Tag Archives: childcare

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

Smooth Sailing Into Summertime

The transition to summertime can feel a little precarious for children and grown-ups alike. Schedules and routines may change. Caregivers and environments may be different. Familiarity may be less available. What to do?

The first step is get yourself comfortable with what’s to come. Solidify a plan, ask questions of new caregivers, reflect upon successful transitions from the past. Then support your child. I often recommend that parents, depending on their child’s age and need, use one (or a few) of the following:

  • Write a social story. This can be 4-6 pages (or so) and describes, in child-friendly language, what is ending and what is beginning. Talk about the emotions a child may be experiencing and mention the “tools” that child has for managing those emotions. Use photographs if you can to show the child in each step. For younger children, I write the story. For older children, I try to engage them in the story telling, or include fill-in-the-blank sections for them to add. There are many social stories available online as well.
  • Use a calendar. Some children love to have a calendar at their eye level that they can check from time to time. One week may show a small picture (photo or drawing) that depicts them and friends from school. The next might show the logo from the camp they are attending. You could also include photos of grandma and grandpa, or friends you may be visiting. Try to strike a balance between giving a general sense of where they are going to be and when, with giving too many details that can inhibit flexibility.
  • Write out the sequence. For many children, simply writing down what is going to happen on a piece of paper can be incredibly supportive. Recently, I used this strategy with a client who seemed to be showing some increased anxiety. Though no one was quite sure what it was about. It turned out, he had been feeling sad about leaving his current teachers but was also concerned that he would be on a bus to camp without any grown-ups. Writing down the sequence of events opened a discussion during which I explained what a counselor was and the fact that they would be on the bus.

I find that supporting transitions is helpful for all children (and most grownups too). Even when we don’t see external signs of anxiety related to transitions, children may be wondering what’s to come. Let me know how it goes!

As always, a friendly reminder that you don’t have to do it alone! Whether you have concerns about developmental delays or you’re going through some bumps you’d like to smooth out. If I can help you accomplish the goals you have for yourself and your family, please reach out. You deserve to feel competent, joyful, and EMPOWERED, when you are with your children. They should feel self-confident and have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. I can help you do that!

dana-rosenbloom

This blog has been repurposed from the Dana’s Kids website. To learn more about the writer, Dana Rosenbloom M.S. Ed., click here.

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

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”

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

What You Need to Know About Fevers

Cold and flu season is upon us, and with that comes a classic symptom – fever.

There are a lot of things to know about fevers, and we want to share some must have knowledge before your temperature starts rising.

What temperature is considered a fever?
A fever is any temperature above 100.4. A normal body temperature is anywhere between 97 degrees F and 100.3 degrees F.

Is there such a thing as a fever that’s too high?
There are no magic numbers with fevers. A child with a 104.5 degree fever isn’t necessarily sicker than one with a fever of 100.8. What matters most is the duration of the fever and your child’s behavior once the temperature comes down. In addition, if your child has a fever for more than three days we recommend that they see a doctor.

Are fevers dangerous?
Having a fever is your child’s natural response to fighting infection. Though fevers may feel scary, they are not usually dangerous. Remember, there are medications available to help bring down your child’s temperature so they can be more comfortable.

Should babies always receive medicine for fevers?
You do not have to give your child medication just because he/she has a fever. The fever itself is not dangerous. The reason behind giving them medication is to make him/her more comfortable. If your child has a temperature of 101, but is playing, drinking fluids, and running around, then you can wait and see how they do. If the child seems uncomfortable, it is a good idea to give him/her the medicine so they feel better. Acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) can be given every four hours. Ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Advil and Motrin) can be given every 6 hours once your child is over six months of age.

Can fevers give children brain damage?
Having a fever is the body’s physiologic response to fighting infection. Fevers will not “fry” or “melt” your child’s brain. There is a small subset of children who can have seizures with fever; these are referred to as febrile seizures. These events are uncommon and studies have shown many times that fever reducers do not prevent febrile seizures. If your child does have a febrile seizure you should call 911.

When should I seek medical attention?

  • The child is less than 2-months-old and has a rectal temperature greater than 100.4 degrees.
  • He/she has had persistent fevers for more than three days in a row.
  • He/she is very irritable, despite the fever having gone down.
  • He/she is extremely sleepy and you are having difficulty awakening them.
  • He/she is having trouble breathing.
  • You are not sure how to handle the situation (or you feel concerned about your child’s condition).

Remember, treating the fever with a fever reducer will bring down your child’s temperature, but does not take care of the underlying illness. It is likely that once the medication wears off, your child will have a fever again. In most cases, time, fluids, and fever reducers are all they will need to get back to their normal self.

Winter-standing

This blog was repurposed from Premier Pediatrics. For the complete post, click here

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 Teams Up with FDNY

To continue with CPR awareness from last week’s blog on CPR parties, we wanted to share Bell Family’s CPR training partnership with the FDNY team.

On September 6th, Bell Family hosted the FDNY to conduct their quarterly CPR training seminar to our sitters and nannies. The FDNY has been working with Bell Family for over six years, and we always appreciate them taking time out to help us be the best caregivers we can be.

FDNY went over Adult CPR, and had the caregivers practice on dummies. They learned all steps to performing CPR, and practiced chest compressions while humming along to “stayin alive”.

Our Nanny Services Manager, Lauren, then taught Infant and Child CPR, also while reviewing what to do if a child is ever choking, and basic first aid care.

It was a great night for all, and always a great refresher to know what to do in all situations while caring for infants and children.

Bell Family thanks everyone for coming, and we look forward to the next training! For any further information on what was learned, please contact us directly!

CPR-training

Written by  our Nanny Services Manager, Lauren Kruk