and their partner’s readiness than one would think.

Allow your instinct to guide you, because after all, who knows your child better than you?

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 8.53.50 AM

This article was repurposed from lusiceslist.com. For the full article, read here

Raising a Bold, Brave, and Self-Reliant Boy

Have you ever wondered what motivates and drives your son in his everyday life? Teaching empowerment and belief in oneself is important, and it’s something parent’s can learn about in an upcoming event in New York City.

Join author and psychologist Dr. Adam Price,  for an event explaining how to teach your son to persist when challenged, and to develop the critical self-regulation skills necessary for success. He will also decode ‘boy world,’ explain why some bucks are “too cool for school” and give you the tools to raise confident, emotionally strong men.

On Wednesday, November 15 (6:30 PM until 8:00 PM), take part in the event by registering with HRP Mamas. Don’t wait – the Tuesday event is already sold out!

For full event and registration details, click here.

Hes_Not_Lazy_COVER

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Weekend with a Toddler

A couple weeks ago I journeyed to New York City to babysit my nephew for the weekend. Sadly, I don’t get to see my nephew all too often because we don’t live close by. It’s normally family outings with a dozen people around, and I’m forced to steal him away to spend some one on one time with him. Finally, I have him all to myself!

My sister put him down for his afternoon nap before they left, so I had a couple of hours until the shenanigans began. I made a gesture to my sister earlier on how the stroller could benefit from a wipe down, so that was my first target. The high chair and a few other items followed, and before I knew it, Brooks was up from his nap.

Bottle, snack, and play time consumed our afternoon. Inside play consisted of wheeling around a train, burying him in pillows and him popping out to scare me, and talking all things digger trucks. After that, we made our way to the roof top play area for some fresh air. This consisted of endless running laps and tossing a ball back and forth to support my mission of tiring him out.

We journeyed back inside for dinner and a little more play time. Lastly, it was off to the bath, to the rocking chair for reading, and then to bed.

We spent the morning together and then Mom and Dad returned. It was so great to bond with my nephew and see him play/interact with the things around him. The energy of a toddler is real, if you all haven’t heard already. I was surely tired at the day’s end, but the little rascal made it all worth it.

Brooks-me copy

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

What Are Your Kids up to While You’re Away?

Have you ever wanted to know what your kids are up to while you are away? Daily Nanny helps to give a comprehensive view of just that in their app!

We recently had the opportunity to team up with the creators of the Daily Nanny app, to learn more about how it works, and why parents everywhere should add this to their download list. Read below for our Q&A!

Q: How can a user download the app? Is there a fee associated with it?

Daily Nanny is a one time charge of $4.99 to get access to all app features. Visit the iOS app store or Google Play to download.

Q: What does a user do once the app is downloaded/opened?

For parents, when you first open the app you’ll sign up, enter some basic information, enter your kids information, and then invite your nanny. Then you are brought right into the app and you can start using it right away! Not only can nannies use Daily Nanny to keep parents informed, but parents can also use it to keep spouses informed, or just use it as a way to store meaningful information about your kids early years. Parents can keep track of naps, meals, medicine etc, and store photos as well.

For nannies, you sign up, and if you were invited by a parent, you’ll see the kids you care for right away. If not, you can enter the kids you care for and invite their parents to use the app. Nannies can keep track of hours and overtime as well, so parents and nannies are always on the same page.

Q: How do I navigate the app? What information and tools are available to me within the app?

The app is very simple to use. There are four tabs. For parents, the first tab gives you a timeline of everything that has happened today, including meals, naps, photos and more. The second tab is a photo gallery of all the photos you or your nanny has uploaded of your kids. You can comment on photos, save them to your device, and share them with friends. The third tab is a group messaging thread between you, your nanny, and anyone else added to receive notifications about your kids. And the fourth tab lists your kids, detailed information about them, and allows you to go back in time and see what was entered in the past!

For nannies, everything is the same except for the first tab. You can clock in for the day and track your hours, see how much money is owed for the week, as well as manage all your shifts in the past. You can mark shifts as paid and enter/edit shifts in the past.

For a  video walkthrough of the app and additional information, check out the Daily Nanny website!

Daily Nanny copy

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Family Style Halloween in NYC

It’s the time of the year where you can dress as your favorite superhero, movie icon, or role model, and fit right in with everyone else. What can be even more fun than planning your own costume? Dressing up the little ones as their favorite character, too!

This Halloween, jazz up the kids, and take them to a special Halloween photoshoot offered by Classic Kids Photography. You know your child looks adorable in their costume, but nobody else does! Get great, high-quality photos to share with family and friends, and also for yourself. Make an appointment for the October 31st photoshoot by e-mailing (upperwest@classickids.com), or calling (212.799.3730) Classic Kids. Pets are also welcome!

