BFF – Welcome to Our Home

2014 brought a lot of new changes to Bell Family — we increased our   set of services to include nanny placement and are expanding not only in NYC, but in other cities as well.  Naturally, we needed a bigger headquarters for our growing business. Since you welcome our sitters, nannies, and caregivers into your homes with open arms, we figured we’d give you a little tour of ours:

The view from our new office window

The view from our new office window

What better place to house us than Grand Central?

FullSizeRender (2)

 

We are so excited to continue growing and have the space to do so. We love when our sitters and families drop in, so feel free to give us a call and stop by! You’ll find us in the middle of an open concept office filled with other tech start ups and right across the hall from Facebook!

FullSizeRender (5)

 

Looking forward to another great year filled with growth!

-The Bell Family

WWW – Snow Days

Snow days are one of kids’ favorite things.  However, they can leave working adults in a panic.  We have a few tips to help your family weather the winter storms.

IMG_20141127_054008

  • 1. Make a plan with your family:  If the weather forecast calls for snow or bad weather, make a plan on who will stay home with the lil’ ones, if that is an option.  It’s equally important for families who have divorced parents or have multiple homes to make an emergency plan about where kids will go on a snow day. This will ensure that your day goes smoothly.
  • 2. Network:  Kids love playdates, and whats better than a full-day playdate? Network with neighbors or friends who’s parents don’t work or who have a full-time nanny.
  • 3. Talk to HR:  Sometimes, HR departments can be surprisingly flexible if you tell them your situation.  Some companies will let employees telework or come in later to give them time to find a childcare option.
  • 4. Call BFC:  The best back-up plan is to not need one. BFC caregivers are flexible and more than willing to help you out in a pinch.  Most of our sitters are matched up with local families, so even in a snowstorm, they will be able to make it to your house. Plus, BFC sitters will do anything with your kids from sledding to hot cocoa making.

BFL – Shuddle

Services like Lyft and Uber have been in the news a lot lately for their ease and convenience. However, these apps are primarily targeted at adult riders.

In comes Shuddle, a family business that takes kids to and fro with highly trained teachers, nannies, and caregivers behind the wheel. Shuddle is insured to transport minors and boasts around 100 drivers right now, but is planning to expand.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 8.02.54 AM

What we love is you can request Shuddle rides up to weeks ahead, ensuring there will be a driver available to get your child to practice, a piano lesson, or a playdate. The driver and your child both have to know the password you pick out before the ride starts, ensuring it is really your driver picking them up. Also, thanks to a real-time GPS tracker, you can can watch the car move throughout town and both you and Shuddle HQ gets notified once the kids are dropped off.

Look out for this awesome service as it expands to NYC!

WWW – Arbonne

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of doing a three-day trial with the Arbonne facial kit. Arbonne is a one-of-a-kind skin care and wellness line for women that provides a chemical-free anti-aging kit. Arbonne also offers a full range of non-toxic baby products for the lil’ ones. A study conducted by naturalnews.com discovered that women apply an average of 515 chemicals a day to their skin. Makeup, perfumes, lotions, mascara, and other beauty products all contribute to the toxic brew that can cause health problems for women.

Arbonne photo

As a woman with a full-time job, I don’t have the time to experiment with costly and time-consuming skin care methods to find a product that works and is healthy for my skin.

However, my experience with the Arbonne anti-aging kit was simple and effective. After the second day of using the product, my skin felt fresh and radiant. By the third day, I could noticeably tell the difference in my skin; I saw improvement in moisture, clarity, and blotchiness. I enjoyed all of the products in the process, which takes less than 3 minutes to complete, but my favorite product had to be the Corrective eye Serum; it made my eyes look fresh and awake. This is a great gift for the holidays, and I recommend this for women of all ages!

For more information, please contact Rebecca_Wong@me.com and receive 35% off your first purchase!

