Traveling With Kids Just Got Easier

As we all head somewhere this summer with the kiddos, here are some tips from moms across America!

Laura, West Palm Beach, mom to one toddler 

Tip for car: I would first make sure you have a mirror so you can see them and vice versa. Always have snacks, toys and books on hand if no one can sit back with them to entertain. Also, make a cd or buy a cd with their favorite songs.

Tip for flying: Check as many items as possible (use one checked bag for the whole family) stroller, car seat, and diaper bag when flying. If you want to buy a seat for your baby under the age of two, check to make sure your car seat meets regulations. Try to pick a travel time that is during their nap time to keep them comfortable. It’s also a good idea to bring socks or a blanket in case it’s cold on the plane. If you allow for some screen time, make sure their favorite shows are downloaded onto the iPad.

Annie, Chicago, mom to one toddler

A book bag is the best diaper bag to be total hands free! Our favorite is to have a radio flyer wagon (the material kind). It’s easy to fold, and if you’re alone you can put other baggage in there (sometimes strollers can be more practical for the destination).

Food: Apples are great because they’re easy and don’t bruise. Veggie straws – you can count them and go over colors, and a water bottle for them because it’s fun to put the lid on/off.

Pack the blanky and have pacifiers in various pockets/purses. Markers, paper, and some favorite book(s) are great additions, too.

Lindsay, Dallas, mom to one toddler and one infant 

I pack as light as possible to save my back and energy. I just finished a 1,500 mile road trip with two under 2, with me smashed in middle of the back seat. I had books, sang songs, played construction zone with mini diggers and dump trucks, downloaded a few blippi videos and had lots of snacks to break up the hours. Everything I could get my hands on turned into an activity to keep them entertained; my water bottle, straws, pictures on my phone, I spy, and every construction equipment that we passed was treated as a meteor siting. And stop every two hours or so to run around, and get all the energy out; you and the kid!

Courtney, Cleveland, mom to twin preschoolers

Snacks, snacks, snacks … wait, did I say snacks?! My kids are snackaholics, so this is crucial. They are also at that age where they need to constantly be doing something or I hear “I’m bored!” every 30 seconds. I like to pack simple things to keep them occupied like coloring books, crayons, mini magna-doodles, even a game of rock, paper, scissors will do the trick!

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Happy and safe travels families!

Stretch. Sweat. Breathe. Repeat

It’s always a good time to focus on the wonderful you, and a great way to do that is through one of our favorite wellness and health groups, Just Like Om.

We recently teamed up with Christina Cervantes, Studio Manager and Pilates & Yoga Instructor, to learn more about the great things offered by the Just Like Om team.

Q: What kinds of services to you offer in your space? Are there classes available for both beginners and those who are more advanced? 

A: Just Like Om offers Pilates, Yoga and Wellness classes, workshops and private sessions. We have classes for all levels, each group class is defined by a level from 1-3 from absolute beginner to advanced. Our teachers are able to accommodate for a range of levels in each class. We also offer specialty classes including Parent(s) and me, Baby-wearing, Pre- and Post-natal, as well as Acro-yoga. Just Like Om has monthly workshops – some of our upcoming workshops include Introduction to Inversions, Sound healing and Childbirth education.

Q: Do you always need to a book a class in advance, or are walk-ins welcome? And how does someone sign up for a class? 

A: We encourage clients to book ahead as we can’t guarantee a spot for walk-ins. Our classes are limited in size which allows the client and teacher to have more efficient and focused class. Our schedule can be viewed on our website and through MindBody app. You can book through the MindBody app, however you are welcome to call the studio or send us an email at hello@justlikeom.com. Our Instagram (@JustLikeOM) is a place to see what’s new at the studio, meet our instructors, and see what specials we are running.

Q: Tell us about your space: Where are you located? What can people expect to see when inside?

A: We are located in the heart of Chelsea at 147 W. 25th between 6th and 7th. A half a block away from Buy Buy Baby, for all those parents out there. When you look down 25th, look for the purple awning.

When a client walks through our door they may notice the beautiful natural light. We want each person to feel comfortable. We want our studio to feel like home, a place where you can focus on yourself and your wellness. We intentionally have small, intimate classes and knowledgeable, focused instructors that love what they do. We provide your mat and props. We also have complimentary filtered water and unique boutique with locally designed clothing and handmade products from a local farm.

Q: Why is it so important for moms to take a break and focus on their health/wellness?

A: We think it is so important for Moms to take some time to focus on their health and well-being because it is so easy to get caught up in the daily business of being a mom you forget that you also need to take care of yourself.

I am a Mom of a 16 month old who has endless amounts of energy, and I feel like I get a workout everyday from chasing after her. However, at the end of the day I start to feel stiff, and know that my body was accommodating a small child. It is very important to take some time, stretch and strengthen the areas of your body that may be getting compressed or overly used. In addition to creating a healthy body, we also teach parents how to move more efficiently and utilize your intrinsic muscles in a way that supports everyday activity. Then, hopefully you can run around with your great-grandchildren. Yoga and Pilates also offer a Mom some time to focus on her breath and calm her mind.

To learn more about Just Like Om, visit their website!just-like-om

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Child Pick-Up and Drop-Off Made Easy

Scenario: It’s 3 p.m., you have chores to do, errands to run, dinner to think about, and the kids are going every which direction. Does this sound all too familiar? Instead of driving yourself crazy, or getting full time care, book a sitter to help pick-up and drop-off the child(ren) from school.

The sitter is typically a college student, recent grad, or freelancer who has flexible hours, loves kids, and is available in the afternoon to pick up your child(ren) from school. After the sitter picks up your child(ren), he or she can take them to lessons, play dates, appointments, or home. The sitter can also stay after they get home to assist with homework, dinner prep, or downtime before the rest of the family gets home.

Families typically have a rotation of sitters they use to book on a month-to-month basis; some will book once per week, while another will book five days. It may be with two sitters, or five, depending on the schedule and family’s request.

This set up exposes the child(ren) to different personalities, people, and hobbies. It also makes them excited to see a familiar face at the next appointment. With a few sitters sharing the jobs, the sitters are always well rested, energetic for the appointment, and excited to see the kids!

To book a pick-up or drop-off sitter, please email us today!

School

Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

 

Safe and Sound on the Job

In today’s world, it’s important that childcare providers (sitters, nannies, etc.) are keeping the children and themselves as safe as possible. Here are some helpful quick tips to keep in mind while babysitting, and for a full list, read here.

1. Telephone Safety

Make sure you have a fully charged phone to call or text the parents if you have a question, or there is an emergency. Nothing is more stressful to a parent than the sitter not picking up or responding.

2. Personal Safety

Make sure you are healthy when you care for children and that you are aware of your surroundings (i.e., have the parent or doorman watch you get into a taxi or uber at the end of the night).

3. Danger from Strangers

Never leave the home without the children. Do not open the door for anyone you do not know unless it is communicated by the parent.

4. Other Safety Considerations

If you feel you or the child(ren) are unsafe in a situation, remove yourself and the child(ren) out of that situation.

5. Safety Inspection Checklist

Be predictive and prepared to prevent injuries, drowning, falls, etc.

6. Preventing Accidents and Injuries

Prevent it as much as possible by being present and aware. Recognize the problem and then fix it.

7. Being Prepared for Weather Emergencies

Be smart and proactive. If the weather is going to be bad before an appointment, reach out to the family and make sure they are still on, and come up with a plan to get home safely.

8. Violence or Crime

  • Be aware at all times!
  • Avoid drawing unwanted attention.
  • Know how to exit fast.
  • If you hear gun fire; lie down with the children for cover.
  • If the home looks like it has been broken into; do not enter. Call 9-1-1

9. Play it Safe!

Always watch a child at all times especially in and around water.

Firefighter

List pulled from the “American Red Cross Babysitter’s Training Handbook”

Do You Have a Birth Plan?

As I get closer to delivery (only five more weeks), my husband and I were advised by my OB to review a series of questions and “what if” scenarios. I found a detailed check list on The Bump, which provided a great starter template. But you have to keep in mind; plans don’t always go the way you envision. So, play out a few different scenarios so you are not surprised, or caught off guard!

Here are some interesting things they brought up that I didn’t really think about:

  1. Do you want the lights bright or dimmed?
  2. Do you want interns present from the birth?
  3. How do you prefer to spend your first stage of labor (i.e., in a bath tub, walking around, with music or in silence)?
  4. During delivery, how do you want to be positioned (i.e., stand, squat, lie on side, lean on partner)?

 

And here are some really important questions to ask yourself and consider:

  1. Would you like labor augmentation? Do you even know what that is?
  2. What kind of pain relief do you want to use? There are a lot of options.
  3. What level of fetal monitoring do you want?
  4. After delivery, what do you want to do with the umbilical cord and placenta?
  5. What if you have to have a c-section. Read about options and recovery. You have decisions here too (i.e., want your partner there, want to see the baby come out via mirror)?
  6. Print out your plan and keep it in your hospital bag. It’ll be a nice source of comfort.

 

**Fun fact: Lindsay had her baby only one week after writing this post! Good thing she had her birth plan (and this blog) all set.

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Finding Harmony With Your Child

We recently got the chance to partner with Emily Chamberlin and Christopher Diaz, co-founders of Heart to Harmony, an organization centered around connecting parents and caregivers to their children through various techniques. Learn about their teachings through our Q&A below, and by stopping by their space on the Upper West Side!

Q: What is the mission behind Heart To Harmony? What kinds of things do you hope your members takeaway from your classes? 

 A: Our mission is to create a harmonious atmosphere, where families and their babies can find a deeper bond within themselves and with their child. Our participants leave class feeling uplifted and encouraged emotionally, physically and spiritually. Parents and caregivers will acquire knowledge of children’s songs, baby and me exercises and breathing techniques to do at home. These tools can be used in or out of the class to calm the mind, relieve stress and connect on a deeper level with their child.  

 Q: What types of classes do you offer? Can people of all ages register to take a class? 

 A: We offer a Baby and Me exercise and mindfulness class for ages 4 weeks to new walkers that focuses on connecting with your child through the breathe, guided imagery, singing and simple fun baby and me exercises.

 Q: Where did your passion/inspiration come from to start up Heart of Harmony? 

 A: Our inspiration came from our shared desire to create a unique program for families with little ones to meet, bond, have fun and find community. Our love of teaching, working with kids and connecting on a deeper humanistic level with others is the spark that ignited Heart to Harmony. 

Q: How can prospective members sign-up for a class? Are the class schedules flexible? 

A: Those interested in joining our Heart to Harmony family can e-mail us (chrisandemily@hearttoharmony.com) to schedule a 10 minute meet and greet prior to joining class. This meet and greet is required so that we can get to know each family on a more personal level. 

Families can sign up for a class through the “Register for class” section on our website. Payments online are made through PayPal. Cash and VENMO are also accepted prior to class.

Special discount offer for Bell Family Company families: Receive a 25% discount on your first class with Heart to Harmony! Just mention this blog and your BFC member info when signing up. 

For a great promo video to learn more about Heart to Harmony, click here!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Find Your Pediatrician Through Battery Park

If you have a little bundle on the way, then that means it’s time to find a Pediatrician near you! And don’t wait, because your newborn will need to visit his or her Pediatrician in their first week of life.

We had the opportunity to learn more about Battery Park Pediatrics through Dr. Melissa Morrissey, in the Q&A below. Read up, and get your appointment scheduled today!

Q: What sets Battery Park Pediatrics apart from other offices?  

A: Battery Park Pediatrics is a welcoming place where children can receive comprehensive medical care. Parents enjoy our convenient location and open schedule, accommodating urgent and same day appointments when they most need us.

BPP quickly became popular soon after opening in 2011. Our office attracts not only local residents but also families from all NYC boroughs and New Jersey. We are ideally located close to the West Side Highway, express and local subways, both the Hugh Carey and Holland Tunnels, as well as walking distance from anywhere in Battery Park and Tribeca (including the Oculus and World Trade Center Transportation Hub).

At Battery Park Pediatrics you can expect prompt, personal, comprehensive care and access to a wide range of our recommended local and hospital based subspecialty providers.

Q: What moment in your life did you realize you wanted to be a pediatrician?  

A: As a young child in the second grade, I doctored my dolls and declared my intention to become a doctor. I remained undeterred despite facing the challenges of unrecognized ADHD, and a general underestimation of my commitment. I studied psychology and neurology, but ultimately gravitated to pediatrics. I have a natural empathy for children and parents. When I trained with Dr T Berry Brazelton, I discovered a kindred spirit and a mentor who, along with a personal study of temperament, has shaped my practice into something unique.

Q: Emergencies often arise with children; do you offer same day appointments to help with emergencies? Are you available on the weekend and after hours to help, too?

A: In 2018, we are expanding our hours. We are open 7 days a week and are open later on weekdays to accommodate the busy schedule of working parents and school age children. We are planning a community based initiative to educate new and expectant parents about infant behavior and temperament to guide their parenting style. We will maintain our high quality standards, seek to improve our efficiency and increase our participation within the community.

Battery-Pediatrics

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.

Baby

Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Get Crafty with the Kids for Spring

It may be hard to believe for northeasters, but it is actually springtime. A time where you normally wear a light jacket, smell fresh flowers blossoming on the trees, and spend more quality time outside. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?

If you find yourself inside because all of those things are not yet achievable, then spend some time with the kiddos being crafty with fun Easter and Spring-themed activities!

Easter morning is almost as exciting as Christmas morning, so why not prepare for the Easter Bunny just like you prepare for Santa? Have the kiddos write letters to the Easter Bunny, and prepare snacks for him to give him energy to hide the eggs! These printable letters and poems will welcome him and keep your kids entertained.

Once Easter morning arrives, wake up early and place bunny footprints around the house with the bunny footprint template from Personal Creations. They come in three sizes, and all you have to do is print them out, cut on the dotted line, and sift flour on top of them to show what path the Easter Bunny took through your house or around your yard.

You kids’ faces are sure to light up when they wake up and see that the Easter Bunny paid a visit!

For all of the fun creations and activities, click here!

Personal-Creations-Easter

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, with guest contributor Katie Santos from Personal Creations

Riding Solo: Stories of Women Enjoying Me Time

Similar to the author of the article below, I did not take my first solo trip until after I graduated from college. She took a flight to Greece, while I took a bus to Philadelphia – that’s close, right?

Even though my travel time was much shorter, the feelings, thoughts, and new found confidence I felt was exactly the same.

The article goes on to share stories from women who dine, socialize, travel, and move into a new home all by themselves. Below, you’ll find intros provided by Brit + Co to set-up for the full article and stories on their website.

How to Dine Solo

We all do it every now and again. Lunch on a park bench. A croissant and coffee in a cafe on a lazy Sunday. In these instances, dining solo is easy. So why is it that once a menu and a waiter get involved, the experience becomes so much more intimidating?

Three women were challenged to take themselves out for a meal and report back. The only rule: no social media allowed! Diving into Facebook and Instagram during those initial, uncomfortable moments prevents you from truly learning to be by yourself.

How to Travel Solo

Brit + Co’s creative content producer Maddie Bachelder decided to kick off 2018 by facing one of her biggest fears: traveling alone. For her first foray into the intimidating, but ultimately rewarding world of solo travel, she jetted down to New Orleans for a weekend of jazz, donuts, and a few self-revelations.

To read the full stories of these brave women, click here!

Brit + Co

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, and repurposed from Brit + Co.