Tag Archives: Bell Family Company

Home Life in Greenwich, Connecticut

Have you been thinking more and more about moving outside the hustle and bustle of the big city? How does Greenwich, CT sound?

In our final week of talking all things real estate, we partnered up with Margaret Vorder Bruegge and Sharon Kinney, our experts of real estate in the Greenwich, CT area (don’t worry, Bell Family has sitters in Greenwich)! Read below for our Q&A, and then find yourself browsing their listings like I did.

Q: What are some common requests that families make when looking for a home?

A: When looking for a new home, families prioritize neighborhoods, school districts and extra curricular activities available to their children. Greenwich has an abundance of sports, social and education resources for all ages. Parents who work in the city ask about access to the train and highways, and about services that make their lives manageable – references for nannys, dogwalkers and doctors and dentists.

Q: When working with a family to find a new home do they come with a clear idea what they are looking for or do you steer them to a home best suited for family?

A: Today’s buyers are smart and have a list of features that they are looking for in their new home.  They know how many bedrooms and bathrooms they want, they have an idea of what size home and property they desire. When buyers don’t know the town well, we help them pinpoint which of the many areas of Greenwich – each with its own lifestyle – meets their desired location needs, which is information not available on the internet.

Q: What are some tips you give to families looking for a new home?

A: We have each lived in Greenwich for over 30 years and raised our own families here. We share resources about schools – public and private, extracurricular sports programs and the fabulous Greenwich public parks, which include a golf course, three local beaches, marinas, a town pool, paddle and tennis courts and hiking trails.

Q: Life with kiddo’s can get hectic and spare time can be limited.  What are some good ways to go about home searching if someone has little extra time in their day.

A: We make the homebuying experience very efficient by understanding our buyers wants and needs and price range. Together we develop a finely tuned profile of the “perfect” home. We then preview homes on the market on their behalf and call them to see the right one when it becomes available. We can add the most value when our clients trust us to be their eyes, ears and advocates.

Learn more about Margi Vorder Bruegge and Sharon Kinney, and be on your way to calling Greenwich, CT home.

Sharon and Margi (2)

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

 

Realtor Brings Home-Buying Tips to Families

We recently partnered with Joe Quiros, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at Compass Real Estate and Co-Founder of The Joe + Kelly Team, to learn more about the home-buying process, and to share tips with families who are out hunting for their next home.

Q: What are some common special requests that family’s make when looking for a home?

A: The most common request is, and always will be, school district. The NYC school system is intricate and presents many challenges, and while some parents will choose to send their children to private school for middle and high school, a great public school for the K-5 years is always highly desirable. Our advice for parents with children is to really do their homework on what school districts they would be happy to live in, and then focusing on properties in those areas. Homes in great school districts can demand a premium, and we want to avoid situations where clients are comparing properties in lesser school districts, conceivably getting more value, but being disappointed in the options that they would actually be comfortable living in.

Q: When working with a family to find a new home, do they come to you with a clear idea on what they are looking for, or do you help steer them towards a home best fit for families? 

A: We always coach our clients that it’s a process of elimination, not a process of selection, and in order to go through that process, it’s best to keep your search as broad as possible in the beginning and then whittle it down as you see more homes. We’ve had clients who completely gut renovate and design their homes to the inch, and even then, there are things they wish they had done differently. So the idea of a ‘perfect home’ doesn’t really exist at any price point. With that, while every client should have their wish list, it’s important to figure out what items on that wish list are most important, and which can be compromised on a bit and the only way to figure that out is by going out and seeing properties. While we’re there to guide and advise against making a bad investment, to point things out that they may not have noticed, and to make sure they’re not missing anything on the market, ultimately the client is the only person who can figure out what’s most important to them and their family.

Q: What are some tips you give to families looking for a new home?

A: One of the things that we always remind our clients is that real estate mirrors life. Marriage and having children are two of the biggest changes in anyone’s life, and making sure that you have a home that you can grow into is vital. While no one can truly predict the market, typically, if you hold an asset for several years, it’s going to appreciate and end up being a great investment. So, one of the things we try to coach our clients on is making sure, to the best of their abilities, that the home will be a place they can grow into and that matches their life plans. That way, they can live there long enough to allow it to appreciate, while being happy and comfortable while they’re there. Aside from that, having a doorman can be great for older children who are traveling to and from school alone; A children’s playroom is a great opportunity to meet other parents of young children within your building; And having local parks makes it easy to get the kids outside and get some of that energy out!

Q: Life with kiddos can get hectic and spare time can be limited. What are some good ways to go about home searching if someone has little extra time in their day?

A: Being prepared as best as possible is one of, if not the most important things for any serious buyer. If they’re taking out a mortgage, the first step is always to get pre-approved by a bank. Pre-approvals are different that pre-qualifications, as a pre-approval takes more time and documentation, but holds more weight when understanding what your purchasing power is and when putting in an offer. Once that’s done, having an open and constant dialogue about what properties you like to see is vital for efficiency. One of the tools the Compass offers called ‘Collections’ allows us to communicate specific properties in real time and is almost like a Pinterest of Real Estate. It’s a great tool for keeping organized and staying focused on which properties you’ve seen, which properties you want to see, and which properties you’re not, or no longer interested in and is so much more efficient than the dozens of email threads that typically are the case when searching for a home. Using that spare time to go through the properties on Collections can take as little as five minutes and once you’ve accumulated an adequate list, it’s a matter of us scheduling as many of those properties within that block of time as possible.

To learn more about The Joe + Kelly Team, click here.

JoeKellyTeam

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

The Best Baby Shower Gift

As a woman, it’s inevitable that you will host, attend, or somehow be apart of a baby shower in your lifetime. There’s often the usual suspects when it comes to gifts: diapers, clothes, stroller, bassinet. The same old gifts can become rather dull, and if you’re anything like me, you kind of want to pick out those things yourself. That’s part of the fun, right?

What if we told you that we have the new and improved best baby shower gift? After talking to local expecting moms about what is on their baby shower registry, we found that it’s not your typical ask. No more monogrammed blankets or boxes of diapers, what moms really want as a gift is childcare relief!

Moms are asking for funds to go towards babysitters, nannies, and baby or night nurses. Think of it as a GoFundMe for all things childcare.

Of course the Bell Family team fully supports this idea! If you’re looking to be apart of this one-of-a-kind gift, contact us. We can make all arrangements for your friend or family member – no stress! You can purchase a gift card, buy babysitting hours, or put money towards the mom’s future childcare provider. Email us at info@bellfamilycompany.com for more information.

Play-3

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Childcare Tips for Children With Behavioral Challenges

We spoke with a couple Bell Family sitters who have years of experience working with children with behavioral challenges or special needs, and wanted to share their tips, so you too, feel comfortable and confident in the same situation.

Bell Family Sitter #1: Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who has been working with children with Autism and other special needs for over nine years.

Working with children with special needs is just like working with other kids in many ways. These children need you to care for them, help them, play with them and more! I think it is important to keep in mind that these children and kids like everyone else. However, depending on their needs, it may be hard for them to communicate, follow directions, get around or tolerate less preferred things. 

If you are working with a kid with special needs, always speak to the parents about their limitations so you are prepared. For example, if the child has trouble communicating, they may be more likely to have behaviors when they want to ask for things they need. The more information you can get from the parents regarding the child’s needs and routines, the better!  Also, ask about any safety concerns you should be aware of. This is a very important question! You want to make sure you know what to do in case of an emergency since the child may not react like other children, or may be more prone to danger because of his or her special needs. 

If you can, try to observe how the parents interact with the child before they leave you for the day. This will typically give you a good idea of the ways to communicate with the child and what the child may enjoy. It is possible the child prefers to be alone and wants to read in the corner, that’s okay too. Let the child show you what they want to do! 

Always follow the child’s typical schedule and try your best not to change the routine too much. When transitioning between activities, it is often helpful to give a warning. For example, you may say “Okay, five more minutes until we eat lunch” while the child is playing a video game. Try to use simple language and be direct when you are giving instructions. 

Lastly, if your child is having a tantrum, remember to stay calm. You may not always understand the reason but try not to get flustered. Make sure the child stays safe and try to redirect their attention to something else and get back on schedule. Always remember these are just kids so just have fun!

Bell Family Sitter #2: Masters from NYU in Social Work with a focus on clinical social work with children and families. Currently working as a social worker at a hospital in Manhattan.

When working with children with behavioral challenges such as ADD and ADHD, certain adjustments may be necessary to your caregiving practices. Each child has their own set of needs, and what might be a useful practice with one child, might not be helpful with another, and thus it is important to gain a sense of individual differences of what has worked in the past from the parents themselves before you begin your time with families. 

Providing rewards and consequences for behaviors that are either positive or negative, providing consistency in routines and expectations, and being extra diligent with safety precautions, are all things to keep top of mind. It is important that when working with children with certain differences, we do not treat them drastically different than we would treat their siblings who are without challenges. We should instead adapt certain practices in order to ensure they continue to learn, thrive, and grow in the safest environment possible. Children who are older and have behavioral challenges may require enhanced supervision, more structure in their daily routines, and more assistance with tasks such as completing their homework.

Look to think outside of the box to find ways in which we can help children – for instance – by taking breaks in between tasks and limiting electronic use until after certain items are completed.

I worked with a family where one child had both ADHD and dyslexia, and completing homework was quite the challenge after school. We initially tried to work on assignments together right when she got off the bus in order to get it out of the way, however, it was clear that wasn’t working when she could barely sit still and complete a single question on the sheet. I realized it was important to allow some time for relaxation and mind stimulation in ways other than homework after a long day in the classroom. We began to spend some time after school kicking around a soccer ball, playing board games, and engaging in other recreational activities. Then, we designated a certain time to begin homework with additional time to wind down in the evening. I found this to be an effective way to meet her halfway, and before I knew it, she was able to focus on the assignments with a clear mind.

Such practices might not be of use with all children, but this is just an example of how we can be flexible and adjust our days with little ones in the hopes that getting through the day for them is that much more feasible and pleasurable.

CPR Party

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

The Best Childcare Advice

What’s the best childcare advice? To not feel bad about taking care of yourself!

This mom guilt thing has to be better managed and supported. Aim to find someone that you can confide in! My mom gives the best advice on everything.

Look to get some type of help immediately post baby. My mom spent the first month with me when I gave birth – she acted as my baby nurse. I think every mom needs to have a parent, assistant, sitter, or baby nurse there for the first four weeks. It doesn’t have to be around the clock, or expensive. Especially if you are working or have other kids running around.

Here are some benefits:

1. Helps you recover faster and heal
2. Helps provide support and help with the baby
3. Makes you feel taken care of and gives you someone to talk to if you have questions

Don’t wait! Try to get the process of searching for someone started early to save on stress. And don’t forget to do your research. Some moms could change everything once the baby arrives.

If you get a direct referral it’s much easier. Typically, if the referral is an excellent sitter, or a great judge of character, they will refer someone just as great. Try using an agency or a group of some sort (HINT: Bell Family Company)! If you don’t, you’ll be running your own company (sourcing, vetting, checking references, etc.). Groups or companies know all the rules, and have staff to vet through all of those things for you.

Golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. I think this is more important than ever for both the nanny and family. It’s amazing how a nanny that is given a coffee in the morning from her family will be more than willing to take the dog out for an extra walk, or how the family that lets the nanny leave early because she baked cookies for the family for their party that night.

And don’t forget, Bell Family is here to help with making childcare a breeze! Contact us today to book a sitter or nanny!

Linds-Brooks

Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Hire Your Nanny Through an Agency!

GTM Payroll Services conducted a survey on the advantages to hiring household staff through an agency. The findings of their household employment survey of families and nannies made it clear that hiring a nanny through an agency, rather than using an online job site, saved time, boosted retention, and reduced the stress and hassles of bringing multiple nannies on board over a short period of time.

A family that hires through an agency instead of an online job site will receive a higher quality nanny, spend less time searching for the right match, and will ultimately find a nanny that they’ll keep longer.

The supposed benefit of using an online job site is having a wider selection of candidates. However, 83% of respondents who used an online job site said that the number of responses from unqualified candidates was one of the biggest drawbacks of going online to find a nanny.

See the full article “Why You Should Hire Your Nanny Through an Agency,” for more information on the survey. Also, see this handy infographic that illustrates the advantages for a family that hires through an agency versus an online job site.

GTM-trim

This blog has been repurposed from GTM Payroll Services Inc.

Bell Family Has Their Very Own IRONMAN

Lauren Kruk, Bell Family’s Nanny Services Manager, has accomplished something most people have not. She has successfully trained and completed in an IRONMAN competition, proving that the Bell Family team is one strong bunch.

Read below to hear directly from Lauren, and her experience from earlier this summer.

On Sunday July 23rd, I completed in IRONMAN Lake Placid. IRONMAN consists of a 2.4 mile swim in open water, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run (in that order). Being a part of a triathlon club and starting with small races in 2014, it was always a dream of mine to complete the largest triathlon distance, and as Lake Placid is the longest running IRONMAN event in North America (and also beautiful!), it was an easy choice to achieve my dream there. I started training before the new year, and in a matter of 6 months I had racked up 523 running miles, 1,675 miles on the bike, and 50 miles in water. It was challenging, exhausting, but exhilarating and emotional. An IRONMAN has a 17 hour cutoff; all disciplines are timed (with transitions between each timed too). I finished in 14:43 and I’ll never forget the feeling of crossing that finish line. It’s true what they say, anything is possible!

Lauren-race

On behalf of all your teammates at Bell Family, CONGRATS LAUREN! We’re so proud of you!

Training Thursday Vol. 8 – Good Manners

Welcome to volume eight of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we release a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.

This week we are featuring a training video on good manners.

As we all gear up for summer, here are some fast good manners to keep fresh in your mind.

1. ALWAYS text or e-mail the family once you get a confirmation e-mail. Families love that you go the extra step to make them feel comfortable and ensure that you’ll be there.

2. Google map the address beforehand, so that you are on-time! Nothing is worst than being late to an appointment. If you are running late due to transportation issues, make sure you notify the family via e-mail or text, so they have a heads up.

3. When you enter the family’s home; take off your shoes (if that is a house rule), wash your hands and shake the parent’s hand to introduce yourself (if it is your first appointment with them).

4. DO NOT BE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICE. We can’t stress this enough based on parent feedback. The sitter should not be on their phone, unless to contact the parent. That also means do not take videos, photos, or post on social media about the kids and/or family.  If the children are asleep and you have downtime, it is fine to be on your mobile device. Make sure you use your own data, unless the family offers their wifi.

5. Always clean up after the children and yourself; put dishes in the dishwasher, clean up toys (get the kids to help).

6. Stay organized. Make sure you check your BFC calendar and know about all upcoming jobs. If you are unsure, e-mail us and we’ll help!

Read here for Parent’s Magazine ‘25 Manners Kids Should Know’. You are their teacher, and children learn from example. Be a great example for the kids!

These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social workers.

HandHold

Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

 

Why Choose Bell Family Company?

Letting a new person into your home to watch your child can seem like a daunting matter. There are so many childcare services out there, but not all of them are a good fit for your family.

It’s so important to be thorough in your childcare search and here is why.

In a recent article published on the CafeMom website, they share a story of a mom who hired a sitter, and then discovered through her online search that she was a felon!

The mom was in a bind when her usual babysitter cancelled that morning, and she had (stay-at-home) work to be done on a deadline. With the family being new to the area they didn’t know anyone else nearby. As a result, the mom turned to a “Sitters and Tutors” Facebook group.

When the sitter (who claimed to be a mom herself) arrived, all seemed normal and the toddler gravitated toward her immediately. The mom soon got back to looking into the credentials of the Facebook group, and those of the girl that was now in her house watching her child. That is when the discovery of the fraudulent babysitter occurred. Upon her further investigation, the mom found out that the sitter only had nine friends, and a profile picture that was a stock image of a fireplace. That made it relevant that her Facebook profile/group was fake, and the identity of the sitter was a mystery.

The mom managed to handle the situation calmly and collectively, and got the sitter out of the house with her not suspecting she was onto her. However, when the mom returned to her computer to Google the sitter, she found her mug shot and read that she was previously arrested for credit card theft.

This story is alarming for any parent to read, and makes it evident that families need to be extra cautious as to where they are seeking childcare.

This is why Bell Family Company is a great fit for your childcare needs:

- Our core mission is to provide the highest quality family care in a convenient & efficient manner.
- Our sitters and nannies are the best in the business and become true, long term role models for your children.
- Our  GoodHire Background Check Process provides parents peace of mind that their little ones are always in great hands.
- Our comprehensive suite of offerings reduces daily stress for today’s busy families.
- We are a licensed, bonded & insured.

Sign up today to be apart of our family, and to have yours in great hands!

Outside-sitting

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Training Thursday Vol. 1 – Bottle Prep

Welcome to the start of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we’ll be releasing a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.

This week we are featuring a training video about bottle prep!

Always follow the parent’s instruction on what type of milk they would like you to prep for the bottle. The three different types of milk include:

1. Breast milk only: The mother will either freeze or refrigerate her milk and have it clearly labeled. Make sure it is not old or sitting out for more than an hour.

2. Formula only: The video linked above walks through the instruction on powder formula, but there is also full strength liquid formula, which is fully prepared.

3. Breast milk and formula: Some moms will mix the two, and some will feed the baby a formula bottle, followed by a bottle with only breast milk. The reason for this is because some moms don’t produce enough milk, some are weening, etc.

When heating the bottle you can us a bottle warmer, heat the milk on the stove/microwave or, let it sit in a warm bowl for 5-10 minutes. Test the bottle’s temperature on the outside of your hand before giving it to a baby.

You also want to make sure the bottle is clean and that there is nothing in the bottle from the dishwasher. When assembling the bottle, make sure you secure the nipple tightly and that there is no room for leaks.

Every family has a different way of doing things, so be sure to ask the family for full instructions on how they would like you to prepare the bottle.

If the baby is not taking the bottle for some reason, text the family and let them know. It’s always a good idea to keep full records of how much the baby eats when in your care.

These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social workers.

Bottle prep

Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.