Bell Family Company

Childcare in Ever-Changing Times: Refresher on Social Etiquette

A lot has changed in the childcare industry over the past year and a half. Parents started staying home, nannies and parents were forced to learn Zoom and how to assist with remote learning, public transportation wasn’t as reliable and stress levels spiked as new health rules were put in place by the CDC. The list of concerns goes on and on.

BFC is helping to navigate this new landscape and go over commonly asked questions from childcare providers. We’re also sharing tips on how to navigate the new social etiquette during changing times and providing insight into virtual and in-person interviews.

Normal Etiquette Expectations:

  1. 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).
  2. Don’t use inappropriate language or chew gum.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. Be aware of using the family’s things and what is permitted or off limits.
  6. When running late, always email/text that you are behind. Do not make it a habit, but we and families understand transportation can be delayed. Ask in advance if you need to leave early (a week’s notice is appropriate timing).
  7. If you get sick and you are a full or part time nanny, let the family  know well in advance.
  8. ALWAYS text or e-mail the family once you get a notification from them. Long amounts of time concern the family. During work hours, you’ll want to get back within the hour if you are working with them, within 2-5 hours if you are not working that day and after hours at least 12-24 hours.
  9. Google Map the address beforehand so that you are on-time! Nothing is worse than being late to an appointment. If you are running late due to transportation issues, make sure you notify the family via e-mail or text, so they have a heads up.
  10. When you enter the family’s home; take off your shoes (if that is a house rule), wash your hands and introduce yourself (if it is your first appointment with them).
  11. DO NOT BE ON YOUR MOBILE DEVICE. We can’t stress this enough based on parent feedback. The sitter should not be on their phone, unless to contact the parent. That also means do not take videos, photos, or post on social media about the kids and/or family.  If the children are asleep and you have downtime, it is fine to be on your mobile device. Make sure you use your own data, unless the family offers their wifi.
  12. Always clean up after the children and yourself; put dishes in the dishwasher, clean up toys (get the kids to help).

Abnormal Expectations:

  1. Not offering to pay for Covid tests or PPE when the family requires them.
  2. Not covering missed days of work because of Covid.
  3. Unpaid vacation time because of a family’s change in plan, unless they communicated this ahead of time via your nanny contract or you both agreed upon the arrangement.
  4. No playdates/outside time or no breaks for 5-6 hours.
  5. Families asking you to change your clothes when you enter their home by offering to give you some of theirs.
  6. Families not offering to provide food during travel (i.e., hotel sitting on vacation).

New Pandemic Expectations to Be Prepared For:

  1. Requirement that you be vaccinated.
  2. Requirement that you watch the children more carefully at playgrounds/playdates.
  3. Requirement that you think of alternate activities for children. Many nannies are used to filling the days with community playgrounds, classes and play dates. Instead, you may be asked to just “take them for a walk” or go to the park and play in open spaces.
  4. Paying extra attention to hand washing.
  5. Encouraging small children at least 2-3 years old to always wear masks until children can get vaccinated.
  6. Wiping down surfaces that you feel were shared too much.
  7. Sharing information on your lifestyle and habits to feel safe hiring you.

Etiquette for Other Challenging Scenarios:

  1. Families are cramped in smaller spaces and one or both parents may be working from home. Be mindful of working around the other parents by being relatively quiet if they are on a call, taking the children to play in rooms as far away from the working parent as possible and limiting play to quieter activities if you know a parent is on an important call.
  2. Navigating virtual learning. Have the parent run through the process with you step by step. Take notes on passwords you need, steps you need to take, set alarms on your phone for meetings the kids have throughout the day, etc. This will take some time to adjust, and every school seems to do a different type of virtual learning. Give yourself a week to adjust.
  3. General family anxiety from a year of the pandemic. Be mindful of an anxious family. You can be a calming presence if you act confident in your abilities. Show that you are very cautious with masks/sanitizing to help the family feel at ease. The family may ask for your opinion on what you think is a safe or unsafe activity and it’s best to lean on the conservative side if you feel the parents are nervous about something.
  4. Vaccine-hesitant families. Most families in NYC are asking their nanny to get vaccinated. Some families do not require it. Family and nanny need to be on the same page. Over time, not being on the same page about the vaccine is going to end in a bad relationship for nanny/parents. If you do not feel comfortable getting the vaccine alert your employer. The agency will communicate if you are willing to get vaccinated or have already received it.
  5. Families feeling insecure about you using public transportation to get to work. We understand that pubic transportation is the way that most nannies in NYC get around. However, if you are in NYC (or elsewhere) and have access to a car, it may be best to use it. Do not feel afraid to talk about this with a family. Many families are THRILLED to pay for your gas or parking if it means you can stay off the subway. It never hurts to ask (nicely).

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

BFC Sitter Launches Her Tea Company, Hermanas Wellness

BFC sitters and nannies have a lot to offer the world in addition to their top notch childcare skills. Alita was a BFC sitter for several years during her time living in New York City and a couple of years ago she made a big move across the pond to London, England to pursue her dreams. One of those dreams; continuing her education and studying at the Academy of Healing Nutrition in London to become a Holistic Health Guide.

After her move, Alita and her sister, Jennifer, soon launched Hermanas Wellness which focuses on bringing natural medicinal products and healing practices to communities. Their mission is to inspire people to use preventative practices to stay healthy and balanced; emotionally, physically and spiritually, and make the idea of healing through natural practices not such a foreign concept.

We are so proud and excited to share the hard work these two women are putting in to make their dreams come true. Read below for some incredible reviews of their products and visit their website to snag a box of tea for yourself! Their packaging is adorable and they have tea boxes for both adults and kids. Do we need to say more?

“The tea was awesome! I got their Young Wellness box for kids and it came with a cool green calming gem. Can’t wait for the next tea party!”

Ava, age 8

“My box came with Organic Chamomile and Rose Hips tea and a cute bag of lavender. The tea was yummy and the lavender smelled so good!”

Amelia, age 8

“The stress less tea helps me unwind after a long day. Sipping it has become a favorite night time routine of mine.”

Courtney, mom of 3

“My goal of having recurring high tea parties is closer than ever! My sister, nieces and I brewed Hermanas Wellness tea, ate cucumber sandwiches and macaroons, and listened to jazz music. Cheerio!”

Taylor, age 30

Meet Ann Myhre: DONA Trained Birth Doula

We recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Ann Myhre, a mother of three and DONA trained birth doula located in Dallas, Texas. In our Q&A  below, she shares her extensive knowledge on birth and postpartum doulas, the benefits of having one, how to make pregnant life easier and more! She even had an at home session with our Founder & Owner, Lindsay Bell, where she taught Lindsay comfort and labor techniques. There’s so much great information here – read on!

Q: What are some of the services women can expect from a birth and postpartum doula and why are they beneficial?

A: I think it is important to first define what a birth doula is and her role within the realm of pregnancy and birth.  I believe that there is a misconception that a doula is only used for someone who wants an unmedicated birth. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  A doula, by definition, is a person who provides emotional and physical support to the birthing person during pregnancy and childbirth regardless of the way they choose to plan their birth. At North Dallas Doula Associates we support all types of birth and all types of birthing families. We create a safe and encouraging environment for the laboring mother through getting to know each other during the pregnancy, focusing on specific goals and fears and lastly by providing continual labor support for the family so they can achieve their optimal birth experience. The great thing about a birth doula is that they can help you learn how to advocate for yourself through evidenced based research so you feel prepared when it is time to have to make certain decisions. Having a doula by your side can also help the birthing person and their partner feel more connected by helping provide comfort measures and allowing the partner to focus on supporting their partner. I have used the same doula for all three of my births and I could not imagine giving birth without her by my side. We were a team (myself, my husband and my doula). It is also statistically proven that having a doula reduces the risk of a cesarean, increases the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth, and increases the overall satisfaction of the birth.

A postpartum doula’s role is to support the birthing person in a variety of ways after birth. Like a birth doula, they get to know each other during the pregnancy and their role begins as soon as they leave the hospital or as needed. A postpartum doula can assist with overnight care for mother and baby, basic breastfeeding and baby care, help with siblings and serve as a mentor for the mother.  If I knew I had this option after my first child I think my postpartum experience would have been vastly different. I underestimated the shift that would take place in my life after becoming a mother and how finding time to even take a shower or go to the store with a newborn could be a struggle. Research shows that the entire family has an easier time with this transition if a good postpartum support team is in place. I think it is important to also differentiate the difference in a postpartum doula versus having childcare in place. While both are important, a postpartum doula has been trained on what I mentioned above and their primary role is to support the mother while a child care provider’s support focuses on the child.  

Q: What are some of the latest tools and techniques that help make the lives of pregnant women easier?

A: I wish that there was a magic wand that could be waved to make the lives of pregnant women easier. It really takes a village not only to raise a child, but also to support a pregnant person and the biggest takeaway from this conversation is that women do not need to go through this journey alone. Taking a childbirth class, getting regular massages, chiropractic care, having a birth plan and feeling empowered and prepared prior to birth are the biggest ways I see of making their lives easier. I am also a huge advocate of maternal mental health and allowing oneself the ability to work through any emotions or trauma that might affect one’s birth experience. Every birth is different and it is so important to try and process experiences and enter into this journey with a fresh mindset and that can sometimes be difficult to do. We often refer to a great local therapist that specializes in maternal mental health named Kim Kertsburg with Dallas Postpartum Support.   

Q: BFC’s Founder & Owner and her donut pillow have been best friends during her pregnancy. What are the benefits of a donut pillow and when would you recommend expecting moms to grab one?

A: As I mentioned before, every pregnancy and birth is different and the body can respond differently. Lindsay had been telling me about her tailbone pain and I just happened to have a beloved donut pillow and yoga ball at my house. This piggybacks a little bit on the previous question regarding the latest tools and techniques that help make the lives of pregnant women easier. Not all expectant moms may be having lower back or tailbone pain and might not need tools such as a donut pillow. Or they may find that during the postpartum period they could benefit from one for a variety of reasons. I am a huge advocate of chiropractic care during and after pregnancy. There is a wonderful practice here in Dallas called Cafe of Life Chiropractic. They specialize in prenatal chiropractic care and their goal is to get you comfortable through regular adjustments and to get your pelvis in an optimal position for birth. They will also help you by suggesting comfort measures you can take to help alleviate some of the discomfort that comes with growing a baby.

For more information on Ann and North Dallas Doula Associates, click here.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Girl Power Alert: Pregnant Sisters Having Girls

It’s rare enough to be pregnant alongside a sister, but throw in that the sisters are both having girls and their mother also birthed five girls; the girl power is getting real!

Our Founder & Owner, Lindsay Bell, is expecting a child alongside one of her sisters and not for the first time. I guess that’s what happens when you come from a family with five girls all close in age; there’s bound to be some overlapping pregnancies.

Lindsay and her sister Jamie are both expecting their first girl just a few months apart. What does it mean to each of them to be pregnant alongside a sister and to be having a girl for the first time? Find out from the sisters below!

I kind of fit the mold for being a boy mom. My four sisters and I were always tom boys. I was completely happy expecting another boy, I just wanted to have another baby. When I found out it was a girl, I welled up with tears. I guess I didn’t realize how much I wanted a girl. The bond I have with my mother and four sisters is one of a kind and now I get to share that with my daughter. The extra special part is my middle sister Jamie is  expecting a girl alongside me, but happens to live 1,500 miles away from me (weep). I got to share all three of my pregnancies with a sister who happened to be pregnant at the same time. Talk about a special gift. Having a sister on a text thread who’s awake at weird hours, huffing and puffing while you walk together and talk about baby, sharing pregnancy photos and asking baby food questions has ben a joy to experience. I hope our daughters will be great friends and support one another through life’s miracles just like their moms did!

Lindsay Bell

Four weeks after I got married this past fall, I was surprised to find out that I was expecting. Shortly after I hit the 12-week mark, I broke the news to my sisters on a Zoom call. Everyone was shocked, including me all over again. I didn’t plan or talk about wanting to become a mom, but always thought it would happen some day if it were meant to be. I guess it was. Thankfully, I have a close sister squad with an abundance of recent mothering experience, including a mom that birthed five girls (naturally!) to lean on for support and know-how. Just a few months later, my oldest sister Lindsay, found out she was also expecting, her long-hoped for third, and both our babies to be girls! While it’s been tough at times navigating my first pregnancy physically distant from my family during this COVID-19 pandemic, I am glad we’ve been able to connect by all means digital to check-in, video chat in sloppy buns and pjs, and share updates on our latest doctor appointments or baby bump progression. I know the real questions lie ahead, but I am assured to know I have an abundance of resources and support just a phone call or text away. And that first in-person meeting with my newborn daughter and my sisters, and their kids, will sure be something special. 

Jamie Bell

Jamie has since delivered her baby girl, Sylvie, born last week.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Travel Con Lola Is Adorable

I read this new book by sisters Natalie & Jessenia Rios who are hard working entrepreneurs with a new book, new non profit and on-site location to educate children on world cultures. My two sons who are 5 and 3 years old love the colorful pictures and rhyming words. It is helpful to a non Spanish speaker, like myself, in pronouncing the words since the end of every sentence rhymes.

My 3 year old takes the book on his own and will flip through the colorful pages and ask questions. My 5 year old loves it as a recap of some of the words he practices at school. There is even a glossary at the end to define what each Spanish word means.

In a world where us parents are trying to guide our children in understanding other cultures and that everyone is different, Travel Con Lola is lighthearted and sweet, while sending an important message of being open and learning about other cultures and people. It makes the world a better place and helps educate our children to embrace others.

View this recording featuring our Founder & Owner, Lindsay Bell and Co-Director of Little Lola Tots and Author of Travel Con Lola to la Republica Dominicana, Natalie Rios, as they discuss the book and everything around being a woman business owner and mom in the workplace.

Travel Con Lola to la Republica Dominicana written by sisters, Natalie & Jessenia Rios 

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

You’re Pregnant During a Pandemic, Now What?

I found out I was expecting in late December 2020. I was thrilled and also terrified. Not because of normal expecting worries, but about a whole new slew of worries associated with Covid. After three different appointments with my OBGYN, endless research, feedback from friends, family and other doctors I decided to get the vaccine after my first trimester at 14 weeks. Terrified and relieved, I cried on my way home from both inoculations. I had my husband drive me both times, fearful of side effects. Thankfully, I felt well, I think fear was making me sick. After the first shot my arm was sore and I felt a bit tired, but I’m tired a lot because I’m pregnant, so it’s hard to differentiate. After the second dose, my doctor recommended I hold ice on my arm 10 minutes before my shot. I did, and felt fine till 12 hours later. From hours 12-24 I had some arm soreness and a mild headache, which felt like if a bee was buzzing near my head the whole time (weird description I know).

According to a recently published article from CNN, research from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology supports that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are effective in pregnant and lactating women, who can then pass protective antibodies to newborns.

“Nearly all the moms were getting a pretty decent level of antibodies to their babies,” said Alter, who added that additional research is needed to understand how long those protective antibodies last in newborns.

What exciting and relieving news for expectant mothers during the pandemic! For a full article around this topic, visit the GTM website.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Stay Connected & Have Fun Getting Back to Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game changer for working women. Pre-pandemic times were full of hustle and bustle for the working mom; play dates, lessons, worry-free activities and childcare all gave mothers a chance to have some time to work on themselves and their careers. But now, even just running out to sit in your car and take a phone call alone is considered normal (and funny)!

With all the lessons we’ve learned, now is the best time to think outside the box and expand on ideas and inspiration for 2021. NYC-based Supermom, Courtney Rohler Sullivan, is the prime example of taking pandemic era challenges and creating opportunity. In an effort to stay connected and have fun working with old friends and colleagues, Courtney launched herself into the business of promoting and selling clothes with the up and coming SAVVI line, launching in 2021. Realizing that virtual is the new reality, Courtney started her own small business under the umbrella of SAVVI and stays active promoting cute new clothes with friends, family and new clients. What a great example of making the most out of the moment!

“Being a mom and having the kids home all the time, I needed something JUST for me during these crazy times. Forming a team with my dear friends upended from the Broadway shutdown has been the best thing to come out of this pandemic! The clothes are incredible, but the community has been the saving grace.  It’s been so fascinating to be part of launching a new company and the best part is that I can do it at my own pace. It’s truly the perfect mom side gig.”

Courtney Rohler Sullivan
Courtney with her daughter

Courtney would love to have you on her growing team! JOIN TODAY for the buttery leggings with pockets, but stay for the community and camaraderie. Come as you are. Everyone is welcome.

Just here for the pockets? Enjoy $25 OFF with code SHARE25 for any first time customer. Trust us – they are the best leggings ever!

Introducing Companion Care & Mom Mentor Services

Bell Family Company is thrilled to announce the launch of two services: Companion Care and Mom Mentors!

Do you have parents in need of socialization, a mental health check or any type of care? BFC’s Companion Care service helps families post pandemic to keep elderly or adults who are recovering from other life occurrences healthy, safe and happy.

Next, is BFC’s Mom Mentors service, which provides the much needed guidance and support moms look for post partum so they can remain safe, happy and comfortable at home. Everyone thinks about caring for baby (which is important of course!), but what about mom? She needs love, care and guidance too during this recovery and transitional time.

For more information on both the Companion Care & Mom Mentors services, click here!

Getting started:

In person, ad hoc Companion Care Provider or Mom Mentor rates are currently being offered for $30 per hour for one adult. 

Virtual options are also available and check-ins can be arranged daily, weekly or vary depending on your schedule to help keep you healthy, happy and hydrated. Virtual Companion Providers and Mom Mentors are $23 per hour for one adult. 

If you’d like to hire a consistent full time, part time or temporary Companion Care Provider or Mom Mentor, rates are negotiated between Family and Companion Provider or Mom Mentor. All families need to become a Member Family in order to start using BFC services. For a full list of membership options, click here

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

A Women-Run Business: What Makes It So Special

March is Women’s History Month, and at Bell Family Company, we are celebrating women this month and all eleven others. BFC is a women-run company with an established reputation for quality, excellence and care when it comes to childcare and families. To celebrate Women’s History Month, our team went out to support other women-run businesses such as Naz-o-Nut donuts in Pennsylvania, Salon Evangelene in Ohio and Valerie Guth Boyd’s art gallery in Texas.

Why is working at and supporting women-run businesses so special? Here’s what the women behind BFC have to say.

For me, it’s the loyalty and hard work that makes me so grateful and proud. Finding good employees that ‘show up’ in more ways than one is a needle in a haystack to find. My team comes to work every day ready to make a difference. Seeing and hearing them work is truly inspiring and motivating. We all have bad days and when that happens each team member steps up to help when someone needs to recharge. Each of us gets being a mom or going through a break up or having a sick family member … it’s pretty remarkable to have a team that has your back no matter what.

Lindsay

BFC is a special workplace because we are all working together to make the company and each other successful. The work environment is a reflection of our family values including love, passion, a solid work ethic and optimism.

Chris

Working for a woman-owned, women-run company is empowering. There is an undeniable understanding among all of us as we get each other and support each other without question! 

Courtney

We all feel equal and provide each other with support and motivation. As women in today’s ever-changing world, it can be tough. Working with like-minded women increases motivation and productivity. It’s so nice to always feel supported and understood. I also love that the people from when I first started are still here. It’s been a close knit team for so many years and it really gives off that sense of family.

Lauren

Working at BFC has always been a special collaboration among good-hearted women with the intention of helping people find quality childcare. I think it’s the most rewarding work seeing the impact that a strong, women-run business has on so many lives.

Laura

What makes working at BFC so great is the support we have for one another. Every team member is so important.

Meredith

Between my four sisters and mom, I grew up with a strong women pack. Working at BFC is no different. Being surrounded by intelligent, motivating and caring women makes each day a joy. The support we get from each other is unwavering – what could be better in the workplace?

Taylor

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care, help with virtual learning, and more! Learn why BFC is the best childcare agency, with childcare providers available across the U.S. (on-demand service available in the tri-state area). Contact us today to hire!

Manners Matter

One thing that never goes out of style … manners. In an article published by Dana’s Kids, they talk about how building manners is like building muscles. The more you use them, the more they grow.

So how do parents instill manners in their children? The article goes on to explore four different methods:

Model.  Model. Model. It doesn’t matter how much you nag your child about remembering to use respectful language, nothing will ever replace modeling. Your child hearing you say “please” and “thank you” will be the cornerstone of their learning to do the same. 

Set them up for success. This conversation will look different depending on your child’s age, but you can help your children think about what to do in a variety of scenarios where manners matter prior to that event. Heading to an outdoor holiday event? On the way, talk to you child about three good rules to remember when being with family or receiving a gift. 

Allow for variation. Depending on your child’s age, developmental ability and temperament, verbal manners may be more challenging.  Think together about other ways to acknowledge people around you. A high five (or elbow bump these days), wave, or a thumbs up and big smile might be a starting point for your child. 

Repetition. Building manners is like building muscles. The more you use them, the more they grow.  

For the full article from Dana’s Kids, click here.