Tag Archives: childcare

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!

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!

1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children

Greetings, all!

In a recent seminar hosted by BFC, we had the privilege of listening in on Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., author of 1-2-3 Magic Effective Discipline for Children 2-12. He taught us that 1-2-3 Magic is simple, but not always easy. The easy part is the basic structure of the program. The hard part is the fact that the first step in disciplining kids is to discipline yourself.

Below you will find further tips that we pulled away from the seminar.

Tip 1: Think of parenting as a three step process:

Step 1: Controlling Obnoxious (Stop) Behavior
Step 2: Encouraging Good (Start) Behavior
Step 3: Strengthening Your Relationship with Your Child

Tip 2: There are two basic kinds of behavior problems:

STOP BEHAVIOR: arguing, whining, fighting, teasing, tantrums, yelling, etc. For this minor obnoxious behavior you will use the 1-2-3, or “counting,” method.
START BEHAVIOR: eating, going to bed, getting up in the morning, homework, cleaning rooms, practicing, etc. To encourage good behavior you will have seven tactics. You may use one or more of them simultaneously.

Tip 3: Controlling Obnoxious (Stop) Behavior

The “counting” method: two brief warnings (“That’s 1,” “That’s 2″) followed by a “rest period” or time-out alternative if the child hits three. No talking, no emotion. No explanations afterwards unless absolutely necessary.
What to do in public? Get 1-2-3 rolling at home first, then use it in the grocery store the same as at home. Beware of the threat of public embarrassment!

Tip 4: Strengthening Your Relationship with Your Child

Try these four things: shared one-on-one fun, avoiding over-parenting, sympathetic listening, and solving problems together

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

Holiday Party Kid Zone

Greetings, all!

If you take a look at your schedule this month, there is most likely a  holiday party that you need to attend. You then face the struggle as to what to do with your child, in order for you to bust out that ugly holiday sweater.  With that, I introduce you to a great offering from the BFC team, a holiday party kid zone!

Members of the BFC team will get to the party early to set up the area (make sure it’s clean, safe for kids, etc.). While you and your friends are enjoying the eggnog, your kids will be partaking in fun craft activities, including popsicle stick snowmen, clothespin reindeer, and a take home bag to put all of their goodies in. We also have fun games on standby incase their attention span is not in our favor.

This is just one of the many things that the BFC team can help organize – so this year, make your holiday season a breeze! To book your kid zone, e-mail us at info@bellfamilycompany.com.

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

Expecting Mom vs. Baby Brain

Greetings, all!

We recently checked in with one of our moms who just found out she is expecting her first child this spring! She was able to share her build up to receiving the exciting news, and some of the things she has done to prep for the newest addition to her family. Here is what she had to say…

“Baby Brain” to many expecting mothers is a term to define a block in your ability to think clearly. To me, it means trying to cram my brain with as much knowledge and awareness about becoming a new mom. I think it is important for moms to be, to not set unattainable expectations on themselves. For many, this is a once in a lifetime experience, and if you think like me, everything will fall into place accordingly. So, sit back and enjoy the ride!

As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I was overjoyed. My husband and I have been trying for several months, and resorted to a form of fertility treatments. I am in my late 20′s, but the dreaded biological clock seems to be knocking on my door, even though technically there is still plenty of time. I took a couple of weeks to enjoy the news fully and not think about how I should start preparing. That time soon came to an end, as I could no longer keep all of the baby thoughts outside of my brain. Luckily for me, my husband is in the healthcare field, so together we started doing a lot of research online. I made copies of text from his medical books and printed probably 265 lists of things to do/get. Not to mention, I will be a working mom, so I immediately visited my company’s HR site to review and print maternity leave forms. My binder is beginning to resemble a copy of the Old Testament.

At the end of the day, my husband and I are competent people with an amazing support system. I know several expecting moms, and that brings me a sense of solace. Though, it is great to have a reference book with colored tabs and highlighted areas, the most important thing is to enjoy the experience. Don’t be afraid to ask other moms and resources questions along the way. I find other moms to be the “holy grail” of baby knowledge and a great support system.

Also remember ladies, there is always wine at the end of this journey!

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

Toddler Tips

Greetings, all!

We’re spinning off of our October blog, “Infant 411″, by bringing you some every day tips to keep in mind with your toddler(s). You can thank the toddler master, Mama Bell, for her first-hand experience through her five children.

1. Cut food into small enough pieces to prevent choking.

2. Make sure steps are blocked with gates or obstacles to keep them from falling.

3. Watch that all toys are age appropriate as they put everything in their mouths.

4. Door knobs of rooms that are unsafe for children to enter should be covered.

5. Kitchen cupboard doors and drawers need to be safeguarded as there are many unsafe things to get into. Things on countertops need to be put out of their reach–move back towards the wall.

6. Keep toilet seats down.

7. Make sure when putting them to bed, all toys and extra blankets are removed.

8. When put into high chairs, strollers, or anything else, make sure the straps and buckles are secure.

For additional tips, check out some of our older posts on the BFC website–bedtime routine and teething toddlers.

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

Nanny, Daycare or Nannyshare

Greetings, all!

Deciding what childcare fits best for your family can turn into a long and stressful decision. To sort through the many options available to parents, it’s important to ask yourself questions prior to making a decision. Read below, an article published by Huffington Post, and find yourself ready to make a decision faster than ever.

1. How many hours a day will I need childcare and for which days?

2. How much flexibility do I need? Will there be days I need to leave the child longer? Or will I work part-time some weeks and full-time other weeks?

3. What is my budget? What can I afford to pay?

4. Do I want the caregiver to have a childcare education or specialized degree? Or is experience enough?

5. Do you prefer more individualized care for your child or more of a group environment?

6. What size of a group do you prefer for your child to be in?

a.) For example, do you mind there being 20 other children in a class or would you rather it was a very small class–like 5? Maybe you would prefer your child to be with his/her siblings most of the time and then have play times with other children?

7. Do you need some other help around the house, like doing the child’s laundry or fixing his/her meals?

8. How will your employer handle it if you need to take a day off if the caregiver is ill?

For the full Huffington Post article click here.

Have a great week everyone!
TB

Mama Bell and LB’s Baby Must-Haves

Greetings, all!

The blog this week is brought to you by the one and only Lindsay Bell! Both her and Ma Bell went to register for the first time, where they were introduced to the longest list they’ve ever seen. Ma Bell was able to quickly cut that list in half as they roamed the store. Here are the essentials they came up with for first time moms that are a bit overwhelmed by the list.

1. Sleepy Baby

  • Crib
  • Crib mattress
  • Sound machine
  • Swaddle blankets
  • Crib bedding set
  • Fitted crib sheets (at least 4)
  • Monitor
  • Humidifier

Bedroom Accessories

  • Changing table
  • Changing pad (if it doesn’t come in the diaper bag)
  • Changing table pad covers
  • Dresser
  • Hamper
  • Hangers

2. Mobile Baby

  • Car seat
  • Running stroller
  • Easy travel stroller
  • Diaper bag

3. Playtime Baby

  • Infant swing or bouncer
  • Play yard
  • Baby gym
  • Infant toys
  • Books
  • Music on  your iPad

4. Dress Up Baby

  • Body suits
  • Sleep and play
  • Side snap shirts
  • Pants
  • Socks
  • Caps, mittens, booties

5. Hungry Baby

  • Breast pump (rent or buy from a friend if you can)
  • Nursing pads
  • Breast milk storage containers
  • Nursing covers
  • Nursing support pillow
  • Bottles (different sizes) and nipples
  • Bibs
  • Burping cloths
  • Pacifiers
  • High chair

6. Clean Up Baby

  • Diapers (huggies are our favorites)
  • Wipes
  • Diaper cream
  • Diaper pail
  • Bathtub
  • Towels
  • Wash clothes
  • Shampoo, body wash, and lotion

7. Healthy Baby

  • Grooming kit
  • Thermometer
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Baby laundry detergent (we love this!)
  • Think about baby proofing (gates, outlet covers, etc.)

 

Special thanks to Mama Bell for her baby expertise! See you all next week.

-LB

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Written by our Founder & President, Lindsay Bell!

How To: Ace a Childcare Interview

Greetings, all!

in·ter·view  /ˈin(t)ərˌvyo͞o/
noun
Commonly referred to a meeting between a small group, where one or all feel awkward through a series of random questions that no one in the real world would actually ask you. Most often deals with sweating, nervousness, and filling awkward silences.

Don’t fight it, you have felt some of the feelings listed above in at least one interview in your life. To better your experience in a childcare interview, our coordinator, Ali Sheppard, put together a list of 10 things to know prior to going in. I hope you can redefine my definition of an interview in your next go around.

Good luck interviewees!

1.   Prior to the interview review the Caregiver Sample Interview Questions and the Family’s Job Conditions; you won’t be asked every question, but its good practice to review!

2.   Ask questions about the children; about their personality, interests, do they play sports/play instruments, get to know them better! Do they have any allergies?

3.   Discuss the typical day and responsibilities. Ask questions.

4.   Do not bring up salary in the first interview. The first interview is about the connection, which is the most important factor in finding your family. If the family brings up salary – simply say that you are comfortable with the salary range indicated on their Job Conditions and you are more interested in making sure you and they are a good fit!

5.   Make a connection with the parents, but always engage the children if they are present! Ask about there parenting philosophy and their house rules.

6.   Be open and flexible. Listen!

7.   Be ON TIME. No matter what! Plan for weather and transportation delays. Being late to your interview is never a good sign.

8.   BE professional. NEVER ever get too personal. Do NOT discuss religion, politics or personal problems or other hot topics. Do not over share personal information about yourself.

9.   Dress professionally, but do not overdress! Business casual is a safe bet! A nice top, pants, closed toed shoes and hair pulled back with no tattoos showing, piercings, big jewelry is a great professional look for a caregiver interview.

10.  Be sure to connect with the Placement Coordinator to discuss the position and review any questions prior to the interview.

 

See you all next week!

TB