Tag Archives: toddler

Inside Scoop on Explore + Discover Early Learning Center

Along Second Avenue in New York City, you’ll come across an organization like no other.  Explore + Discover Early Learning Center is an organization that provides both excellent and unique childcare in the heart of Manhattan. Infants and toddlers will feel right at home as they receive nurturing care, and learn life-long social and physical skills.

Bell Family had the opportunity to talk with the Co-Founder & President of Explore + Discover for a Q&A, to provide a quick guide for families on why this should be their new go-to for childcare.

Q: How does a family apply to be part of Explore + Discover? How much advance time should a family give for the application process? Do you offer all age programs?

Families begin the application process by calling and setting up a time to visit the center. Once the date/time are scheduled, prospective parents (with or without child/children) come in for a visit with our Director and/or Educational Director. This accomplishes a number of important objectives, including but not limited to:

- Giving us an opportunity to learn more about the child and family.
- Allowing us to more completely explain how the program operates, and answer any questions.
- Letting the family see the facility, and the program in action.

We recommend that if a family is considering applying to the program at that point, that they fill out an application and pay the application fee at the time of their visit. This allows the family to be in the queue, and if they should decide to take next steps to join the program, we have their information and are able to move things along fairly quickly.

Advance time is always recommended—we have some families who come to us when they are thinking of conceiving, which is wonderful (and frankly pretty forward-thinking from a family-planning POV).  At the same time, we keep our doors open to families who may not make preparations in advance, and if we can accommodate them, we are happy to!

Q: What does a common day look like for an infant or toddler at Explore + Discover? What kind of activities can they expect to be apart of?

A typical day for a child at Explore + Discover involves a combination of open exploration, thoughtfully planned creative experiences, and careful attention to caregiving routines.

We believe that allowing children time for exploration through free play each day is vital for social and emotional growth. Each classroom environment is designed with the age and developmental level of the children in mind, offering high quality open-ended materials to encourage creative play.

We also offer a variety of open-ended art and musical experiences throughout the week. Art specialists, as well as classroom teachers, plan engaging activities as a creative outlet for the children. Painting, mark making or drawing, working with clay, and collage are just a sampling of the experiences in our art studio.

Many of our teachers play the guitar and each class is visited by the music teachers, where they listen to, and eventually sing along with familiar songs and rhymes. As part of our Music Before Words program, the children are exposed to a variety of instruments. They are encouraged to listen to the sounds, move to the music, and even touch or play each instrument.

A thoughtful focus on caregiving makes Explore + Discover unique. Feeding, sleeping, and diapering routines are looked at as a time for bonding and beginning to encourage independence.

Q: What are some key items you look to teach the children that attend Explore + Discover? Tell us about your mission.

At Explore + Discover, our goal is to set the foundation for children to become lifelong learners.

We encourage them to investigate their curiosities and wonderings by providing an engaging classroom environment and enriching open-ended materials.

We believe that teachers are partners in learning rather than the keepers of knowledge, therefore providing opportunities for exploration, creating, and questioning.

Using the children’s natural interests and developmental stage as a starting point, the teachers design curriculum unique to each group. By the time the children leave E+D, it is our hope that they have developed the self-confidence, problem solving skills, and inquisitiveness needed to navigate the upcoming years of school.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Eating Bogies, Not the Worst Thing

How many times have you pushed your child’s hand away from his or her nose when they go to stick their finger up it? It’s become a daily habit of moms everywhere, but what if we told you that you can waste the energy pushing their hand away on something else?

You heard it here folks, scientists conclude that eating bogies is good for teeth and overall health!

What everyone thought to be a gross and bad habit for their child, is now a habit that Harvard scientists say is  ’a rich reservoir of good bacteria.’ Furthermore, the study suggests that snot could defend against respiratory infections, stomach ulcers, and even HIV.

To read more about the study and quotes from the scientists, click here. And in the meantime, stay tuned for the latest trending hashtag, #eatingbogies.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Training Thursday Vol. 9 – Diapering

Welcome to volume nine 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 diapering.

Here are some fast diapering tips to always keep top of mind:

Changing a girl: Wipe front to back, wiping downward. Clean the area well. If you see a rash, consult the parent, or if they instructed, use a diaper cream/ointment on the irritated area.
Changing a boy: The big difference; don’t leave the penis exposed – you may get sprayed! Clean under and around the testicles. Same procedure if you see a rash as above.

Other tips:

1. Secure the baby/toddler safely on the changing table. If the child is old enough to squirm, use the safety belt.

2. Two fingers is usually the rule to test that the diaper is tight enough so that it does not leak, and not too tight that it could cut off circulation or cause discomfort.

3. Make sure the diaper fits properly. The weight range the diaper supports is listed on the box. If you see that it is not snapping securely or seems to tight or loose, you may need a different size.

4. If the baby seems irritated by the wipes being used, try using a cotton cloth with warm water on it to clean the area.

Read here on how to diaper a new baby. Read here on diapering a toddler. The key is to have them distracted (holding a toy, holding the wipes, etc.) while you change them.

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.

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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.

Our Favorite Toddler Books

Are you looking for a new read or two for your little one?

Thanks to my 14-month old son, Brooks, I’ve been influenced to buy about two dozen books, which has allowed me to collect some quality book reviews.

Below, you can find a short list of my son and I’s favorite books that have become apart of our bedtime routine.

1. Where is Baby’s Mommy? This was the first book I read to my son when he was a newborn, so it is sentimental to me. Every time I read to him I give him two options. If this book is ever one of the options, he always points to it! When the answer is no to the questions in the book, we shake our heads together.
2. Baby ABC. My toddler seems to be drawn to the contrast between color and black and white in this book. The photos of the babies are super cute, too.
3. Have You Ever Tickled a Tiger? Baby Brooks loves to touch and feel all the animals in this book. His favorite is the walrus whiskers.
4. The Wheels on the Bus. This book was from Brooks’ cousins. This song seems to be a go-to for toddlers. That and “Itsy, Bitsy Spider” never seem to fail. This book is also a sing-a-long and pop out!

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

A Giant Leap for Toddler-Kind

When it’s time for a child to take their first steps, a wave of excitement comes over parents. However, it also seems that the feeling of excitement is also paired with anxiety, caution, and nervousness. Good times, right parents?

One thing that can help ease some of these scary thoughts, is thinking about all of the cute shoes you can  pick out! Let’s face it, any shoe in mini form is adorable.

To help with picking out shoes for your toddler, we found a great article posted by Lucie’s List, which talks about the biggest things to look out for prior to purchasing, as well as some of the top walking shoes.

Here are some things to keep in mind before purchasing:

1. Size does matter. At your first go round – take a trip to an actual kids’ shoe store and have your child’s foot measured by a specialist. Also, pay attention to the width of your child’s feet to see if you’ll need shoes that run wide.

2. One size fits today. Don’t buy bigger shoes for the months ahead. Shoes that are too big are hard to walk in and can cause falling or tripping.

3. Bend it like Beckham. Shoes for toddlers should bend easily in your hand. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers wear lightweight and flexible shoes that allow their feet to move naturally.

4. New versus used. Generally used shoes for young kids take a beating and tend to be “single-user” items. Higher quality shoes last much longer and may be able to be handed down to another kiddo.

Here are some of the top infant walking shoes:

- See Kai Run
- Pediped
- Stride Rite
- Tsukihoshi
- Livie & Luca

For the complete article on the Lucie’s List website, click here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Potty Training Seminar (February 4th)

Do you have, or know anyone who has toddlers ready to be potty trained? If so, you’re in luck because this weekend, NYC Potty Training is hosting a Potty Training Seminar!

The event is hosted by Samantha Allen, founder of NYC Potty Training, who has received great praise from one of our Bell Family moms saying, “She’s incredible! I used her for my son when we were desperate for help and she got him trained in a weekend!”

If you aren’t able to attend the event this weekend, there’s still good news! You can have Samantha Allen (founder), speak to families at your child’s school about methods and strategies for seamless potty training in 1-2 days. Samantha is also available to speak at private events.

If you are interested in attending the event, you can purchase tickets here, but hurry because the event has been sold out the last two years!

3rd Annual Seminar by NYC Potty Training
Leman Manhattan Preparatory School
Saturday, February 4, 2017 from 10AM-11AM (ET)
New York, NY

Potty

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

Development Milestones Ages 2-12 Months

Moms and Dads everywhere are snapping photos of their child’s first smile, laugh, wave, and the big one – steps! We’d call these moments milestones in a child’s life, and the same probably goes for the parents, too.

The CDC.gov website provides an impressive list of milestones for children ages two months to five years old. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the top ones focusing on children ages 2-12 months.

2 months:
Begins to smile
Coos
Can hold up own head

4 months:
Copies some movements/facial expressions
Babbles with expression
Lets you know if they’re happy or sad

6 months:
Rolls over
Responds to own name
Brings things to mouth

9 months:
Understands “no”
Crawls
Stands holding on

12 months:
Uses simple gestures (waves, shakes head)
Says “mama” or “dada”
Sits without help

For the complete list of milestones, click here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

Go Directly to (Baby) Jail!

It looks like this time the baby can’t pass “Go” and collect $200. Like any monopoly opponent, you rejoice when the other person has to go to jail because that means you have time to own the game, or in this case, the house.

Baby jail is a great way to keep your crawling infant safe, and also free up your hands to catch up on all of the housework!

The walls are great for balance, and allows the baby to pull themselves up to stand or walk.

You can even place your baby’s favorite toys inside for play and exploration!

Here’s one I put together for my little guy. You can buy it online at Target here.

Jail

Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

 

Holiday Camps for Kids

Looking for some fun activities for the lil’ ones this winter break? Kidz Central Station is offering some great classes to keep them active and your hands free!

From December 19th-30th, you can check out these classes:

1. Holiday Camp Snowflakes
Age: 3-4 years
Time: Weekdays 9am-Noon or 12:30pm-3:30pm
Cost: $15-$75

2. Holiday Camp Full Day (Peppermints)
Age: 4-5 years
Time: Weekdays 9am-3pm
Cost: $15-$125

3. Holiday Camp Full Day (Gingerbreads)
Age: 5-8 years
Time: Weekdays 9am-3pm
Cost: $15-$125

4. Holiday Cookie Wars
Age: 4-8 years or 9-13 years
Time: Weekdays 9am-Noon or 1pm-4pm
Cost: $100+

For the full list of semester holiday classes and additional event details, click here!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

Learn to Be a Diapering Master

There are always questions that linger about the proper way to diaper an infant or toddler. We put together some basic rules to keep in mind so the next time it’s time to change, you’ll be taking care of business like a pro!

1. Remove the used diaper and clean between the folds of baby’s skin. Use gentle diaper wipes if the baby has very sensitive skin, or if he/she seems allergic use a wet cloth (with luke warm water).
IMPORTANT: Remember to always wipe front to back.

2. Raise baby carefully by the ankles and slide a clean diaper underneath. The colorful markings should be on the front, facing you. The stretchy tabs are in the back and get wrapped to the front.

3. Close the diaper and adjust the stretchy tabs. Make sure it isn’t too tight or too loose. You should be able to fit two fingers snuggly between the diaper and their stomach.

Top Tips:

Remember it’s important to check the baby’s diaper frequently. Change after every poop, and after every nap or feed (on average this is every three hours).

Cover the baby boy’s penis with a diaper or burp cloth while changing him to prevent getting a surprise shower yourself.

If you start to experience frequent leaks, it might be time to move up to the next diaper size.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell