Category Archives: Childcare

The Best Baby Shower Gift

As a woman, it’s inevitable that you will host, attend, or somehow be apart of a baby shower in your lifetime. There’s often the usual suspects when it comes to gifts: diapers, clothes, stroller, bassinet. The same old gifts can become rather dull, and if you’re anything like me, you kind of want to pick out those things yourself. That’s part of the fun, right?

What if we told you that we have the new and improved best baby shower gift? After talking to local expecting moms about what is on their baby shower registry, we found that it’s not your typical ask. No more monogrammed blankets or boxes of diapers, what moms really want as a gift is childcare relief!

Moms are asking for funds to go towards babysitters, nannies, and baby or night nurses. Think of it as a GoFundMe for all things childcare.

Of course the Bell Family team fully supports this idea! If you’re looking to be apart of this one-of-a-kind gift, contact us. We can make all arrangements for your friend or family member – no stress! You can purchase a gift card, buy babysitting hours, or put money towards the mom’s future childcare provider. Email us at info@bellfamilycompany.com for more information.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Smooth Sailing Into Summertime

The transition to summertime can feel a little precarious for children and grown-ups alike. Schedules and routines may change. Caregivers and environments may be different. Familiarity may be less available. What to do?

The first step is get yourself comfortable with what’s to come. Solidify a plan, ask questions of new caregivers, reflect upon successful transitions from the past. Then support your child. I often recommend that parents, depending on their child’s age and need, use one (or a few) of the following:

  • Write a social story. This can be 4-6 pages (or so) and describes, in child-friendly language, what is ending and what is beginning. Talk about the emotions a child may be experiencing and mention the “tools” that child has for managing those emotions. Use photographs if you can to show the child in each step. For younger children, I write the story. For older children, I try to engage them in the story telling, or include fill-in-the-blank sections for them to add. There are many social stories available online as well.
  • Use a calendar. Some children love to have a calendar at their eye level that they can check from time to time. One week may show a small picture (photo or drawing) that depicts them and friends from school. The next might show the logo from the camp they are attending. You could also include photos of grandma and grandpa, or friends you may be visiting. Try to strike a balance between giving a general sense of where they are going to be and when, with giving too many details that can inhibit flexibility.
  • Write out the sequence. For many children, simply writing down what is going to happen on a piece of paper can be incredibly supportive. Recently, I used this strategy with a client who seemed to be showing some increased anxiety. Though no one was quite sure what it was about. It turned out, he had been feeling sad about leaving his current teachers but was also concerned that he would be on a bus to camp without any grown-ups. Writing down the sequence of events opened a discussion during which I explained what a counselor was and the fact that they would be on the bus.

I find that supporting transitions is helpful for all children (and most grownups too). Even when we don’t see external signs of anxiety related to transitions, children may be wondering what’s to come. Let me know how it goes!

As always, a friendly reminder that you don’t have to do it alone! Whether you have concerns about developmental delays or you’re going through some bumps you’d like to smooth out. If I can help you accomplish the goals you have for yourself and your family, please reach out. You deserve to feel competent, joyful, and EMPOWERED, when you are with your children. They should feel self-confident and have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. I can help you do that!

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This blog has been repurposed from the Dana’s Kids website. To learn more about the writer, Dana Rosenbloom M.S. Ed., click here.

Childcare Tips for Children With Behavioral Challenges

We spoke with a couple Bell Family sitters who have years of experience working with children with behavioral challenges or special needs, and wanted to share their tips, so you too, feel comfortable and confident in the same situation.

Bell Family Sitter #1: Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who has been working with children with Autism and other special needs for over nine years.

Working with children with special needs is just like working with other kids in many ways. These children need you to care for them, help them, play with them and more! I think it is important to keep in mind that these children and kids like everyone else. However, depending on their needs, it may be hard for them to communicate, follow directions, get around or tolerate less preferred things. 

If you are working with a kid with special needs, always speak to the parents about their limitations so you are prepared. For example, if the child has trouble communicating, they may be more likely to have behaviors when they want to ask for things they need. The more information you can get from the parents regarding the child’s needs and routines, the better!  Also, ask about any safety concerns you should be aware of. This is a very important question! You want to make sure you know what to do in case of an emergency since the child may not react like other children, or may be more prone to danger because of his or her special needs. 

If you can, try to observe how the parents interact with the child before they leave you for the day. This will typically give you a good idea of the ways to communicate with the child and what the child may enjoy. It is possible the child prefers to be alone and wants to read in the corner, that’s okay too. Let the child show you what they want to do! 

Always follow the child’s typical schedule and try your best not to change the routine too much. When transitioning between activities, it is often helpful to give a warning. For example, you may say “Okay, five more minutes until we eat lunch” while the child is playing a video game. Try to use simple language and be direct when you are giving instructions. 

Lastly, if your child is having a tantrum, remember to stay calm. You may not always understand the reason but try not to get flustered. Make sure the child stays safe and try to redirect their attention to something else and get back on schedule. Always remember these are just kids so just have fun!

Bell Family Sitter #2: Masters from NYU in Social Work with a focus on clinical social work with children and families. Currently working as a social worker at a hospital in Manhattan.

When working with children with behavioral challenges such as ADD and ADHD, certain adjustments may be necessary to your caregiving practices. Each child has their own set of needs, and what might be a useful practice with one child, might not be helpful with another, and thus it is important to gain a sense of individual differences of what has worked in the past from the parents themselves before you begin your time with families. 

Providing rewards and consequences for behaviors that are either positive or negative, providing consistency in routines and expectations, and being extra diligent with safety precautions, are all things to keep top of mind. It is important that when working with children with certain differences, we do not treat them drastically different than we would treat their siblings who are without challenges. We should instead adapt certain practices in order to ensure they continue to learn, thrive, and grow in the safest environment possible. Children who are older and have behavioral challenges may require enhanced supervision, more structure in their daily routines, and more assistance with tasks such as completing their homework.

Look to think outside of the box to find ways in which we can help children – for instance – by taking breaks in between tasks and limiting electronic use until after certain items are completed.

I worked with a family where one child had both ADHD and dyslexia, and completing homework was quite the challenge after school. We initially tried to work on assignments together right when she got off the bus in order to get it out of the way, however, it was clear that wasn’t working when she could barely sit still and complete a single question on the sheet. I realized it was important to allow some time for relaxation and mind stimulation in ways other than homework after a long day in the classroom. We began to spend some time after school kicking around a soccer ball, playing board games, and engaging in other recreational activities. Then, we designated a certain time to begin homework with additional time to wind down in the evening. I found this to be an effective way to meet her halfway, and before I knew it, she was able to focus on the assignments with a clear mind.

Such practices might not be of use with all children, but this is just an example of how we can be flexible and adjust our days with little ones in the hopes that getting through the day for them is that much more feasible and pleasurable.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

NYC Pediatricians We Love

Did you know your newborn baby needs to visit the doctor during the first week of life? That means you need to have your pediatrician determined before the baby arrives. Ask your mom friends, ask your OB, and do your research to come up with a good list of local baby doctors (you’ll want them in walking distance if possible, so you don’t have to worry about taking a car).

We asked around, and here’s a short list of the pediatricians our families love:

  1. Battery Park Pediatrics
  2. West Side Pediatrics 
  3. Premier Pediatrics Brooklyn & Chelsea
  4. TriBeCa Pediatrics
  5. Carnegie Hill Pediatrics

 

We recommend making a consult appointment to each, and then making your decision after that. It’s a process, but you’ll want to have it done before your little bundle arrives.

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

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

Children Vs. Night Terrors

It’s the middle of the night and your child wakes up calling out your name. You think they are suffering from a nightmare, but then you realize that nothing is working to help console your child. This is because your child is not suffering from a nightmare, but a night terror.

A night terror is different than a nightmare. When night terrors happen, most of the brain is asleep, but the small part that controls a child’s movement, voice, and expression actually remains awake. Because night terrors happen during non-REM sleep, parents can’t wake their child from the episode or console them.

With nightmares, parents can comfort their children by talking to them, hugging them, or turning on a light. Children usually remember nightmares the next morning, unlike night terrors.

To help prevent your child from night terrors, LULLY provides their audience with the Sleep Guardian 2. The Sleep Guardian 2 automatically vibrates to prevent night terrors before they start. It learns about your child’s sleep, and vibrates at just the right time. Then, its smart sensors detect when your child stirs, indicating it’s time to turn off. This means your child stays asleep, and you can too!

All information was gathered by LULLY.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell