Tag Archives: Family

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 COVID-19 Protection Plan

Every family has a different set of rules and preferences when it comes to protecting their family and caregivers during COVID-19. We will ask each family for what makes them feel most comfortable and communicate that to each caregiver. We will also communicate any questions or requests from the caregiver to the family.

Best practices that caregivers (sitters and nannies) are taking:

  1. Wearing masks
  2. Wearing gloves
  3. Carrying disinfectant wipes and ensuring that they wipe down all surfaces that they come in contact with on the way to work (car door handles, building doors, stroller handles, etc.)
  4. Being advised to not shake hands with anyone
  5. Washing hands upon entering a home for 20 seconds with soap and warm water
  6. Ensuring they take off shoes at the front door or outside family home; some are leaving coats at the door or bringing a change of clothes separate from what they wore commuting
  7. Keeping a safe distance (6 feet) from others when able to
  8. Asking parents’ permission prior to touching/holding a child

Bell Family Company asks each caregiver the following preliminary questions before meeting a family:

  1. Would you be able to share if you have had your flu shot this year? If you have proof, are you able to send that to us?
  2. Would you be able to share if you have traveled anywhere within the last 30 days? If yes, where? Was it via plane, train, car, etc.?
  3. What type of public transportation do you take?
  4. Are you able to share if you are currently sick? Are you able to share if you have a temperature? If yes, are you able to share your symptoms?
  5. Are you able to share if you have quarantined for 14 days? If yes, what were the dates?
  6. Have you been in contact with any other people over the past 14 days? If yes, are you able to share who?

Resources: 1) COVID-19 Resources for Household Employers 2) Employing Household Workers During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Disclaimer: The information and guidance provided in this document is believed to be current and accurate at the time of posting, but it is not intended as, and should not be construed to be, legal, financial, medical, or consulting advice. 

What Families Are Saying About Bell Family’s High-Quality, Reliable Childcare

Our member families are saying some great things about Bell Family’s childcare services. Our women-run business has an established reputation for quality and excellence in childcare, and families agree! Read below as families share their positive experience working with our team and fun-loving and experienced sitters, nannies and family helpers.

We have used Bell Family Company services for over six years and are so impressed with the wonderful babysitters sent to us. Every one of them has been capable, loving, knowledgeable and fun! My children get so excited every time they come over.

Betsey, mother of 2

I wanted to let you know my 3-year-old endorses your sitters, always! He remembers them and asks for them by name, and even when we have someone new he is beyond quick to say goodbye to me. I couldn’t be more thrilled with that!

Heather, mother of 1

As a busy mom and entrepreneur, I don’t have a fixed schedule. Bell Family Company gives me the best of both worlds: the absolute highest-quality child care — but only when I need it! Their sitters are dynamic, fun and safety-conscious. I get the flexibility I need with the peace of mind I demand.

Elise, mother of 3

Thank you so much for sending two amazing girls to help with our event. They were adorable and full of energy, and all of the kids and mommies loved them. They didn’t stop moving for one moment and were consistently asking what they could do, how they could help, etc. They are such professionals, it’s simply a pleasure!

Annie, Owner of Blast Events NYC

The party you helped us with was AMAZING. The kids had so much that no one wanted to leave! Some of the kids even came up to me and said it was the best birthday party they have ever been to, and to promise to have another one next year just like this one. Thanks to your awesome family helpers who made this last minute birthday party a big success!

UES Mom

I wanted to thank you for your hard work getting us through a very difficult transition of hiring a full time nanny. I’m not sure what we would have done without you! We had worked with another agency last fall, and the difference in experience was night and day. We were very impressed with the quality of candidates you sent us, as well as with your judgment as to who would be a good fit for us.

Cissie, mother of 2

To learn more about Bell Family and the services we provide, visit our website!

Fall Happenings Around NYC

Festivals, markets, and all of the pumpkin-themed fun possible. We searched around for some fall events in and around NYC that would be great for a family-fun day! Browse through our list, plan your adventure and tag us in your photos on Facebook, so we can get in on the fun too!

Harvest Homecoming
When: October 20, 2019 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Where: Brooklyn Botanical Garden
About: Discover an old-school fall foliage festival in the heart of Brooklyn—complete with hay rides, carnival games, music, and more! Local cider makers and kombucha brewers offer tastings, a farmers’ market features heritage apples from local orchards, and kids can debut their Halloween costumes in a high-energy drum parade.

Scary Bazaar
When: October 27, 2019 (10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)
Where: Grand Bazaar NYC
About: Grand Bazaar NYC transforms for Halloween into a “Scary Bazaar”. Expect to be greeted by creepy crawly and ghostly decorations, and explore the 140+ spooky vendors – many in costume – indoors and outdoors. There will be a fantastic selection of scary sweet treats from artisanal food vendors. Get your scare on and come out for a fun day for the whole family and maybe uncover unearthly finds!

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
When: October 3-31, 2019 and every weekend in November
Where: Croton-On-Hudson, NY
About: Witness an army of more than 7,000 glowing pumpkins in the tristate area’s most spirited Halloween happening, It’s also one of the best and easiest day trips from NYC!

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla
When: October 30, 2019 (4 p.m.-7 p.m.)
Where: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues)
About: Celebrate the Halloween season in Central Park. Listen to ghost stories, check out a costume parade and get creative by carving a pumpkin. After the festivities, the Central Park Conservancy will partake in a traditional Pumpkin Flotilla, where 50 gourds (possibly your creation) will take a sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight.

Written by Taylor Bell, Social Media & Marketing

Introduce Your Kids to Volunteering!

ATTN New Yorkers – It’s time to get out and help others living in that beautiful city of yours! Volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes, and no volunteer activity is too small.

We had the opportunity to learn more about New York Cares and the amazing volunteer opportunities that they offer. We were particularly taken by their kid-friendly volunteer opportunities where children and their parents can learn, give back and grow together, all while doing some good. Read below for our Q&A with Cynthia Chovan-Dalton, Director of Development, Individual Giving & Special Events at New York Cares and learn how your family can give back!

Q: Tell us about New York Cares Family Day on September 22nd. What does the event entail? Who can volunteer?

A: The New York Cares Family Day of Service on September 22nd will be a fun and educational event to introduce children to volunteering and giving back to the community. There will be eight stations that families can travel among to learn about different issues areas and participate in service projects such as packing baby boxes for families with newborns, making cards for seniors to brighten their day, creating seed balls for New York City parks, and learning how a family can collect coats to participate in New York Cares 31st Annual Coat Drive. The activities are designed for children ages 6-12, but younger and older children can attend (space for stroller parking is available). Parents can attend an express orientation for New York Cares volunteers, and then sign up for additional volunteer projects that are family-friendly. There are projects open to children as young as 6.

More information on the event can be found on our website.

Q: What are some other family-friendly volunteer events that you offer?

A: New York Cares Day for Schools on October 19 will have a family-friendly site. The New York Cares Family Council will plan additional volunteer projects over the course of the year that are exclusively for families, including a family-friendly coat sorting for the Coat Drive, a card-making opportunity for seniors or veterans, and a park revitalization project. Families can also search here for additional opportunities that allow children.

Q: How can someone sign up to be a volunteer? Can people of all ages sign up to volunteer?

A: Parents and guardians must create a New York Cares volunteer account and attend an orientation. They can then sign up for volunteer projects; for each project they must complete a Family Friendly Waiver. If a project is not one of the exclusive family projects organized by the Family Council, the parent or guardian must email the Team Leader of the project to let them know they will be bringing their child.

Q: What are some benefits you see families receiving after volunteering together?

A: We’ve heard from many parents that their time is limited and while they want to volunteer, they must prioritize family time. The solution is to volunteer with your kids! This will allow parents to pass on to their children the values of giving back and civic engagement that they feel are important. And research indicates that service-learning activities can reduce stereotypes, facilitate cultural and racial understanding, and increase interpersonal development, leadership, and communication skills. Children who volunteer are more successful in school, are three times more likely to volunteer as adults, and are more apt to vote.

A special thanks to Cynthia Chovan-Dalton for working with us for this Q&A blog post. Happy volunteering, readers!

Young female volunteer marks a cardboard box with a pencil.

Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

It's Time to UP the Way You Fly

Are you ready to escape the winter blues and head for the sandy beaches? What if you could get to the sand stress-free and with one of the most trusted private aviation teams in the business? You’re in luck with our awesome partners at Wheels Up.

Turn your travel time into quality time 

An innovative membership-based company, Wheels Up provides the most trusted and intelligent way to fly private for all your personal and business travel needs. When compared to aircraft ownership and jet card programs, Wheels Up greatly reduces the upfront costs of private aviation—while increasing flexibility and efficiency, so you and your family can fly comfortably on your own schedule and enjoy more time at your destination.
With a Wheels Up Core Membership, you will receive guaranteed access to the members-only fleet of 90+ aircraft, including the exclusive King Air 350i and the Citation Excel/XLS—up to 365 days a year, with as little as 24 hours’ notice. Through the Charter Marketplace, you’ll also have unlimited access to a network of 1,000+ Wheels Up safety-vetted and verified aircraft, including many options that can be booked instantly, for travel to almost any destination worldwide.
As a Core Member, you and up to 3 guests will be able to attend dozens of unique experiences and celebrity meet-and-greets around the country each year, in addition to the world-class Wheels Up signature event activations at the Super Bowl, The Masters, and Art Basel. And you’ll also receive over $35,000 worth of lifestyle and hospitality benefits.

Wheels Up Bell Family exclusive benefit

Bell Family clients receive a $9,000 flight credit with the purchase of a Wheels Up Core Membership for $17,500.

To learn more and redeem this benefit, please email us today! 

 WheelsUP
Wheels Up does not operate aircraft; FAA licensed and DOT registered air carriers participating in the program exercise full operational control of all flights offered by or arranged through Wheels Up. For on-demand flights and shuttle flights operated as scheduled service, Wheels Up acts solely as an agent for Wheels Up members and guests in arranging these flights on their behalf. For shuttle flights operated as Public Charter service, Wheels Up acts as principal in offering these flights subject to the DOT’s Public Charter rules contained in 14 CFR Part 380. All aircraft owned or leased by Wheels Up are leased to the operating air carrier and are operated exclusively by that air carrier.

How to Avoid, "Are We There Yet?"

Holiday travel season is here, and people everywhere are wishing they could magically wake up in their desired destination without having to deal with the crowds of people. Travelling with the kiddos can be an added challenge, but what’s the holiday season without some hurdles, right?
We took to investigating some travel tips to help parents keep the kiddos entertained during both air and road travel. First up, try these ideas when it’s time for wheels up.

  • Story time: Bring a classic story to life with finger puppets! Three Little Pigs, anyone?
  • Who’s that relative: Use photos of Grandma, Grandpa and other family members to play the guessing game.
  • Origami: Fold origami paper into cranes and caterpillars. Print pages from the site Origami Club for simple-to-follow directions.
  • Arts and doodles: Don’t underestimate the power of a roll of stickers. Pro tip: for coloring, bring triangle crayons so they don’t roll off the tray. 

Keeping your feet on the ground for holiday travels? Try out these road trip games for fun entertainment!

  • Road trip bingo:  Search for road trip sights like bicycles, wind turbines and airplanes. The first player to find five in a row wins!
  • Word search road trip style:  Search for road trip-themed words using the word search puzzle template.
  • Are we there yet: Write in and number the cities you plan to pass during your route on the template cards. String the cards around the car and have the kids take down the card once you’ve conquered another city.
  • Scavenger hunt: Check off the road trip-themed list while in the backseat, at a rest stop, or while out exploring together.
  • Moving truck mural: Kids can practice their drawing skills to replicate the murals of moving trucks they spot while on the road.
  • License plate game: See how many license plates you can find during your road trip and check them off the map.

All templates for the road trip games can be found here.
Happy travels, families!
Travel-2
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

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
 

Tips and Time Savers for Home Buyers

We continue with our real estate topic this week through a Q&A with Mary Kirby, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Learn great tips about home searching, buying, and how to make it a stress free process.
Q:  What are some important rooms for a growing household(s)? 
A:
1. Open concept den, kitchens with an island and stools
2. Bathtub
3. Bedrooms on the same floor
4. Quiet street
5. Close proximity to parks, library, eateries, school
Q: When working with a Buyer with children to find a new home, do they come to you with a clear idea on what they are looking for?
A: Generally they have an idea of specific criteria. We then pass along information to the buyer on finding the ideal town or neighborhood by asking questions such as: private school vs public school, public transportation or dependence on car, commute time to work, budget, forever home vs starter home.
Q: What are some tips you give to Buyers with children looking for a new home? 
A: Get to know the neighborhoods. Go out to lunch, stop in the stores, and visit playgrounds to get a feel of the different neighborhood vibes. A lot of times, prospective buyers end up in a completely different neighborhood than they had originally shown interest in.
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: Finding and trusting a local market expert realtor is key. In such a fast paced market, we typically preview potential homes for our clients, face-time/take videos, send weekly updates on open houses, new listings etc. Once you have chosen your ideal neighborhoods, you should dedicate about two months towards searching for that perfect home. It is also important to be pre-approved by a mortgage lender prior to searching, so you are ready to submit an offer.
To work with Mary and the Douglas Team, click here for more information.
Mary Kirby
 
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