BFF – When to Give Your Nanny a Raise?

There are so  many factors that go into setting a nanny salary, and each nanny/family pair is truly different.  However, we’ve compiled some industry standards to help you make your decision.

Nannies are an integral part of your family’s life. A great time to discuss raises is during your nanny’s yearly review, when you get the chance to talk about any changes, feedback as well as rewarding your nanny for her hard work.

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Generally speaking, most families reward their nannies with a raise each year. Your nanny may seem like a member of the family, but remember she is also a professional. Typically, a recommended salary increase is the rate of inflation plus anywhere from 0-3% depending on performance. If your nanny is now taking care of an extra baby, a pet, or changed her list of duties, make sure to take that into consideration as well.

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Another good time to discuss a raise is if your nanny received additional education or certifications from her initial hire. This will make her more attractive to other families and more valuable to yours, so make sure you are compensating her accordingly.

The thought of spending more money each year for your nanny can be daunting, especially if it’s not in your budget. But remember, your nanny has expenses too and inflation and the economy do affect her. Sometimes families elect to give the nanny a bigger bonus at the end of a year, increase her vacation days, or pay more into her health insurance. The important thing is having a frank conversation with your nanny and being upfront about what your family can offer her.

-Lindsay Bell Wallace, President and Founder, and Lauren DiRuggiero

WWW – Calling Out Sick

I am not sure what feels worse being sick or calling out sick. It is that time of year and colds, flu and illness will happen! The weather is changing and the heat is on whether you want it or not. No one likes being sick, but it is inevitable. Being sick as a nanny can be emotionally and financial stressful too.

Childcare providers know their families depend on them to be at work and when they cannot make it due to an unexpected illness it can cause havoc on the family finding last minute coverage. It is a hardship for everyone. How can childcare providers and families work together to make sure the nanny can take time off for illness without the emotional or financial stress? How can families get the coverage they need? There is a solution!!!

Bell Family Company offers on demand, last minute sitters for many reasons, but in particular when a family needs a sitter fast. It is easy to register and get linked with a variety of experienced vetted sitters. Every BFC sitter is hand-selected, college-educated and undergoes a rigorous interview and background check process.

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I am grateful for the amazing families I have worked with over the years that understood the importance of health and overall well-being. In a standard US work week an employee works 40 hours. A typical full-time NYC nanny works 50-60 hours a week (10-12 hour days) plus the commute home. Does your nanny’s compensation package include, paid sick days, personal days, holiday’s etc. vacation? I know that not all childcare providers are afforded these benefits, but it definitely creates positive morale in the workplace/home. Have a conversation with your nanny/sitter and set up some healthy boundaries and strategies so families can have enough time to line up alternative coverage and providers can take the time they need to rest and get better without the stress of missing work and possible financial burden it may cause. It will make a huge difference in the long run if everyone feels valued!

 

 -Ali Sheppard, MSW 

BFL – ELF Tennis

ElfTennis was founded by native New Yorker, Esther Forrester.  She has been teaching tennis for more than 15 years and holds PTR certifications.  All of ElfTennis’s instructors are former collegiate tennis players, who are also certified.  Check out our Q&A session with Esther and learn more about ElfTennis:

What made your decision to coach/teach children?

I’ve wanted to coach tennis since I first started playing. I would create imaginary teams when I was in high school and make up stories about them.  Tennis made a tremendous impact in my life, it gave me an outlet for using my energy and meeting others and I wanted to be able to provide that means to today’s youth. In addition, I knew I could do it well ( that never hurts).

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What are the positives and negatives about your business?

One positive is that  we are small and accessible, everyone feels like they matter, people are more than just a number and everyone’s concerns are attended to. In addition, we are in many locations and always looking to expand so chances are we are near most places in NYC. Furthermore, all of our instructors are certified and former collegiate players. We offer a junior team for intermediate players.
The negatives are that we don’t have  a permanent home that is our own ( we rent spaces) but we are working on that and looking for a space and an investor. Feel free to email if you are interested in such an endeavor.

What do you find most rewarding about your business?

I really enjoy the fact that I get to implement my own ideas about coaching and see the tangible effects.  I’m always interested in doing things right and take children and tennis seriously, I have some unique ways to teaching such as using songs to teach concepts and motivate and playing fantasy games.

Thanks so much, Esther, for the sneak peak into ElfTennis! For more information, visit the ElfTennis website.

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?

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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!

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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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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