All posts by Lindsay Bell

BFF- Meet Lindsey G.!

Lindsey was our amazing Bell Family Company intern this past semester. She assisted with the nanny/sitter screening process, drafted content for social media, specifically the twitter, supported business development and performed administrative tasks.

Aubrie, Lindsay, and Lindsey at last week's Sitter Mixer

Aubrie, Lindsay, and Lindsey at last week’s Sitter Mixer

She is currently a sophomore at Fordham University in the Bronx, NY. She is studying Communications with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Marketing. In high school, Lindsey worked for a pre-k classroom for 3 years and continues to do so on breaks from school. She has babysat for many families in her town, and taught tennis to Elementary school children. Lindsey enjoys reading, cooking, and running in her free time.

We will miss Lindsey so much in the office! Best of luck with your last two years and make sure to come back and visit!

 

Spring Break

Even working moms need a break! BFC is here to make sure that your kids’ Spring Break is truly a break for the whole family. Whether your family is traveling or staying put, BFC can help.

A mini sitter in the making preps the family car for the road trip!

A mini sitter in the making preps the family car for the road trip!

Our Travel Sitters have traveled with member families throughout the Caribbean, Florida, Europe, Nantucket and 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. Check out some of the capabilities we offer:

  • -Pre-trip: BFC can provide assistance packing, getting to the airport, running errands, etc.
  • -During travel:  Travel Sitters provide entertainment during airport waits, sit in coach with children, and can help your family navigate airports, baggage claims, and travel to and from the airport with ease
  • -Vacation: Sitters will accompany your family throughout your trip so you can have date nights, extra hands on day-trips or excursions, and more fun & interaction for kids with an older role model on-site

For more information, check out our website or email us at info@bellfamilycompany.com! 

BFL – Motherlode

Parenting in the age of the Internet is hard, especially since parents are raising a new generation of digital natives. A recent blog on “The New York Times” site caught our attention. The author states her child “asked the internet” for answers to a number of daily questions, such as whether or not there is a frozen pizza left in the fridge.

She brings up the point: “What do children, especially young children who are just starting to make sense of the world, think about the Internet — what it’s for, where the information comes from, how reliable it is? And how do these notions change over time?”

Studies show children are good at using computers to provide facts, but not as useful for making moral judgements or deciphering the veracity of claims made on the internet. Children are fairly predictable in their internet behavior: they trust sources that have been correct before and discredit those that have been proven wrong.  

This means children will be increasingly looking to the internet to solve knowledge gaps. The author closes with a great point: with our children immersed in the Internet practically from birth, we need to know what they understand, and more important, what they don’t, so we can fulfill our parental duty of filling in the gaps.

 

 

 

 

 

New Kids on the Block: CityTot

CityTot is a new resource on early childhood classes and learning for NYC parents of young children. It was started by two local moms who know how difficult it can be to navigate the who, what, when, where and why of kids’ classes in the city. CityTot launched in December 2014 to significant interest from both parents and class providers alike. They are focusing on providing research, supporting class reviews, and fostering relationships among parents with children between the ages of 0-5. The site’s target audience is prenatal through preschool, and they are developing to be a one-stop shop for all things early childhood education.

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One of their coolest features is a search engine for age appropriate classes for your kids under 5 – only they have an in depth filter system that makes it super user friendly.

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CityTot just hosted their official launch party last night, where guests mixed & mingled with parents and providers. We’re so excited to see this new company grow! Check them out!

WWW – Child Car Safety

Recently, on a shopping trip, I approached a fellow mom. Her completely adorable infant was buckled into a bucket style carseat which was perched precariously atop the store’s shopping cart. I complimented her baby and then gently informed her that those seats are not made to be on top of the cart; it causes a top-heavy situation which makes the cart prone to tipping, and could even damage the locking mechanism made to keep the seat safely secured to the base your car.

She snapped at me to mind my own business before continuing on down the aisle.

I get it. We, all of us moms, are trying our very best. We are taking in all of the research and making decisions that work for our families, and very resentful of unwanted advice and perceived judgment. 

I was not always a CPST. I did not always use best practices with my car seats. I didn’t know! Every day, I am learning more, and I, like you, am just trying to do my best. This is a picture of my son at four months old, and while he is adorable, this is practically an advertisement of what NOT to do. Dangerous aftermarket car seat insert? Check. Overly bulky coat affecting the harness fit? Check. Too low placement of the chest clip? Check. I don’t remember a specific instance of putting his seat on the top of a shopping cart, but I probably did.

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I am so, so lucky that we were never in an accident that could have proven my errors to be fatal. So please, don’t be mad if I stop you and critique your car seat – you never know if you might not be so lucky.

Here are few car seat tips to keep everyone safe:

Most of the car seat accessories in the big box stores are not recommended, or even illegal. 

The sleeping bag style car seat inserts, neck pillows, and fluffy shoulder strap covers are not crash tested with your seat, and may alter how it works in a collision. If it did not come in the box with your seat, use extreme caution before using it. Check your manual – use of these aftermarket items is forbidden and can void your warranty.  Additionally, many states have a “proper use” clause in their child restraint laws, and going against the manual would actually be illegal.

 

State laws are minimums, and do not reflect best practices.

Just because something is legal, does not make it the safest. Most states allow for turning your child to forward facing at one year and 20 pounds. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until at least 2 years, or until your child outgrows the limits of his seat. Best practices is for children to ride rear facing until age 3-4, forward facing with a 5 point harness until age 5-6, in a booster until age 10-12, and in the back seat until age 13.

 

Get your seat checked by a certified Child Passenger Safety Tech. 

Car collisions are the leading cause of death for children up to age 13 in the United States, and up to 85% of child restraints show critical misuses. An improperly used car seat can actually be MORE dangerous than not using one at all – CPSTs are trained in the various types of car seats and safe installation, and checks are often free. Find a tech near you here: http://cert.safekids.org/find-tech-0  Remember that car seat safety does not end when your child graduates to the next stage. The misuse in boosters is higher even than for newborn seats!

 

Read your manuals – for the car seat AND for your vehicle.

Make sure you are getting the safest possible installation every time! Your vehicle manual will tell you which seating positions allow for child restraints, where the LATCH and tether anchors are located, and anything you need to be aware of for the air bag system. Your car seat manual will tell you when the seat is outgrown, weight limits for use with the LATCH system, and how to properly use the seat. Car seats are not accessories; they are critical pieces of safety gear – make sure you are using them properly!

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-Sarah Ludwig is a former teacher and mom of two. She is a childbirth educator, doula, baby wearing educator, and child passenger safety tech; she is also on the Westchester Safe Kids Advisory Board. You can also find Sarah on her own family blog, lovetheludwigs.com.

The Wedding Sitter

It may be cold outside, but we’re looking ahead to wedding season! Did you know that BFC offers wedding sitters and kid zones for your big day?

BFC can help whether you need an extra set of hands, confident door greeters, or need us to fully develop a Bell Family Kid Zone. We can assist to ensure your wedding goes smoothly. Our caregivers are extremely professional, and are comfortable playing with kiddies in event t-shirts or black tie attire.

Mom and Ava Wedding

Our Kid Zones are a custom made, interactive kid-only area designed to plug into your family friendly function. Bell Family designs a one of a kind pop-up play center fully equipped with activity stations that engage and empower your guest’s child, arts and crafts corners to further inspire even the most creative minds, princess, safari and fairy land entertainers that will light up their lil’ eyes, movie night when its wind down time and more!

Additionally, our dedicated sitters can tackle any event issue that may arise; we carefully lead a check-in/check-out station, provide custom take home gift bags and provide a level of exclusive service that will wow you and your guests. Our Bell Family Kid Zone is designed to help make your special day an even bigger success!

The Bell Family sitters & staff were such a relief during my wedding. I had sitters at our hotel caring for the lil’ ones & staff to help onsite with my photographer. It really brought me peace of mind on my big day having trusted women there to take care of anything I needed- Jessica, recent bride NYC

Check out more information on how we can transform your event with a Kid Zone or wedding staffers on our website or email us at Info@BellFamilyCompany.com

WWW – Returning to Work After Baby

New Parent? Thinking about returning to work?

The decision to return to your career part or full-time is one that can be beneficial to both you and your family.  Many women struggle to “have it all” and balance work and family life simultaneously.  While many are aware of the sacrifices working mothers and their families must make, there are a lot of benefits too.  After reading Lynn Berger’s book “How to Land, Create, or Negotiate the Part-Time Job of Your Dreams” I’ve outlined some important points she made below:

Ms. Berger is an experienced career coach and counselor

Ms. Berger is an experienced career coach and counselor

The Benefits of Returning to Work:

  • -It will keep your skill level/resume current
  • -It will be much easier to switch to full-time later if you have already been working
  • -Extra income for your family
  • -Social interaction and validation outside of your home
  • -Studies have shown a positive association between the number of roles a woman occupies and her psychological well-being- if one role is overwhelming, you may feel successful in another area of your life
  • -Feelings of self-worth and accomplishment- may help improve spousal relationships
  • -Positive role model for your children- they see their parent as successful/hardworking

How to Make it Work for Your Family:

  • -Consult your spouse and work out a family budget- outline what your salary will be, how much time you will allot for childcare, etc.
  • -Make sure your career options match your current priorities- you want to be at a job you feel benefits you, and is worth giving up family time
  • -Be diligent in searching for the right job with the right benefits for you and your family
  • -Communicate with your partner about any concerns they may have in your returning to the workforce
  • -Prepare for a shift in responsibilities in your home- you may need to divide home/childcare differently
  • -Take quality time-even if you are not spending as much time with your children, make sure when you are with them you are focused on them
  • -Lower your expectations- understand that your family will have to make adjustments with a busier schedule.  You may not be able to go to everything

Find the Right Nanny

Ms. Berger does a great job of presenting options and offering support to parents making the leap. BFC is here to also support you and your family in this transition. There is no need to feel guilt about returning to work when you know your child(ren) are left with a quality caregiver that can provide for all of your family’s needs.  Our nannies are available part and full-time and in addition to childcare can provide light housekeeping, cooking and laundry.

-Lindsey Garibaldi is our in-house operations intern and full time student at Fordham University majoring in communications. In her free time she loves spending time with family, friends & children.

BFL – Presidents’ Day in the City

Most NYC schools have off Presidents’ Day, along with post offices, major banks, and many government agencies.

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Take advantage of the day off and explore the city with these cool activities:

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BFC – Adventure in Gettysburg

I took a weekend getaway with my husband to Gettysburg. Talk about a taking a trip back in time. We stayed at The Swope Manor, which is one of the oldest homes in Gettysburg. They have a few different room sizes, some big enough to fit a family of 4 or 5.

Swope Manor

 

We also took a tour of the Eisenhower property while we were there, a huge farm just south of the town that has been preserved since it was last inhabited in the 1960’s. There is a car tour where you can drive on your own throughout the property. You are given a map & drive from point A to B & read off the significance of the area. For kids, you can pass along the map & take turns reading to the family. They also offer kid-specific tours through the park service.

eisenhower map

There are a lot of adorable bakeries and lunch spots in the area that are family friendly with high chairs and kid friendly menus. For dinner with went to the Dobbin House, which was my favorite part of the trip. They had one of those old huge fire places (the kind you imagine Santa coming down) with a big burning fire. Don’t let the kids near, but it is a sight to see & sure keeps that old house warm.

-Lindsay

 

WWW -Just Do It

Now that the holidays are behind us, I’ve had some time to reflect upon coping with the juggle of increased social commitments, shopping, and travel.  Though it was hard and I was often sleep deprived, I am happy I pushed myself to finish the holiday projects.  In the end, I was happy to create memories with Kermit.

kermit

Timing of the holiday demands was not ideal.  Kermit started solid feeds right before Thanksgiving and so did his teething.  He would not tolerate anything near his gums and went on a hunger strike from Thanksgiving to Christmas, resulting in a decrease in his growth development and a stern talk from the pediatrician to double his milk volume and increase solid feeds to three times daily.  In her exact words, “make a valiant effort.”

I attempted to feed him every 2-3 hours throughout the day and night.  Kermit was not happy with the early morning feeds because he would always rather sleep.  At one point, to my dog’s dismay, he learned that screaming his high pitch cries was most effective.  During this time, Kermit was evaluated for the Early Intervention Program in New York which comprised of a series of 3 scheduled meetings with a service coordinator, developmental and occupational therapist, and a physical therapist.  On top of these activities, I needed to plan a 3 month move to the west coast and pack up our New York home by early January.  When time was a valuable commodity, I found myself wishing there were more hours in the day.

To accommodate all the meetings and holiday dinners, I learned to schedule Kermit’s meetings (doctor’s visits, evaluations, and play visits) in the morning.  Social dinners were scheduled early so I could return home to Kermit and administer his feeds when he was more amenable to eat.  Solid feedings were given routinely after he woke up and diligently every 3-4 hours afterwards.  All shopping, holiday gifts and grocery, was done online.  Organizing and packing was completed when everybody else in the house slept.

I remember making the conscious decision sometime in early December to forego the Christmas tree and holiday cards.  I was too exhausted.  I thought I was at peace with this decision but was haunted by the nagging thought, “Kermit’s First Christmas.”  The voice in my head got louder and louder every time I went to the mailbox filled with holiday cards or opened my email and received discounts from online card makers.

By mid- December,  I resolved to pull a few all-nighters to get what needed to be done.  I kept telling myself, “I can do this.”   The holiday card including a series of 12 photos was completed in one night and it took another 3 nights of compiling everybody’s current addresses.  Decorations were purchased online.  I broke my personal vow not to pay for express shipping.  Thank goodness I did or else everybody would have received a card in mid January instead of December 26.

It makes me smile when I go to a friend’s house/ apartment and see our card hanging on their wall or when we receive compliments from our friends.  I feel like our card served as a conversation starter among our peripheral friends, too.  It was so nice to catch up with them.  Mostly, I am so glad I have something to show Kermit when he gets older.

A little bit of effort goes a long way.

-Jeanne Oh