Hotel and TravelSitter for the New Year

Greetings, all!

Did you know we book HotelSitters for our families in NYC, Brooklyn, Westchester, Connecticut, Chicago, Los Angeles or Miami?

If you have a family trip coming up, we also book TravelSitters to accompany your family, making it a real vacation for you and not just a re-location of your normal day-to-day! Our sitters have traveled with member families throughout the Caribbean, Florida, Europe, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and most of the Rockies Ski resorts! We provide excellent vacation and holiday coverage so you and your family can have all the extra care and support needed for a restful vacation.

Bell Family’s Hospitality Program allows guests to participate in our trusted family care services!

We Offer In-Room/On-Site Care

We’ll come to your hotel to keep your children entertained!
- Make crafts and work on fun art projects
- Learn to sing and play guitar
- Play games, enjoy the on-site hotel services, or enjoy personal story time

Ask About Exploring the City and Mini-Day Camps

Our sitters will show up with an itinerary for the day!
- Organize shopping trips
- Plan destination visits
- Assist in pick-up/drop-offs
- Run last minute errands
- Lend an extra hand at local family events (weddings, parties, business functions, etc.)
- Refer the best places to go for kids

To download our release for your families click here! And to book a HotelSitter, e-mail
bookings@bellfamilycompany.com or call 212.265.3354.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

News and Advice for Families

Greetings, all!

Today we bring you news and advice for agencies and families from GTM’s Nanny Agency Advisor. We’ll take you through and answer questions regarding whether nanny’s should get flu shots, 2016 minimum wage changes, and finally some gift ideas for your nanny on those special occasions.

Should Nannies Get Flu Shots?

As temperatures fall, the risk of illness rises. This is the time of year that many physicians recommend getting the flu vaccine. But some household employees may not want to get it. Families might be concerned, especially with nannies, that someone spending so much close time with children is not vaccinated. Can household employers require flu shots for nannies?

Read more about best practices and legal guidance to share with your families about this issue.

2016 Minimum Wage Changes

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers – including household employers – in all states must pay their employees at least the state’s minimum wage. This wage rate often changes at the beginning of a new year, so it’s important for families with domestic workers to make note of any changes and begin plans to increase an employee’s wage.

The following list shows the states that have 2016 minimum wage changes and when those changes are effective.

Gift Ideas for Nannies

Searching for the perfect gift for your nanny’s birthday, holiday, or just to show appreciation? This impressive list has 20 great gift ideas for special occasions such as these!

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Information provided by GTM Payroll Services.

Village for Parents – Q&A with Chris Winn

Greetings, all!

To continue with our recent Q&A blog posts, we are bringing you Chris Winn, Founder and President of Village for Parents, who works with a team on a mission to help parents live happier, simpler lives.

Q: What influential people or events in your life led you to the vision behind Village for Parents (providing ways to help parents live simpler lives)?

 A: I was first inspired to build Village in 2012 when my wife and I were expecting boy/girl twins. Like all moms and dads to-be, we wanted to learn as much as we could about how to be great parents, so we spent a lot of time researching products and how-to’s online. With so much information out there and so little factual or scientific data to support anyone’s opinion, it was really difficult to fully trust anything we read.

After months of research and dozens of design sessions, Faye (Head of Product) and I came up with a solution to the problem – a platform for moms and dads to get advice ONLY from other parents who are (or just were) in the same stage of life. This way, all of the advice is empathetic and genuine. A little later, we realized that some of the tougher questions required an answer from an expert, so we now have a growing network of child development therapists, sleep consultants, lactation consultants and more.

Q: With three little ones of your own (3 1/2-year old twins, 1-year old), what advice would you give to first time parents on how to be as stress-free as possible?

A: First, give yourself and your kids a lot of grace. Life isn’t scripted and often times you’re just going to have to roll with it. Second, trust your gut. Village is a great place to get advice, guidance towards making a decision but at the end of the day you’re the only one who knows what’s best for your values and your family. Lastly, make a point to stop and smell the roses. There are so many special moments in parenthood that you have to appreciate and hold close in order to get through the tougher times.

Q: What is the most frequent question you’ve received on your app? How did you reply?

A: The most common questions we get relate to the most stressful milestones for parents: breastfeeding, sleeplessness, teething, potty training and the like. In the six short months since we launched, we’ve aggregated hundreds of answers to these questions and made them all searchable in our app. That’s actually the hidden beauty of Village for Parents – as more and more questions are asked and answered, the app has become a living, breathing guidebook on how to raise kids. Whatever challenge you’re facing, Village can provide you with a few thoughtful answers that are just right for your parenting style, your values and your baby.

Q: For those who do not use the app, what would you say to convince them that Village for Parents is the best resource?

 A: As I mentioned above, parents should always trust their instincts when making decisions for their family. The problem most of us have is that parenthood often puts us in situations where we have little, if any, personal experience to fall back on. Village bridges that gap by presenting only the information that you need to solve a problem or make a decision. Our goal is to minimize the amount of time you have to spend on the app to get the information or validation you need to take action and then move on with your day.

Download the Village for Parents app on your iPhone by clicking here!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Jenna Helwig – Real Food for the Whole Family

Greetings, all!

We checked-in with our friend, Jenna Helwig, who is the creator and founder of Rosaberry- a culinary services company devoted to helping New York families eat better through culinary instruction and personal chef services. In our short Q&A below, we learned more about her and some of the things that inspired her to create Rosaberry.

Q: What influential people or events in your life made you want to launch Rosaberry?
A: My daughter was really my inspiration. I started Rosaberry soon after she was born. I was so excited about helping parents feed their families better, whether their kids were infants or older.

Q: For those parents or childcare providers needing to make dinner in a hurry, what top three quick meals would you recommend whipping together?
A: For me, the key is planning. I try to have a rough idea of what I’m going to make for most of the next week by Sunday. That way when I walk in the door I know exactly what I need to do: boil water for pasta or preheat the oven for veggies, for example. I also try to get some prep work done over the weekend, such as washing and chopping a head of broccoli, cooking some pork in the slow cooker, or making a pot of quinoa. Our hands-down favorite for a super-quick meal is Eggs in Purgatory, basically eggs gently cooked in tomato sauce. The recipe is in Real Baby Food, and it’s so quick and simple. My daughter requests it on a weekly basis.

 

Q: You’ve been making homemade baby food for your daughter, Rosa, since she was born. Any words of wisdom to expectant moms about to do the same?
A: The great thing about homemade baby food is that you can make a lot at once and freeze it, so you can always have some on-hand. That said, don’t stress if you need to supplement with store-bought foods sometimes. Do the best you can. One other piece of advice: try to introduce your baby to as many foods as possible before age 1. Studies show that the more variety they eat as babies, the more fruits and vegetables they’ll eat as older kids. What parent wouldn’t want that?

Q: Your Instagram photos look delicious! What is your all time favorite recipe?
A: Oh my gosh, that’s so hard to say! I will tell you may favorite recipe for right now - I’ve been making a roasted carrot salad with toasted pepitas, cumin, and cilantro, and my mouth waters just thinking about it!

You can follow along with Jenna’s delicious recipes through her Instagram and Twitter handle
@jennahelwig.
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

BFC Inside the School Community

Greetings, all!

It’s a new year, and Bell Family wants to get involved with your child’s school!

Do you have a winter or spring gala, or perhaps another school event coming up? Are you looking to offer additional benefits to your families? Well, Bell Family Company would love to help!

Here at BFC, we love to get involved in the School Community! We have worked with a number of schools in the past, and provide services such as event staffing (Gala’s, family night, etc.), to donating to auctions. A few of the schools we have worked with include Grace Church, Absalom, Temple Israel and Hunter College Elementary. Bell Family can provide any of the following services to your school and family community:

1.  Sick day babysitters, and emergency last minute coverage
2. Donate towards a silent auction
3. Provide guest speakers or experts in the field
4. Family concierge – we offer high touch family care services through our staffed licensed therapists, certified coaches, and former nannies here, or we’re available to help with any childcare challenges (e.g., children not listening to the nanny) or relationship challenges (e.g., communication issues between parent and nanny) that commonly arise during the beginning stages of the parent-nanny relationship.

For more information on our participation, e-mail us at info@bellfamilycompany.com.

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Written by our Founder & President, Lindsay Bell and Sitter Services Coordinator, Meredith Hamler!

Live-In vs. Live-Out Nannies

Greetings, all!

We’re bringing you a blog post courtesy of Tammy Gold, our Nanny Placement Director and Parenting Expert here at BFC. In her recent post, she compares live-in vs. live-out nannies, and talks about some of the best nanny secrets and what she calls “Nannyology”.

Understanding Nannies and How They Work
One day, I received a call from a woman named Alicia, who lived in Connecticut with her husband, John. She had recently given birth to their first child, and with only three weeks left on her maternity leave, she was faced with the task of hiring her first nanny.

“I’m stressed because I have no idea what I’m doing,” she told me.  “I don’t know what I’m looking for, or where to begin. And I’m nervous, because I didn’t grow up with a nanny. I don’t understand nannies, and I don’t even really want a nanny in my house—but I have to go back to work. Can you help me?”

This post is designed to give you an introduction to what I call “Nannyology”—the science of understanding nannies—and to give you crystal-clear picture of what a nanny is and does, what the job actually entails, and how you should and should not approach the relationship. Nannies are human, and just like everyone else, they have strengths and weaknesses, surprising talents and funny quirks, as well as their own needs and expectations. You will most likely never find the “perfect” nanny who flawlessly performs every conceivable task. However, if you follow my hiring process and the strategies for working together (that I will discuss in subsequent posts), you can absolutely find an amazing, real-world nanny who will be a perfect fit for your family.

Live-In vs. Live Out
The first big decision that you will need to make when starting to think about who you want to hire is whether your nanny should be Live-In or Live-Out. A Live-In nanny is one who lives with  the family in their home for some portion of the week, while a Live-Out nanny commutes to  work each day and, after finishing her duties, returns home each night.

Live-In
Live-In nannies are the least expensive kind of nanny because you are giving them room and board as well as a salary. Some Live-Ins go home for some portion of the week, and some stay with their employer’s family full-time because they don’t have another residence. A typical work schedule for a Live-In is five full days and nights on, and two days off each week. If you want additional days and hours, you will need to pay for the extra time. The big advantage of a Live-In nanny is that you know you have round-the-clock coverage for those five days: If you and your spouse both travel for work, you have someone to spend the night; if your child is up all night with a stomach virus, you have someone on hand to help; and your nanny will never be late for work because a snow storm hit or the train broke down.

To have a Live-In, you need to be able to provide them with their own private, furnished bedroom and bathroom, and it’s helpful if the space is somewhat separate from the rest of the family. Live-Ins who drive also typically have a car at their disposal, either for transporting the children or for personal use; they also tend to cost more (average $750 a week) because they are the smallest percentage of nannies and thus are in high-demand. A lot of parents don’t initially like the idea of having someone else living in their home, but Live-Ins don’t necessarily mingle with the family after their hours are done. You want to map out your rules for privacy at the start—for example, do you want the nanny to go to her room at a certain time in the evening? Can she have a lock on her door so the children can’t go to her when she’s off duty? Can the nanny have a friend over or go out at night?—so that everybody is comfortable.

Live-Out
Most nannies are Live-Out nannies who will commute back and forth to your house each day. At an average rate of $15 per hour, they are more expensive than Live-In, and a driving, Live-Out nanny will command $18-$20 per hour or more. In general, Live-Out nannies will have less flexibility in terms of hours and schedules; they will expect to arrive at a certain time, work a set number of hours, and then leave at an agreed-upon time as well. 

There are some Live-Out nannies who occasionally live in—for example, if the parents go away for a week, the nanny may come to stay with the kids, or if the family goes away for the summer, the nanny may live in at the family’s vacation home for those few months. But this is something that needs to be discussed and agreed to by the nanny before you hire her. You should not assume that a Live-Out nanny is willing or able to do Live-In, and I have seen many nanny-family relationships severed because the nanny felt that the pressure of being with the family 24/7—even in a beautiful apartment in Rome—was just too much.

Visit our site to apply for a nanny position today!

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Written by Tammy Gold, Nanny Placement Director &Parenting Expert

Hello Sitter. Hello Peace of Mind.

Greetings, all!

Do you want an app that’s changing what it means to find the right sitter and fast? Well, behold, because Hello Sitter is here, and they are taking the stress out of finding quality childcare at you finger tips.

Lauren Mansell, CEO of Hello Sitter, was kind enough to share a Q&A with us, and here are some of the things we learned.

Q: What is Hello Sitter, and how does it work?

A: Hello Sitter is an on-demand sitter app that provides parents a way to schedule fully vetted, carefully curated, and highly experienced sitters in a quick and stress-free way. We connect you with the best matched sitters available for your time and date, so you never have to wait for them to get back to you again.

After signing up and telling us a little bit about your children and what you want in a sitter, you can select the date and time you need and our very clever technology matches you with the perfect fit. You can view each sitter’s profile, read reviews from fellow parents, and even watch a short video.

Q: How do you choose your sitters?

A: Hello Sitter was started by a mom named, Lauren, and when creating the platform, she chose a partner based on her personal experience. All the sitters on the platform are part of a boutique agency that has been around for over 10 years, specifically chosen, because Lauren had used them time and time again and had an amazing experience. New sitters can only join Hello Sitter if they are referred by a current sitter, this is then followed by a vigorous vetting process.

Q: How quickly can I book a sitter, and how soon can they show up?

A: You can book a sitter in minutes! All it involves is selecting the date and time you need a sitter (looking at their profiles if you want), and hitting book. All of our sitters have their own app, so their availability is up to date to the minute. Therefore, it can be as little as 1 hour.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

10 Things You Don’t Know About Me – Emily Jewell

Greetings, all!

The BFC team just got a new member in the family, and her name is, Emily Jewell!

Here are 10 things you don’t know about Emily Jewell.

1. I aspire to be mayor of a small town one day.
2. I’m addicted to spin class!
3. Sophia Bush is my favorite celebrity – not only does she star in my favorite TV show, One Tree Hill, she supports countless charities, performs selfless volunteer work, and actively promotes female empowerment.
4. I lived in London for 5 months but NYC is still my favorite city.
5. I’m fluent in American Sign Language.
6. When I was little, my dad called me Imelda Marcos because of our shared love for shoes.
7. I’ve been an aunt since the age of 5. I now have 3 nieces!
8. Turkeys are my favorite animal – I think they’re adorable.
9. I’m a Kappa Kappa Gamma at New York University.
10. My favorite pastime as a child was holding weddings for my beanie babies. I’m currently the Maid of Honor for my best friend’s wedding and couldn’t be more excited! 

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!