Tag Archives: children

Meet Michal Berg CEO & President of Spirituality for Kids International, Inc.

We recently had the opportunity to partner with CEO & President of Spirituality for Kids (SFK), Michal Berg, whose nonprofit organization is helping serve children, parents, and professionals all around the world. Learn more about her organization and journey through our Q&A below.

Q: What are you doing differently, or how have you adjusted your program to adapt in the COVID-19 world?

A: SFK courses were always available as online self-paced courses. When quarantine started, many parents that otherwise didn’t feel they had the time, enrolled in the kids’ online courses and our parenting course. We offered a significant discount for all our programs between 35%-75% besides our ongoing scholarship program, where we provide financial assistance to anyone who requires it. We also launched a FREE Daily Tune-In inspirational email and a weekly Family Activity to help parents and caregivers navigate these trying times.

Q: SFK offers online courses for both children and parents to do in their home, which is crucial in today’s environment. What are some courses children and parents can sign-up for, and what can they expect to learn in those courses?

A: Our award-winning online Spiritual Social-Emotional Education Program includes two learning levels: Winning in the Game of Life™ and Exploring the Journey of Life™ are suitable for children 8-12 years old. Children learn how to manage their emotions, boost their confidence, ignite their compassion, and understand cause and effect, the power of their words, among many other concepts through engaging videos and characters, fun activities, art projects, and journaling. 

Our Parenting course, Parenting the soul, takes parents on a personal journey to discover their parenting manual within and offers insights and easy, practical tools on how to best support their children while practicing self-love and self-care. You can learn more about our courses at https://courses.sfk.org/.

Q: What things as a mother to 5 children (hold for applause) have you learned that you have carried over to your SFK work?

A: One of the greatest lessons I learned as a parent to many children is that it is not all up to me. Each child is so different – how they experience life, how they react to situations, what they believe about themselves, and their level of consciousness. And my primary role is to love and support them, to my best ability, on their unique journey. Their successes are not mine, as well as their failures. As parents, we tend to take everything personally, learning to set ourselves free from that mindset, not only makes our lives more peaceful but also giving the necessary space for our children to be and evolve.

Q: For those families who already have busy schedules and are unable to attend courses, how can they still give back and support SFK? (hint: DONATE)

A: SFK is a 501(c)3 educational non for profit organization with an international reach with our outreach initiatives in more than 21 countries outside the US and scholarships. You can help by donating at https://sfk.org/donate/.

Michal Berg, CEO & President, SFK

BFC Team Experience Leads to Finding the Best Childcare Providers

Our team is comprised of social workers, certified coaches, former nannies, teachers as well as working mothers who match families with childcare providers suited to the specific developmental needs of their child. What team could be better in helping you to find the best childcare providers in the business?

My first summer nanny job was when I was 16. I cared for 3 girls ages 5, 6 and 7, weekdays from 8am-4pm for a single mom. I did everything I could think of to help make the mom’s job easier. Since then, I have probably provided childcare for 100 different families, and along my childcare journey I have learned about different types of families, parenting styles, dynamics, when to make a quick decision and how to make a tough one. Now as a mother myself, I get to see another angle of childcare through the lenses of a parent. I believe each childcare placement requires a special intuition, high emotional intelligence and real life nanny and life experience.

Lindsay Bell, Founder & Owner

I have been with BFC for over 7 years in all different forms. First, as a babysitter while in college in NYC, then as a full time nanny for two years and now in office for about 5 years. I have seen all sides of the business and understand what it’s like to be both in the sitter’s or nanny’s shoes, and how a family experiences childcare. With that knowledge, I do my best to place the best caregivers in the business!

Meredith Hamler, Sitter Services Manager

My past experience as a full time nanny not only helped shape me into the person I am today, but has also allowed me to connect with families on a deeper level. I was a full time nanny for twins starting when they were just 8 weeks old. I was the family’s first and only nanny randomly selected; we learned so much from one another and to this day are very close. I know what to look for in great caregivers; I carefully look at a family’s job musts and ages of their children to select nannies that will connect the best with them. We want to place nannies who care about the family’s children just as much as they do, which is why our hand selected process works so well.

Lauren Kruk, Nanny Services Manager

I had 35 years of experience as an Educator speaking with parents and fellow Educators, which has allowed me to see many perspectives in managing and educating children and parents. When speaking with nannies and families that have been references, I use this experience in making judgments and empathizing with people.

Christine Bell, Recruitment & Retention Coordinator

My time with BFC began in its starting days when it was known as Lucky Lil’ Darlings. In the years I lived in NYC I babysat for dozens of families ages infant to teens, where I helped with evening, daytime, weekend and TravelSitting. I have such fond memories of the families that I sat for, from going on spring break trips to just having pizza and movie nights. That experience has led me to finding the best sitters to join the BFC team and understand both the sitter’s and family’s needs.

Courtney Garvey, Sitter Services Coordinator

My high school weekends were filled with babysitting for my baby cousins and neighbors down the road. After college I moved to NYC, and while there I became a BFC sitter! I met some amazing families and was able to take my experience from growing up into the city life. Now, I keep my experience alive through my 8 nieces and nephews; perks of being the youngest of 4 siblings.

Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media Consultant

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny in NYC? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including childcare for when a child is sick, full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care and more! Learn why BFC is the best NY Childcare Agency servicing the tri-state area. Contact us today to hire a nanny in NYC or to book the best babysitters in NYC!

Ways to Keep Kids Engaged & Entertained at Home

With life at home being the new normal, parents are struggling to find new ways to keep their kids engaged and entertained without leaving the house. There are several resources surrounding this topic now, so we took some time to collect a short list of our favorite findings to help save from endless scrolling.

From virtual field trips, craft projects and yoga, your family is bound to find activities that will help keep the kids entertained. You can even learn about space from an actual Astronaut with thanks to the Kennedy Space Center!

Keeping Kids Active: What Parents Can Do
Physical Activity & Nutrition
Creative Activities for Kids
Science Experiments
Online Music, Language, Cooking & More
Scholastic Learn & Read
Art Making Activities
Stay-at-Home Resources From MommyPoppins: Homeschooling Support, STEM, Games & More

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny in NYC? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including childcare for when a child is sick, full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care and more! Learn why BFC is the best NY Childcare Agency servicing the tri-state area. Contact us today to hire a nanny in NYC or to book the best babysitters in NYC!

My Childcare Agency Is Open, Why Are Decision Makers’ Minds Closed?

Care taking has been ingrained in me since I was a child. I became a big sister when I was one and have been a caretaker ever since. From my early teens through my twenties, I babysat for everyone I could – and I loved it. That is why I started my childcare placement agency Bell Family Company, 10 years ago in New York City.

Now, I am a mother of two boys under four years old and run my small business from my home. Like many moms, I am juggling my day-job with ‘daycare and school’ for my children in our “new normal” resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every day there is a new article about how working from home with children is an impossible task. There is, “As Companies Reopen, Employees Scramble to Find Child Care” and “If America Doesn’t Invest in Childcare, Who Will Watch Our Kids When We Go Back to Work?” Reliable and flexible childcare was necessary before this pandemic struck, now it’s proven to be imperative.

While my agency concentrates on the tri-state area, there are agencies all over the United States that can assist employers big and small in referring help. There is not a one-size fits all approach, so a variety of service options must be available to working parents. This is a vital benefit, and employers and the government must step in to help.

In my endless attempts to reach out to employers big and small to educate them on our services and how we can help, the story is the same. I usually speak with a woman in Human Resources and she gets it immediately. Then the conversation begins to breakdown;
“It will be tough to get past the board”, or “There is too much red tape or liability involved”, blah blah blah … nothing gets done. And here we are, amidst a global pandemic in a country that is supposed to thrive on innovation, entrepreneurship and the American dream; and the problem is what do we do with our kids?

Employers and/or the government need to build a committee or board full of employees that are parents. The committee needs to come up with a list of agencies and other resources to refer to their families. Employers and the government need to then build a benefits program or package including ways that the company will help the parent (i.e., provide reimbursement on childcare hours).

The business community and government must work together to put forth viable solutions that support American families. If employers truly care about their employees and want to retain top talent, then they must offer modern-day caretaker policies that are flexible, reliable and affordable. If governments want thriving families and a strong economy, they must act as well.

The time for change is now and I am here to help. Please contact me  if I can be of service in anyway.

Written by Lindsay Bell, Small Business Owner & Working Mom

Etiquette & Manners: How to Set Yourself Apart From Other Caregivers

It’s important not only to make a great first impression, but also to maintain ongoing good etiquette and manners to keep the relationship between you and the family healthy and happy!

Here are some helpful tips to ensure excellence:

  1. The family wants to like you, so make it easy for them! Present yourself with grace and warmth, and SMILE!
  2. Be sure to look the part. Be clean, groomed and put-together, while keeping your appearance kid-friendly and comfortable (i.e., nothing low-cut, above the knees, torn, dirty or see-through).
  3. Don’t use inappropriate language or chew gum.
  4. When first meeting the parents, it’s respectful to address them by Mr. or Ms. “Last Name” until they ask you to call them by their first name. Introduce yourself with eye contact, a handshake and a smile!
  5. Follow the family rules (even when you don’t agree). If you have questions about this, ask our team and we’d be happy to help.
  6. Be aware of using the family’s things and what is permitted or off limits.
  7. When running late, always email/text that you are behind. Do not make it a habit, but we and families understand transportation can have delays.
  8. Ask in advance if you need to leave early (a week’s notice is appropriate timing).
  9. If you get sick and you are a full or part time nanny, let the family  know well in advance. If you are a sitter, email HQ and let them know so they can find a replacement.

Great nanny & sitter characteristics:

• Respectful
• Loyal
• Helpful
• Honest
• Open-minded

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny in NYC? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including childcare for when a child is sick, full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care and more! Learn why BFC is the best NY Childcare Agency servicing the tri-state area. BFC is the best in the business! Contact us today to hire a nanny in NYC or to book the best babysitters in NYC!

Bell Family Company Offering Virtual Sitters

Due to COVID-19, Bell Family has launched Virtual Sitters to provide childcare relief to families across America.

To book a Virtual Sitter, simply click here and fill in the form. We will then coordinate everything and get you booked!

Our Virtual Sitters can:

  1. Teach improv (read a play, act out scenes, etc.).
  2. Bake together (you provide the ingredients, the Virtual Sitter will guide the junior chef).
  3. Teach/practice another language (Spanish, French & more).
  4. Learn or practice playing an instrument.
  5. Tutor or help guide with homework and online lessons.
  6. Do yoga, ballet or another movement activity.
  7. Host a virtual book club or dance party.
  8. Organize family photos, process paperwork, complete online grocery orders, etc.

“This is unbelievably genius. A must for parent survival right now!”

Mom of 2, West Coast
Bell Family Virtual Sitter teaching session

“It worked great! I got the whole kitchen cleaned and ate food sitting down!”

Mom of 3, Midwest

We hope that you will support this small business during this difficult time, and book a Virtual Sitter for an hour or two to help with the kids. Virtual Sitter rates are $23 per hour for 1 child, and $25 for 2 children (for 3+ children please inquire about rates). The booking minimum is one hour, but the hour can be split into 30-minute sessions (i.e., 30-min morning session and 30-min afternoon session the same day). Check out this video for a short clip of a Virtual Sitter doing a teaching lesson with a child.

“You’re Going to Timeout!”

One of the most dreaded phrases as a kid is hearing, “You’re going to timeout!” The words spoken by parents to their mischievous little ones after they’ve been acting out. I remember hearing those words from my parents as a kid, and it always seemed like they came out in slow motion.

Timeouts can be a tricky business. What’s classified as a timeout? Are timeouts helpful for children? Are there better ways to discipline children?

We found an article published on Time.com, which touches on the “timeout” idea, along with other affective ways to discipline children. These tips are great to keep in mind whether you’re a babysitter, nanny, parent, or anyone working with children on a daily basis. We’ve outlined some of the key takeaways below, but encourage you to read the full article on their website here.

Let natural consequences play out. For instance, if a child is tossing their crackers on the floor, don’t pick them up. At a certain point they will learn that throwing their food on the floor means they no longer get to eat it.

Try some logical consequences. When natural consequences are not doing the trick, stepping in to create a consequence of your own can work well. For instance, removing the toy being chucked at the wall and locking it up for the rest of the day.

Guide the child to better behavior. “Discipline means to teach,” says Dr. Ben Siegel, chair of the AAP committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child & Family Health. Siegel recommends guiding children to appropriate behavior by giving them choices. For example, if a child doesn’t want to put on their jacket, a parent could say, ‘fine, but you have to carry it.’

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny in NYC? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including childcare for when a child is sick, full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care and more! Learn why BFC is the best NY Childcare Agency servicing the tri-state area. BFC is the best in the business! Contact us today to hire a nanny in NYC or to book the best babysitters in NYC!

The Only Toy Gift Guide Needed From NY Mag feat. Lindsay Bell

It’s that time of the year where our minds run wild trying to think of the perfect gift to give the children. Our Founder & Owner, Lindsay Bell, teamed up with The Strategist at NY Mag, and helped to create the ultimate toy gift guide for children ages 7, 9 and 10. Read for Lindsay’s top picks and check out the full lists per age group below. Happy shopping, readers!

For your 7-year-old: Ultimate Secret Formula Lab

“This chemistry lab is mesmerizing for those kids who like to mix potions,” says Lindsay Bell, founder of the Bell Family child-care company. It comes with beakers, test tubes, petri dishes, the works, and inside them you can combine mixtures of, say, phenol red and ammonia to create invisible vapors.

For your 9-year-old: ThinkFun Code Master Programming Logic Game

It’s an enticing concept — your avatar traveling to an exotic land to collect “power crystals.” First you have to write a program for yourself using the included Guide Scroll to set out your pathways along the map (this mimics the step-by-step sequences that need to be followed in computer programming). Once you snatch up all of the crystals on your designed route, collecting “action” tokens along the way, you win. What might not be noticed in all the intensity, though, is just how many fundamentals of programming you’re learning (even “conditional loops” and “branches”), which is why this game is a favorite of Lindsay Bell, founder and owner of Bell Family child-care company. Plus there are progressive levels of difficulty: An Amazon reviewer whose husband is an engineer wrote that even he enjoys the harder ones.

For your 10-year-old: Snap Circuits Arcade Electronics Exploration Kit

Snap Circuits, says Rumaan Alam, a novelist and father of a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old, “is one of a whole slew of toys meant to appeal to STEM true believers. I don’t know if it’ll ensure your kid grows up to be an engineer, but I do know my kids spent many a cooped-up winter day building an AM radio or figuring out how to turn a little motor.” Ruka Curate, founder of the Tiny Treasures Nanny Agency, recommends this arcade-themed kit, which is a more advanced Snap Circuits version for 10-year-olds. Another option, according to Lindsay Bell, founder and owner of Bell Family child-care company, is Snap Circuits Extreme, although it’s a bit more expensive.

For the full gift guides from The Strategist at NY Mag, visit the links below.

Toy Gift Guide for 7-Year-Olds
Toy Gift Guide for 9-Year-Olds
Toy Gift Guide for 10-Year-Olds

Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

Parenting Tips to Make Discipline Stick

Growing up, my sisters and I knew all about what the word “discipline” meant. For us, it usually involved things like the time-out chair, stripped phone privileges (we’re talking landline phone here), weekends spent at home, or the mega, Mom uttering the words, “Wait till your father gets home.”

It seems as if over time the definition of “discipline” and the actions around it change as the generations do. I’m guessing the word meant something completely different for my parent’s parents, and will evolve again with young children today.

So, how can parents all be on the same page as to what discipline means, and how can it be implemented in parenting styles so it is successful with children?

In a recent article published by The Bump, they focus their subject around discipline. Researchers, Scientists, and Experts gathered a list of 27 tips to help parents make sure that discipline sticks with their children. Read below for a snapshot of the four discipline rules and for the full article and tip list, visit The Bump.

Rule 1: Stay calm – Showing composure will teach your child how to properly manage their emotions from angry to a calm state.

Rule 2: Teach a lesson – Turn to timeouts when your kids are old enough to potty train.

Rule 3: Set expectations – Bring up the possibility of discipline and try to articulate that specific rules are not flexible. 

Rule 4: Don’t tolerate violence – Don’t use violence. Modeling proper behavior is more practical than telling a child how they should act.

Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

Connect With Local Moms and Dads Through The Parent Collective

Expecting moms and dads often need one common thing – support. The Parent Collective provides just that by helping to establish connections with other expecting parents through classes that minimize stress, and ultimately, make people feel like they are in this together.
We had the opportunity to partner with Jessica Hill, one of the Co-Founders of The Parent Collective, to learn a little bit more about her, her company, and what makes TPC so special.
Q: What inspired or influenced you to create The Parent Collective? 
A: I decided to start TPC back in 2016 after hearing from countless friends that they spent their early months and years with their baby feeling lonely and isolated. Because I was lucky enough to have my boys in the UK and benefit from the NCT, my experience was wildly different, and I wanted to give a similar feeling of support through education to others. Quite simply – I don’t know how I would have gotten through the early months of my first baby without my village of NCT moms who got me out of the house, listened to me vent when I was struggling, swap strategies for dealing with the latest feeding/sleeping/illness issues that crop up, and filled countless afternoons with conversation and companionship. Everyone needs that support and I hope that TPC will fill this need.
Q: What are the variety of classes that you offer and what can parents expect to learn in each of them? 
A: We offer a prenatal class series for expectant parents and after babies arrive, we offer CPR & First Aid classes, postpartum support groups as well as a wide range of workshops and online content developed in response to participant questions.
Our prenatal class, which is our core offering, is a 4-week series and in it, participants will discuss:

  • Session 1: What to expect in labor and delivery
  • Session 2: Relaxation techniques to help you through the early stages of labor, options for pain management and C-sections
  • Session 3: Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding information and advice, including latching on, pumping, milk storage, getting on a feeding schedule, and how to manage problems that may arise
  • Session 4: Newborn care

Q: How are your classes unique to the classes at my local hospital?
A: The Parent Collective offers a new style of prenatal class which is designed to provide evidence-based information, foster open, judgment-free discussion and establish friendships among couples living in close proximity and due at the same time. We see ourselves as an alternative to other childbirth education classes and hope that couples taking the series will develop a social network through participation, gather playmates for the little ones on the way and of course, provide that crucial support system that parents so need.
I am always banging on about how important it is to have friends with babies the same age as yours. I absolutely realize that it is hard to make friends as adults but with pregnancy as the common thread, it can sometimes be easier. Mom and dad friends at every stage of the parenthood journey are super helpful, but friends who have kids the same age as yours are essential. No one can fully appreciate the daily trials of a newborn like your friend who is also navigating life with a newborn. From spilling preciously pumped milk to dealing with an explosive poo in-transit. When you are in it, these feel like total disasters. However, these stories will not elicit a visceral “gasp!” from a new parent, but rather a breath of relief as you realize another real person has experienced something similar – like, yesterday.
Parents need this camaraderie so you can enjoy/survive the early days (and hopefully beyond) together. Our classes allow parents to solidify these relationships before babies arrive, so you don’t have to work so hard once they do. You can already be texting from the hospital about the terrible food and a love you never thought possible.
Q: Who are some of the facilitators that women can expect to meet in your classes (background, experience, mission etc.)?
A: All of our facilitators are nurses and midwives who can offer our expectant parents an accurate picture of what to expect in the hospital. Most are also mothers who can provide that additional layer of support having experienced first-hand what a world-rocking experience having a baby can be. Here is the background of one of our facilitators as an example but you can view all of them here.
Allegra Gatti Zemel, RN, IBCLC
Allegra is a registered nurse, Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and mother of three. She holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley in California as well as a BS in Nursing from Columbia University in New York City. Allegra has 13 years of experience in hospitals, classrooms, and in-home care and instruction around Maternal/Child Health and specifically breastfeeding. Allegra works to help each person feel equipped and ready for the wonder, transitions, and joy of a new baby with special attention to feeding and bonding.
Q: Where are your locations and how can someone sign-up to learn more about The Parent Collective or join a class? 
A: We currently host regular classes in Fairfield County, CT, Manhattan, Long Island, NY, Bergen County, NJ and we will very soon be launching in Westchester NY.
TPC will also soon be launching our prenatal series as a webinar. Watch this space!
To learn more, visit our website and sign-up for our newsletter, which offers information for expectant and new parents, as well as the opportunity to connect with parents who live local to you and have kids the same age.
Jessica Hill
Jessica Hill, Co-Founder of The Parent Collective
Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media