Looking for another Halloween activity for the family around NYC? Mommy Nearest provides a great list of fun things to check out!

If you want to bust a move: head to the Broadway Dance Center on October 25th for a Halloween themed dance class and party (for children and teens).

If jack-o-lanterns are your favorite: go to Governors Island  to see more than 1,000 jack-o-lanterns lit along a windy night time trail.

If you’re feeling playful: take a stroll in your costume to Asphalt Green (in Battery Park or Upper East Side) on October 27th for fun games and prizes. The first 500 kids get a free goodie bag!

If you want to show off your costume: the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is the place to be! Take part in the afternoon costume parade, while enjoying giant stilt walkers and musicians.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Halloween

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Fuel Up with F.I.T. 4 All

F.I.T. 4 All is a nonprofit organization that works to create access to healthy living. They do this through free or low cost fitness classes and personal training, as well as, education for eating healthy food affordably. They don’t believe in counting calories and dieting but rather creating lifestyle changes that make you feel like the best you. For more information on fitness events, partnering with their organization, or affordable fuel recipes, visit their website.

As a treat, F.I.T. 4 All has included a recipe written by one of their team members, Isabel Miranda. But before we get to the actual recipe, let’s take a look at the benefits of meal prepping:

Why Bring Your Own Lunch?

• Cost – A delicious and satisfying homemade lunch can easily cost less than $5. Now think, on average how much do you spend eating lunch out? I know when I lived in New York City it was at least $10 a meal.
• Portion sizes This is a great way to work on weight change and lifestyle change goals.
• Ingredients You get to control what goes into the food, which means you can better track the calories and added sugar.

Three Ways to Meal Prep

  1. Making the food over the weekend and storing in the fridge or freezer
  2. Preparing the night before by making extra dinner, then either use the leftovers, or make a second meal while preparing dinner
  3. Making in the morning before you leave to work, possibly while making breakfast 

Ways to Motivate Yourself

Have Obtainable Goals – Ask yourself what you are already doing and make small changes to that. Bringing your lunch one more time a week is an amazing first step and you can always make a new goal when you complete the old one.
Make a Lunch Club – Have a day when everyone in the office brings in their lunch together. This is also a great time to share recipes and learn new cool things to pack for lunch.
Have Incentives – When you are successful in your goals treat yourself, with non edible items. Things like a new pretty lunchbox or kitchen gadgets are a great way to motivate yourself.

Recipe: Zucchini Rolls

Fit-for-all

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Zucchini
  • ½ Cup of Ground Turkey (or protein of your choice)
  • ½ Cup of Brown Rice
  • ¼ Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Cup of Sliced Carrots
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • *Onion powder or oregano if you want

For Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Add the brown rice and 1 ¼ cups of water to a pan. Bring the water to boil on medium high heat then reduce to low heat and cook for 30-40 minutes
  2. Rinse the quinoa with water and in another pan, add the quinoa and 1 cup of water. Again, bring to a boil and then reduce to low heat and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn a third burner on to medium heat and in a large, flat pan, add ground turkey. Season with salt and pepper, as well as any other spices you want.
  4. While everything is cooking, prepare the zucchini by using a peeler and slicing down vertically to create ribbons. Peel until you start to see the seeds of the zucchini and then put in a tupperware to use another time.
  5. Add the carrots, cooked rice and quinoa to the pan with the ground turkey. Mix together.
  6. Lay out 3 to 4 of the zucchini ribbons on a cutting board and begin filling with the turkey and rice mixture.
  7. Only place enough in the middle that you can roll the zucchini around it
  8. Once you have filled all the ribbons move place in tupperware containers
  9. To make the sauce add Dijon mustard, olive oil and pepper flakes to a bowl and whisk together with a fork
  10. Put the sauce directly on the rolls or in a small container, so that you can add it to the rolls at work

 

It is also an option to freeze the rolls and heat them up when you bring them to work, so that you can make more servings and have less days of meal prep. If you decide to do this, blanch the zucchini by putting it in boiling water for a minute and then moving it straight to ice water. Also wait to add the sauce and keep it in a separate container in the fridge. 

Bell Family Teams Up with FDNY

To continue with CPR awareness from last week’s blog on CPR parties, we wanted to share Bell Family’s CPR training partnership with the FDNY team.

On September 6th, Bell Family hosted the FDNY to conduct their quarterly CPR training seminar to our sitters and nannies. The FDNY has been working with Bell Family for over six years, and we always appreciate them taking time out to help us be the best caregivers we can be.

FDNY went over Adult CPR, and had the caregivers practice on dummies. They learned all steps to performing CPR, and practiced chest compressions while humming along to “stayin alive”.

Our Nanny Services Manager, Lauren, then taught Infant and Child CPR, also while reviewing what to do if a child is ever choking, and basic first aid care.

It was a great night for all, and always a great refresher to know what to do in all situations while caring for infants and children.

Bell Family thanks everyone for coming, and we look forward to the next training! For any further information on what was learned, please contact us directly!

CPR-training

Written by  our Nanny Services Manager, Lauren Kruk

A Party with a Purpose

Drownings are the leading cause of death for children under four. What can help reduce this stat? Learning CPR.

Learning CPR is an easy activity that moms everywhere should partake in. There are a number of ways and locations where you can sign-up to learn CPR. Here are a few:

1. Online: if there is no location near you, become CPR certified through an online class.

2. American Red Cross: choose a location, select a class category, and then search for classes near you. They even have a class called Babysitting and Childcare.

3. Local Fire Department: for those living in NYC, FDNY offers free compressions-only CPR classes as part of its ongoing Free CPR Initiative.

What if there was one more way to learn CPR, and it was by having a party. Would you sign-up to learn?

CPR parties have been growing in apartments and homes everywhere. Imagine inviting other moms and friends to your home, along with a certified CPR trainer, and learning CPR right in your living room. That’s the exact idea of CPR parties – learning the life-saving skills of CPR and water safety education in a fast, fun and free environment.

To learn more about CPRParty™, visit their website and checkout their feature from Good Morning America!

CPR Party

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Making Your Back-to-Work Plan, The Pumping Edition

We recently teamed up with Jennifer Mayer, founder of Baby Caravan, and Birth Doula for over 12 years, to get her advice about mothers who are going back to work and are committed to breastfeeding and maintaining their pumping schedule. Read below for her thoughts and suggestions, and to start your back-to-work plan.

For many mothers, the return to work is filled with lots of stress, concern and worry. Leaving your new baby in the arms of an entrusted caregiver and returning to work is never easy. For moms who are committed to breastfeeding, creating a good pumping
plan is a huge asset.

Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. In order to produce enough milk for your child’s feedings, it’s essential that you pump on a regular and consistent basis. Many moms are concerned about their supply when they return to work, since they will be away from their baby. It’s true that the pump is not quite as efficient to remove milk as compared to your baby, and your supply may decrease. However, there are a few things you can do to keep your supply up while pumping at work.

1) Make A Schedule: The most important thing when pumping at work, is making sure you pump on a consistent basis. Usually pumping at least twice while you’re away (every 4 hours), and ideally three times while you’re away (every 3 hours) will be often enough. To ensure your pump sessions occur, schedule them into your daily schedule if possible.

2) Have a Dedicated Pump Spot: Some offices have lactation rooms already available, and other places of employment do not. If possible, speak with HR prior to returning to work to sort out where you can pump when you return to work. Make sure it’s not a bathroom!

3) Grab Your Gear: You’ll likely want to have one pump at the office, and another at home. Prepare for your first day by bringing an extra set up pump parts as back-up, and extra shirt (just in case!) and extra storage bottles. You’ll also want to bring a cooler bag to transport your milk home in. We love the Pack-It coolers.

4) Breastfeed When You’re Home: One way moms ensure to keep up their supply is to nurse often when they are home with their baby. Depending on how well your little one is sleeping at night, you may want to feed more often in the evening and in the morning hours. On the weekends you can spend time nursing to boost
your supply and have lots of bonding time with your baby.

Some workplaces are more supportive than others when it comes to pumping at work. Hopefully your employer respects how important and beneficial breastfeeding is.

However if you’re the first employee to pump at work, or your employer isn’t very supportive, here are some ways to create a pump friendly environment.

1) The Law is Your Friend: At the federal level, mothers are also protected but for just one year: “Section 7 of the FLSA requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.”

2) Design a Lactation Room: If you’re able to, design a lactation room for your company. You’ll want to include essentials like access to a sink, fridge for storage, cubbies to hold gear, a desk or table to hold laptops and pumps, comfortable chairs, wipes, and a community board. If you need a temporary space check out companies like Melk and Mamava.

3) Educate: If you’re one of the first moms who’s pumping, your boss and colleagues might just be unaware of all the benefits. Gently educating them on the health benefits of breastfeeding for babies and moms could go a long way toward acceptance.

I hope these tips help you as your prepare for your transition back to work. Pumping is certainly a commitment that takes time and dedication. Yet for many moms the satisfaction of providing breast milk for their babies while they are away at work is worth all the effort.

Baby-Caravan-D3S_6742

For more information about Jennifer and Baby Caravan, click here.

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!

KidPass-3

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell