Tag Archives: children

Ask Dr. Jen … We Did!

We recently had the opportunity to partner with Pediatrician Jen Trachtenberg, MD, to get some of our Pediatrician questions answered and to learn more about her latest ventures, which include great tools for parents!

Take a read through our Q&A below, and then visit her website to learn more. You’ll soon find that you are on your way to a more comfortable and confident parenting experience (it exists!).

Q: Finding the right Pediatrician can be a big decision for new parents. How early would you suggest new moms and dads to find one? And what are some good questions for parents to ask the Pediatrician when trying to decide if he/she is a good  fit?

A: Finding the right pediatrician for your family is an important task because having a physician that makes you feel confident as well as comfortable asking questions to, is essential to getting the best care possible for your baby. I recommend starting early – in the last trimester of pregnancy – to begin finding a pediatrician. Ask family and friends, as well as your OB/Gyn for recommendations. You can easily search the doctor’s credentials on the internet, but I highly recommend going for a “meet and greet” or prenatal appointment in their office so you can ask questions directly and see how the office operates. You can also come a bit early and speak with other parents in the waiting room for their opinions as well. Make sure to bring a list and ask your questions to the doctor. Here are a few important ones:

  • - Are they board certified and continue with ongoing medical education?
  • - Will the pediatrician see the newborn in the hospital?
  • - What are the office hours and who do I contact in case of an evening emergency?
  • - Do you use email or phone to return messages?
  • - What are your views on vaccines and breast and formula feeding?

Listen for how the doctor responds and see if you feel you have a connection, and your questions are answered adequately. As a new parent, there are no silly questions, just ones you need the answers to. By finding a pediatrician who listens and understands your concerns and fears as new parents, you can ensure safety and better health and wellness for your new bundle of joy.

Q: You have two published books on the shelf, 1) The Smart Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Kids through Check Ups, Illnesses and Accidents and 2) Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children. What can readers expect to learn in each of these books. 

A: I have written two parenting books to help decrease parents’ fears and anxiety that often comes with raising a child. By giving easy to understand information, it helps to build healthy habits and also empowers parents to advocate for their child’s health. Good Kids Bad Habits: The Real Age Guide to Raising Healthy Children, breaks down habits into small easy steps and demonstrates how making even a few changes in nutrition, exercise, stress, and safety can have a huge positive impact on your child’s long term health and wellness. My second book, The Smart Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Kids through Checkups, Illnesses and Accidents, is all about empowering parents to speak up and how to get the information you need to make the right decisions regarding your child’s health in the ER, during a hospital stay or dealing with a routine well visit.

Q: You provide a great video series called, Pediatrician in Your Pocket, offering parents a one-stop learning experience on all things childcare. What are some essential items new parents will takeaway from these videos, and how can people access them to view? 

A: My latest venture is my new comprehensive video guide manual Pediatrician in Your Pocket for parents that gives you all the answers you need about caring for your baby from newborn through age 2 years. It’s the only science based, mom tested, no judgement video guide for new parents.  The ultimate video cheat sheet, stacked with information new parents need to feel more confident during their first parenting journey. The bite size five minute videos are comprehensive, reassuring and easy to understand, and available to you 24/7 whenever you have a question or need answers. I am a virtual doctor-on-demand, delivering medical tips backed up by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I discuss sleeping, eating, peeing, pooping, vaccines, common illness, developmental milestones, what to do for fever, baby proofing, temper tantrums and so much more. When you know the answer to your question, it’s as simple as one click and a video clip. New parents can take a deep breath and know someone has their back any time day or night.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Family Fun Grows in the Garden

Gardening is an activity that families can enjoy doing together. It serves as a good way to bond, exercise, and learn about different kinds of plants. Not only that, it’s increasingly important to get kids to experience as much of the outdoors as they can, and one fantastic way to do that is to get them interested in gardening. Introducing them to growing their own flowers, herbs, and vegetables can help instill curiosity, empathy, and a nurturing instinct that is essential for a person to have.

However, it is difficult to find the time or the space to garden in an urban environment. The common lack of a garden, for starters, poses a basic problem that can seem hard to get around for this particular outdoor activity. However, there are plenty of ways to still get children interested in growing plants!

A great place to start is a potted plant inside the apartment. This can be an herb or a small flowering plant, or even sprouts! A child’s wonder at seeing their plant grow isn’t affected by the size of the plant or the scale of their gardens, but by the mere fact that they made this plant grow and change. Herbs and sprouts make wonderful potted plants, because they tend to be fast-growing and easy to take care of.

The natural progression from this may seem to be hoarding a ton of potted plants, but it doesn’t have to be. Try finding a community garden in the area! These are becoming popular in urban spaces, and can be a great way to expand your “garden”. It could even be the beginning of your child’s very own vegetable patch!

Personal Creations has put together a detailed guide that features what you can (and should) plant, and what to avoid when gardening with children. It even includes a list of kids’ gardening tools, and how to go about maintaining your garden. So grab those gloves, get a watering can, and get started!

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Special thanks to Katie Santos and Personal Creations for writing and partnering with us for this post!

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!

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

Finding Harmony With Your Child

We recently got the chance to partner with Emily Chamberlin and Christopher Diaz, co-founders of Heart to Harmony, an organization centered around connecting parents and caregivers to their children through various techniques. Learn about their teachings through our Q&A below, and by stopping by their space on the Upper West Side!

Q: What is the mission behind Heart To Harmony? What kinds of things do you hope your members takeaway from your classes? 

 A: Our mission is to create a harmonious atmosphere, where families and their babies can find a deeper bond within themselves and with their child. Our participants leave class feeling uplifted and encouraged emotionally, physically and spiritually. Parents and caregivers will acquire knowledge of children’s songs, baby and me exercises and breathing techniques to do at home. These tools can be used in or out of the class to calm the mind, relieve stress and connect on a deeper level with their child.  

 Q: What types of classes do you offer? Can people of all ages register to take a class? 

 A: We offer a Baby and Me exercise and mindfulness class for ages 4 weeks to new walkers that focuses on connecting with your child through the breathe, guided imagery, singing and simple fun baby and me exercises.

 Q: Where did your passion/inspiration come from to start up Heart of Harmony? 

 A: Our inspiration came from our shared desire to create a unique program for families with little ones to meet, bond, have fun and find community. Our love of teaching, working with kids and connecting on a deeper humanistic level with others is the spark that ignited Heart to Harmony. 

Q: How can prospective members sign-up for a class? Are the class schedules flexible? 

A: Those interested in joining our Heart to Harmony family can e-mail us (chrisandemily@hearttoharmony.com) to schedule a 10 minute meet and greet prior to joining class. This meet and greet is required so that we can get to know each family on a more personal level. 

Families can sign up for a class through the “Register for class” section on our website. Payments online are made through PayPal. Cash and VENMO are also accepted prior to class.

Special discount offer for Bell Family Company families: Receive a 25% discount on your first class with Heart to Harmony! Just mention this blog and your BFC member info when signing up. 

For a great promo video to learn more about Heart to Harmony, click here!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Get Crafty with the Kids for Spring

It may be hard to believe for northeasters, but it is actually springtime. A time where you normally wear a light jacket, smell fresh flowers blossoming on the trees, and spend more quality time outside. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?

If you find yourself inside because all of those things are not yet achievable, then spend some time with the kiddos being crafty with fun Easter and Spring-themed activities!

Easter morning is almost as exciting as Christmas morning, so why not prepare for the Easter Bunny just like you prepare for Santa? Have the kiddos write letters to the Easter Bunny, and prepare snacks for him to give him energy to hide the eggs! These printable letters and poems will welcome him and keep your kids entertained.

Once Easter morning arrives, wake up early and place bunny footprints around the house with the bunny footprint template from Personal Creations. They come in three sizes, and all you have to do is print them out, cut on the dotted line, and sift flour on top of them to show what path the Easter Bunny took through your house or around your yard.

You kids’ faces are sure to light up when they wake up and see that the Easter Bunny paid a visit!

For all of the fun creations and activities, click here!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, with guest contributor Katie Santos from Personal Creations

Experience Farm Life in the City!

Being stuck indoors during the cold, winter months with children can take its toll on any parent. It can become even more challenging when living in the not so spacious quarters of a city apartment. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to linger away from the city life and head for a life surrounded by what nature has to offer? Imagine getting that experience and not having to travel a hundred miles outside the city for a farm spotting. 

The Art Farm in the City is a children’s education center that is home to New York City’s only indoor petting zoo! Art Farm is a unique space to meet and interact with animals from bearded dragons, to chinchillas and chickens. Their philosophy encourages a childhood relationship with the natural world, while engaging children in care and compassion of all living creatures.

Children can enjoy a various amount of activities including art, music, and cooking-themed classes, playtime, drop-ins, birthday parties, and camps.

Bell Family’s Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell, took her toddler son there after the holiday season and he loved every minute of it! Growing up on a small farm in Ohio, it’s important for Lindsay to share a piece of her upbringing in nature with her son. Her son loved the turtles the most! So much that he said it over and over for the rest of the day – a new word! He also spent time looking at the fish, birds, and he got inside the fence area with the rabbits. Mom and son practiced the names of the pets and the sounds they make. It was a playtime activity mixed with some learning. 

The place was packed as it was a frigid winter day, but all guests were in good spirits and there were plenty of activities for all the kids.  For more information on The Art Farm in the City, check out their website here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Treats for Santa and Fun for Kids

This week, Bell Family is spreading holiday cheer to families near and far by featuring some great, festive craft activities for the kiddies. Not only are they fun, but they pose as a great way to keep the kids busy while they are out of school for the holidays.

On the night before Christmas, Santa and his team of 8 reindeer deliver gifts and goodies to kids around the world. Many families leave cookies and milk out for Santa, but don’t forget about the reindeer! Help Rudolf and his team journey to your home this Christmas Eve with Personal Creations’ yummy reindeer food and adorable poem printables.

With a few ingredients you likely have in your cupboards (mix oats, sprinkles, and a pinch of sugar), create a special treat the kids can leave out the night before Christmas. This is the ultimate way to say “thank you” to all of Santa’s hard-working helpers. Once you have created your reindeer food mixture, sprinkle onto your yard and await the morning for a special surprise: presents under the tree!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, with guest partner Sherry Chen at Personal Creations.

 

Raising a Bold, Brave, and Self-Reliant Boy

Have you ever wondered what motivates and drives your son in his everyday life? Teaching empowerment and belief in oneself is important, and it’s something parent’s can learn about in an upcoming event in New York City.

Join author and psychologist Dr. Adam Price,  for an event explaining how to teach your son to persist when challenged, and to develop the critical self-regulation skills necessary for success. He will also decode ‘boy world,’ explain why some bucks are “too cool for school” and give you the tools to raise confident, emotionally strong men.

On Wednesday, November 15 (6:30 PM until 8:00 PM), take part in the event by registering with HRP Mamas. Don’t wait – the Tuesday event is already sold out!

For full event and registration details, click here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Parental Phone Use Linked to Child Behavior?

The amount of screen time isn’t only something to be cautious of for children, but it’s also something to keep top of mind for parents. In a recent article published by The Bump, it discusses how a child’s behavior can be influenced by the parent’s relationship with their cellphone.

The study was conducted by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Illinois State University, and involved 170 two-parent households. The parents were asked to fill out a short survey, which included questions about 1) their use of smartphones, computers, tablets and other devices, 2) how this usage may interfere with family time, and 3) details about their child behavior issues within the last two months.

At the conclusion of the survey, 48% of parents said two or three technology interruptions were standard for a given day.

“We know that parents’ responsiveness to their kids changes when they are using mobile technology and that their device use may be associated with less-than-ideal interactions with their children. It’s really difficult to toggle attention between all of the important and attention-grabbing information contained in these devices, with social and emotional information from our children, and process them both effectively at the same time.”

Senior Author, Jenny Radesky, MD

At the end of the day, it may be challenging to make the direct correlation between technology interruptions and child behavior, but it’s certainly something to keep at the forefront of parents’ minds.

For the full article on thebump.com, click here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Training Thursday Vol. 12 – Bad Behavior

Welcome to volume 12 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 how to redirect bad behavior.

Here are some fast redirecting bad behavior tips for ages 3 years and up:

1. Divert the child’s attention into other activities. For example, if the child is having a tantrum, start setting up a picnic on the floor and talk about how much fun it is. The child may forget what he/she was upset about and join you.

2. Give clear choices of what the child can do next as an option - 1, 2, or 3 options at the most.

3. Get down to their level and ask them why they are upset, or try to read them – are they hungry (is it past meal/snack time), are they tired?

4. Be sure to keep calm yourself. Children can always sense when we (as adults/childcare providers) get anxious or upset. They feed off that energy. Keeping cool and calm for the child will provide the best result.

Read more from Parent’s Magazine on how to manage bad behavior in children here.

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 worker.

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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.