-Hannah, BFC’s In-House Coordinator of Sitter Services

BFL – MLK, Jr. Day

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an important figure in our country’s Civil Rights Movement. President Reagan signed into effect a holiday in his honor in 1983, and we have been celebrating it ever since!

Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech is one of the most influential moments in the history of the American civil rights movement.

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most influential moments in the history of the Civil Rights Movement.

Although we can appreciate events and visions that changed our country for the better, sometimes it can be difficult to discuss with our lil’ ones. We’ve compiled some educational events and resources to help your family celebrate the day.

Talking to our kids about big-picture events can be tricky. Check out some resources specifically for kids:

 

Have the day off from school? Check out these fun and informative activities going on throughout the city:

BFC to the Rescue

Bell Family has been a wonderful option for my family.  I’m afforded the occasional luncheon with a friend, yoga or spin class, and dinner alone with my husband.  As all moms know, a few hours a week among adults (or simply people who speak) provide respite and recharge from the groundhog day of diapering, feeding, and burping a 7 month old.  Admittedly, it took me over 5 months to separate myself from my newborn because I had such a horrid experience with a different agency.  Who can you trust with your firstborn and much loved child?

IMG_6937
The inevitable arrived when I went out to celebrate my anniversary with my husband who was feeling a bit neglected.  A seasoned mother in my building referred me to Bell Family and guaranteed a good experience.  In a leap of faith, I submitted my kid sitter request and hoped for the best.

Guess who arrived?  Mary Poppins!  Ok, it was Alice my sitter who played Mary Poppins in the Atlanta production but for all intensive identification, it was the ultimate babysitter in my eyes.  After my two hour dinner, I found Alice cuddling Kermit and providing all the warmth and love I would want for him.  With a short sound-bite of “A Spoonful of Sugar”, she had him from tears to giggles.  She is amazing.

image1
In the subsequent two months, I have met a number of other sitters who have impressed and restored my faith in kid providers.  Not only is Laura  a kind and loving person, she graduated from one of my favorite Big 10 schools and promised to teach me their fight song.  Countless others have held my son and provided comfort to him in my absence.

All the sitters shared a common sentiment:  Lindsay is remarkable.  I had to meet her.  And so I did.   She’s a savvy New York entrepreneur with sensible Midwestern roots and charm.  Our meeting solidified my trust in Bell Family Company.

I believe in good karma.  I welcome Bell Family’s good energy into my home and am thrilled to meet such fascinating women with incredible New York experiences.  Most important, I am so happy Kermit is exposed to such kindness and love.  And that’s all a mother could ask.

-Jeanne 

BFL – Bedtime Routine Tips from the Experts!

Big City Moms has always supporting LLD & BFC, invited us a while back to their Sleep Experts Lunch to speak about the importance of communicating bedtime routines to your sitter. Here are a few important tips!

Newborn-sleeping
1. Give your sitter a tour of your home. Show your sitter the kids rooms, point out dangerous areas you want the kids to stay away from and give specific instructions on how things work.

2. Bedtime Rules. Talk to your sitter about your bedtime routine with the kids i.e. What time do you begin to wind down the night? What is your child’s favorite story and/or bedtime song? What time should they be asleep by?

3. Special Instructions.  Are there any special rules you have? Do your kids have any allergies the sitter should know about? Are the kid’s sick and need medicine?

4. Exchange Contact Info. Be sure to leave your sitter with your cell phone and an emergency contact numbers. Be sure to get her cell phone number so that you can text her throughout the night if you have any questions or to check in.

5. Anything else? Sitters are happy to lend a helping hand. If you’d like them to unload the dishwasher or change the laundry most sitters won’t mind. Especially once they have been at your home a few times and you feel connected to them. They will be happy to help!

I stayed to listen to Kira Ryan, mom, sleep lover and co-founder of Dream Team speak about her infant& toddler sleep tips. Here are a few!

  • Newborns should get 15-18 hours of sleep per day (24hrs)
  • A good bedtime for an infant is between 6-8pm
  • Signs of a sleepy infant: the cry is different, no engagement or eye contact, fussy
  • What is normal?
    • Up to 6 mo infants take naps every1 ½ -2 hours
    • At 6mo infants usually take 2 naps per day
    • 15-18 mo 1 long nap in the afternoon
    • Naps or ‘quiet time’ is recommended up to 3-4 years
    • White noise machines are great especially for city noise
    • Crib should be a sleep sanctuary, anything that screams party or playground should be removed
    • Check the nursery temperature! It should be between 68-72 F.
    • Is the room dark enough? Get blackout shades!

For more info on Dream Team click here

Best Burping Methods

Dear Ask-A-Sitter,

What are the best burping techniques?  I have heard so many. I just want to communicate the best one to my sitter when I leave her with my infant.  What do you recommend?

-Tooty Twins

Dear Tooty Twins,

Yes that is true, everyone seems to have their own method, which makes sense because every baby is different. What works for your lil’ one may not work for another. Try out a few different positions & see which one seems to mesh with your infant the best. Sometimes I also find switching from one burping position to to the other helps the baby release gas.  Here are my top 3 burping positions that seem to work best with an infant:

- Hold your baby with their chin near your shoulder, support the baby with one hand and gently pat/rub their back with the other to sooth them while allowing their body to stretch out

- Sit your baby on your lap with one hand supporting their chin and pat/rub their back

- Lay your baby at a slight angle (with their head higher then their chest) on your lap facing you, rub their belly to sooth them while they stretch out their body. I use this method as a last resort after trying the first two above

Right after burping. The twins are as happy as can be.

Remember to support your lil’ ones head and pat/rub gently.  Your baby doesn’t always need to be burped, if he or she seems happy, they’re probably comfortable. And don’t forget to use a burp cloth regardless of the method you choose.

-LB

Our First Santa Christmas!

This was the first year my oldest daughter really understood the whole concept of Santa Clause. In year’s past, we told her the gifts came from him, but she was too young to comprehend all the reindeer, sled, and cookie-eating details. My husband and I realized we needed to get our “Santa game” going when Avery started asking lots of questions…..was Santa was going to bring her gifts this year? How was he going to fit down the chimney? What happens if one of his reindeers gets sick? Does he like chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies? I have no idea where she was getting all of these questions, but I knew we needed answers quick and those answers needed to be consistent between me and her Dad!

Once we got our stories straight, the fun really began! She was so curious and wanted to watch every movie and read every book on this mysterious Santa Clause. We went to visit him and two of his reindeer, Snowball and Sven (children of Dasher), and this really blew her mind. She asked Santa to bring her two simple gifts and we were relieved! We could totally manage to get her a book and a soft bear without throwing the pocketbook off for the month. The joy from meeting Santa for the first time put a smile on her face that seemed to never end.  She was genuinely fascinated that he would take the time to come to our home town when he had so much work to do to get ready for Christmas. We told her that is just what Santa does because he loves good little boys and girls so much!

mbreindeer

On Christmas Eve, the anticipation was killing Avery! So many questions on her little mind. Would Santa really come? Would he eat the cookies she left for him? Drink the milk? Remember what she wanted and deliver on her requests? After she was all tucked in, we set the stage for her mind to be blown yet again. We gobbled down the cookies, chugged the milk, and placed the two gifts – a book and a soft bear – under the tree. We double checked that both girls were fast asleep and hit the sack ourselves. The next morning was truly priceless. She was ecstatic over every detail and loved the gifts. She couldn’t believe he remembered what she had asked for! It was a morning to remember for the whole family.

mb santa1

Although Santa Clause and gifts are not the true reason for the season, it was fun to watch her imagination run wild this holiday season! Can’t wait to do it all again next year!

- Sitter2Mom Mindy B.