Category Archives: Sitter/Nanny

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!

Top 5 Questions Childcare Providers Are Asking

At Bell Family Company, we prep our childcare providers as much as possible, so when they enter the family’s home they are confident and ready to take on the role. One way we help prepare childcare providers is by answering their questions. Here are the top 5 questions childcare providers are asking us before they fill a position.

  1. Will the agency be available if I ever have any questions regarding time off, salary, job duties, etc.?
  2. What if I am not happy or something comes up in my life where I cannot continue the position? 
  3. During this time of a global pandemic, can you tell me any safety measures the family is taking to ensure that mine align and we both remain healthy? 
  4. Is the job on or off the books?
  5. [For live-in jobs] Will I have my own room? And can I go home on the weekends?

Nannies will also ask logistical questions regarding a yearly bonus, PTO, sick days, overtime, etc. We communicate all details clearly in the contract and the negotiation offer stage, but we are always available to answer questions upfront. 

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!

What You Need to Know Before Your Childcare Interview

  1. Make sure you are prepared and you have the correct location and time. Plan ahead for any delays (weather, transportation, technology, etc.). 
  2. First impressions matter MOST!
  3. Be on time (10 minutes early). DO NOT be late.
  4. Dress appropriately. Most childcare providers will dress in business casual, comfortable clothing.
  5. When entering the family’s home, ask if you should remove your shoes and offer/ask to wash your hands.

During the interview it’s important to be yourself. Here are items that are important to discuss during your interview:

  1. Your experience and skills.
  2. Questions pertaining to the family and children (i.e.,  day-to-day activities, parent’s childrearing philosophy, what motivates and interests the children).
  3. Caregiver’s role and responsibilities – refer to your resume and make sure you are able to answer any questions the family may have regarding your experience (i.e., if you indicate that you engage well with children or are very creative, have examples of how you do these things).
  4. Listen, make good eye contact, smile and be confident. Families look for professional, experienced and happy childcare providers who are excited about being a caregiver.

The salary range should already be indicated on the job conditions. DO NOT bring up salary or compensation at the first interview, or try to negotiate your preference of being paid on or off the books. If the family brings up salary during the first interview, simply tell them that you reviewed their job conditions and you are comfortable with their offer. Let them know you are there to learn more about the position and if you are a good fit, and that you prefer to save the compensation discussion for a later time. BFC can follow-up with the family post-interview to discuss salary further. 

While BFC has already called your references, prospective families considering you as their caregiver will also want to contact your references. Be sure that you let your references know that you are actively interviewing and they may be contacted.

Many families see the caregiver as an extension of the family, but it is essential for you and the family to establish good boundaries. Be careful not to over share personal information. If a parent shares personal information with you that you can relate to, just listen. This is not an invitation for you to share your personal information or beliefs (politics, religion, etc.).

Reminders: 

  1. The family has already seen your Caregiver Profile which includes your 1) Resume or work history, 2) Caregiver photo, bio and video, 3) References and letters if provided, 4) Cleared background checks and 6) Certifications (CPR, First Aid, CNA, Baby Nurse, HHA, etc.).
  2. At this stage you have already agreed that you are interested in the nanny position. You are aware of the required qualifications, job duties, hours, number and ages of children, location and salary range. Please DO NOT come to the interview and negotiate any of these factors. If you have any objections or questions about the position, bring this to your placement coordinator’s attention BEFORE you agree to the interview with the family.
  3. When speaking about past employers or jobs, ALWAYS speak positively. NEVER give names or share personal details about another family. Some families may even ask you to sign a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).
  4. Stay OFF YOUR PHONE during the interview and when working with children (unless it’s work related). This is the biggest complaint we hear about caregiver’s today. 
  5. After the interview, please email your Placement Coordinator and let them know how the interview went and if you are still interested. If you are still interested, email the family and thank them for the time they took to interview and express your interest. Please keep your Placement Coordinator cc’d on all email responses. If the family is also interested in you, we will schedule a trial with the family (trials are paid directly to the caregiver).

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!

Make Your Caregiver Bio Stand Out

To help get you started, use the questions below to help write your caregiver bio. You should provide answers in complete sentences and write in first person (i.e., “Hi, my name is Jane and I am from New York City.”). Your bio should consist of anything that may be relevant to the job and makes you unique. Be as concise as possible – limit your bio to 1,000 words max.

  • Where are you from? Where do you live now? Are you moving anytime soon?
  • How long have you lived in (city name) or the surrounding area?
  • Did you go to college? Where? What degree/focus?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • How much caregiving experience do you have (pets, children, children with special needs, baby nurse, elderly, etc.)?
  • What age range of children have you worked with? Do you have a preference?
  • What special capabilities do you have (languages, assistant, household manager, driving, swimming, etc.)?
  • Are you willing to travel? Do you have a passport?
  • What type of job are you looking for (full or part time, weekends, live-in or live-out)?
  • Do you have any certifications (CNA, HHA, CPR/AED, First Aid)?

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!

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!

How to Best Approach Giving Your Nanny a Pay Increase

Employees feel better about a pay increase when they know it is due to their hard work and efforts. Your family can practice the following guidelines when giving your nanny a raise:

  1. Tie the raise in a written performance evaluation. Relating a pay increase to a performance evaluation displays your attention and appreciation to the nanny’s hard work. This review also gives both of you the opportunity to sit down and go over performance, give recognition and feedback.
  2. If additional duties or responsibilities are added as part of the review, a pay increase should be associated with the expanded job description. The pay increase acknowledges both the trust in your nanny to handle added duties, and that the added duties deserve a higher wage. Be sure to provide your nanny details of the increase in writing for his/her records.

Questioning what to give for a raise? Typically, $1 to $2 per hour is what we see for the first year. If there is a change in the nanny’s job description (i.e., baby #2, additional duties) be sure to think about what their job description will look like going forward, and propose any changes along with what pay is associated with the changes.

Another example of how to implement a pay increase: on my nanny’s 2-year anniversary we’ll give him/her an extra $XX per week. Then, when baby #2 comes they’ll get another $XX per week, totaling $XX.

If you have any additional questions or need advice on how to best approach compensation increases, reach out and we’ll try our best to help!

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!

Hey Now, You're an All-Star!

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be an all-star sitter at Bell Family?
Each month our Sitter Service team sits down and picks one extraordinary babysitter to become our Sitter of the Month. What makes this honor so cool? Well, not only is it highlighted in the sitter’s profile for all families to see, but it’s also displayed in our monthly newsletter that is distributed to all of our member families and BFC sitters. That means that thousands of people are seeing just what an awesome person and sitter you are!
Here is what it takes to be Sitter the Month:

  1. Leader in the childcare community
  2. Parents give extraordinary feedback on your ability as a babysitter
  3. You always provide the best quality care
  4. You do not cancel last minute on families
  5. You are not on your phone or distracted
  6. You are fully engaged with the children and the children always seem happy in your presence

 
Will you be our next Sitter of the Month?
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Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

Five Key Findings in Recruiting and Retaining Nannies

If you haven’t read it somewhere else before, then read it here first; hiring a nanny through an agency is the route you should always take.

In a recent article posted by GTM Payroll Services, they go on to support the fact that when a person hires a nanny through an agency, rather than an online job site, they’re going to get a better quality nanny. One they’ll keep for longer, and spend less time finding the right match.

Here are five key findings from the article:

1. Families and Nannies Both Want a Good Fit
Employers cited “demonstrated responsibility and trustworthiness” as the top quality they look for when hiring a nanny. Employers were asked to rank 14 qualities on a scale from one to 10 with one being not important and 10 being very important. Responsibility and trustworthiness scored ahead of personality fit, passion for childcare, references, and experience.

2. Good Communication Practices Will Help Retention
Forty-three percent of families hired more than one nanny in the past five years. That means retention can be an issue for families who like and want to keep their nanny. Some of the top reasons reported for why nannies leave the jobs are 1) the family no longer needs the nanny, 2) schedule/number of hours, and 3) bad pay.

3. Hiring through an Agency Can Shorten Hiring Process
Seventy-four percent of employers who hired through an agency cited “time savings/hassle-free process” and “quality of candidates” as the top reasons they chose to work with an agency. Fifty-nine percent of agency users spent less than 20 hours on the hiring process, compared to only 24% of online job site users.

4. Benefits Can Help Attract, Retain Top Candidates
Most nannies receive paid holidays (88%), paid vacations (89%), and paid sick days (76%). This is the starting point for families when offering household employee benefits to a potential hire. To separate themselves from other employers, families may want to consider offering annual bonuses and flexible hours. Only 47% of nannies have schedule flexibility and just 44% get a bonus. Of the nannies that receive an annual bonus, 55% receive at least $750.

5. Paying Legally Expands Number of Candidates
By not legally paying an employee, a family cuts in half the number of available candidates for their position. Forty-six percent of nannies say it’s not likely they would take a job that paid “off the books.”

Read more details about the survey findings from GTM Payroll here.

What Parents Want in a Sitter

To pinpoint only a few items that parents look for in a sitter can be difficult. When it comes to someone else caring for their little one(s), the “want” list in terms of childcare can soon fill an entire notebook.
So, what exactly are parents looking for? We asked a dozen families, what are the top three things they want in a sitter?
1. Reliability – Be on time!
2. Ability to engage – Energetic and positive sitter to play with their child.
3. Trust – Knowing that the sitter will always do what is right.
Additionally, we were able to gather a handful of parents from Bell Family to provide insight as to what they look for in a sitter. Here’s what they had to say…

“The most important thing is a responsible person who we can immediately trust with the safety and well being of our child.”
Mom of 1, Tribeca
“I want my son to feel loved and cared for while I’m gone. I want a sitter that will smile, laugh, dance, play and engage him. Seeing a happy baby when I get home makes me feel less bad for leaving.”
Mom of 1, Midtown East
“Knowing I can go to work and focus on providing for my family with peace of mind that my little one is in great hands, is the most at-ease feeling a working mom can hope for.”
Mom of one, 9 months

“A key aspect when choosing a babysitter for our son, was knowing our sitter personally and understanding her experience and how that will assist with her time with our son. I know that’s not always the case when searching for a qualified babysitter so I would rely highly on recommendations. I would observe his interactions with someone we were interviewing in addition to the recommendations by others.”
Mom of one, 6 months
“The sitter needs to have been recommended by someone I trust.”
Mom of one, 3yrs old
The Bell Family team is confident that if you take this advice with you on all of your sitting adventures, you will make for one praiseworthy sitter!
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell