Bell Family Company

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.

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!

Can Nannies & Sitters That Work in a Family’s Home Get the Vaccine in NY?

A message from our Payroll & Household Employment Expert, GTM Payroll Services Inc.

“It seems legislation is being passed where this may change, but as for now, our HR advisor is stating that nannies are not official childcare workers for this particular item. The definition is just not firm enough for us to put nannies in a group that is mainly supposed to be (for lack of a better term) ‘official and registered caregivers.’”

BFC’s thought is that you can try to get the vaccine with an employment verification letter and see if you are eligible. We can provide a letter stating that you were referred by our agency as a fully-vetted childcare provider and work in a BFC family home as a regular childcare provider. Your employer (the family) could also provide a letter.

Another option would be for a nanny or sitter to call the Department of Health (DOH) to ask for a vaccine priority. It is certainly possible that they will get it. Anyone applying for vaccinations will also need to fill out a form for the DOH.

That being said, we can’t officially advise that nannies and sitters are included in the first couple of vaccine rollouts that favor licensed caregivers. We will be alerting our childcare providers with any new updates as we receive them.

Please visit our resource page for the latest information on COVID-19.

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!

Bell Family Company Gets Nominated for GTM Agency Partner of the Year

Although 2020 proved itself to be a challenging year, there was still a lot to be proud of as an Agency who prides itself on finding the best childcare providers in the business. The hard work didn’t go unnoticed, as one member family nominated Bell Family Company (BFC) for GTM’s Agency Partner of the Year Award. Take a look at the nomination below, and find out for yourself why BFC should be your first choice when it comes to taking care of your little ones. Click here to join!

Bell Family Company has proven to be the finest childcare agency in New York City and beyond for well over a decade. Behind the scenes at BFC, you will find a group of hard working women that possess kindness, love, talent, passion and incredibly high standards when it comes to both their caregivers and families.

The beauty of BFC is that it was founded on the belief that all sides of the childcare industry are equally important. BFC has always been eager to give smart, competent, talented working women the opportunity for jobs in a very important field: expanding a child’s imagination while keeping them safe.

BFC has always valued women with careers, education and passions because of the philosophy that they will then bring that knowledge and inspiration to their work with children. What families get in return is a bright, energetic and educated caregiver with energy to spare.

On the flip side, BFC has an incredible way of finding families that will be a healthy addition to the company. As a childcare provider, you will never be afraid to step foot in someone’s home because BFC has worked tirelessly to make sure there is a level of trust and appreciation between everyone involved.

I believe that BFC is the most phenomenal agency in childcare because they are fostering 3 levels of care: flexibility and appreciation for the caregiver, understanding and patience for the families, and true teamwork and love for their co-workers. This company was built on a high moral ground, to which it stands to this day. Run by a group of brilliant women, they never tire of doing the right thing by everyone involved. I can’t think of a better company to nominate for this award and I am proud to know them. 

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 COVID-19 Protection Plan

What steps is Bell Family Company taking to protect caregivers and families? Every family has a different set of rules, preferences and precautions. We will ask the 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 and families are taking:

  1. Washing hands thoroughly for at least 30 seconds with soap and warm water upon entering a home and throughout the duration of the job.
  2. Wearing masks in any public place at all times including commute, entering and exiting a building, around other people in a close setting, etc.
  3. If the caregiver is requested for an on-demand babysitting job she will wear a mask during the entire appointment. We ask that families and children over the age of 3 that the caregiver is in close contact with also wear a mask.
  4. Carrying disinfectant wipes and ensuring that they wipe down all surfaces that they come in contact with on the way to work (i.e., car door handles, building doors, stroller handles).
  5. Being advised not to shake hands with anyone.
  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 of 6 feet from others when able.
  8. Advising the caregiver and family to have a call to review all Covid precautions so that everyone is aware of one another’s comfort level (prior to the caregiver’s first time in the family’s home).

Bell Family Company asks each caregiver and family the following preliminary questions before a babysitting appointment, nanny trial or first day of long term employment:

  1. Are you able to share if you or anyone in your immediate household has had a fever above 100.4 in the past 72 hours? 
  2. Are you or anyone in your immediate household currently sick with any NEW Covid symptoms (i.e., headache, fever, chills or sweating, new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose/congestion, loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, aching throughout the body, vomiting or diarrhea) or any other unusual aches or pains?
  3. Have you or anyone in your immediate household been within 6 feet of anyone who has been confirmed to have Covid in the past 14 days?
  4. Would you be able to share if you or anyone in your immediate household have traveled anywhere within the last 30 days? If yes, where? Was it via plane, train, subway or car?
  5. Have you or anyone in your immediate household tested positive for Covid within the last 10 days?
  6. Are you or anyone in your immediate household awaiting results of a Covid test?
  7. Are you able to share what your current Covid precautions include? 
  8. Is there anything else you can tell that would help protect you or the family?

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.

Resources: CDC: COVID-19 | COVID-19 Resources for Household Employers | Employing Household Workers During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

How Personal Inspiration Can Be the Key to Knocking Out Negative Thoughts

Inspiration can come in so many different forms. It can be a song lyric, an inspirational quote, a meaningful picture, an interesting podcast, the stories of our peers, or simply hearing “you’ve got this,” “you’re doing awesome” or “you’re a great mom!” When we are inspired, we move from our worries to a place of empowerment. It’s amazing how powerful great inspiration can be.

Every woman wonders how they will be as a mom, we often set ourselves up with expectations and dreams of an idolized motherhood. So, why do we aspire for perfection? Instead of expecting perfection, we need powerful inspiration that reminds us just how perfect our individual methods can be. With motherhood, we always seem to be told that it will be a natural or instant transformation. But, is it? Is every woman made to be a mother on Day 1? Is it learned, or do we grow into the role? Let’s address this.

The combination of societal pressures and our own beliefs create patterns that we repeat and leave us feeling less than or failures at mothering. Look at how Society portrays mothers. There are generally 2 types. The overbearing, control seeking, perfectionist type or the hot mess, overwhelmed guilt-driven types. You either fall into one or the other and they set us to disapprove of each other. We see these archetypes portrayed in movies, books, or TV series. These stereotypes are ingrained in us and we step into these roles with little or no awareness then wonder why we feel lost.

It’s possible that if we realize motherhood is not a job, we can take the pressure of perfection off the table. When a mother can stand up and say… “Hey, I’m not the motherly type,” while still being a GREAT mom. This attitude exudes self-respect and confidence. This woman didn’t grow up babysitting or have hours of practice holding a baby (this is more common than you think!), but she still loves her child completely. She doesn’t pretend to know it all or pretend to be someone she’s not. Instead, she does what she can do: outsource to get help and stay as true to herself as possible.

To the moms that wear motherhood as a crown we can cheer them on as well. These are the moms that played house and babysat all through their teenage years. They bake for bake sales not to “show off” but because they truly enjoy being in the kitchen and nourishing others. This woman exudes self-confidence and confidence just like the first mom. The problem is that society plays us against each other instead of allowing us to celebrate our unique approaches.

Allowing mothers to see each other as inspiration and resources instead of reflections that we are not would allow mothers to grow. Imagine mothers working together instead of judging each other? By offering new role models that inspire and support these ideals we could effect positive changes in how society portrays us.

We are all human. Let’s all acknowledge this. I’m human and I make mistakes. Staying humble about our humanity teaches our children life lessons such as give and take. Mothers are there to be the guide, supporter, and mentor instead of an easy best friend. With that kind of guidance, children develop into whole, interesting beings capable of critical thinking and creativity. With that said, not every mother is born with all this insight. These goals come easily for some, but for most it is a transition. It is hard and it is something we work at every single day.

Maybe we need to hear “choose you” more often. It may be that simple.

Another lesson in motherly self-care is related to the vast world of Social Media. Let’s talk about a Social Media FAST. Basic human psychology tells us that when we start to compare ourselves to others, it’s time to take a break and choose the healthier option. Comparison is truly the thief of joy, so don’t let yourself get sucked into a destructive and judgmental cycle. There are some really positive things about social media; feeling connected to a group, reading inspirational quotes, seeing a funny video to makes you laugh, etc. But, if you aren’t feeling good about it, get off for awhile and then invite yourself back when you are ready. Delete toxic people or groups and surround yourself with inspiration and motivation! Sometimes, nothing is more empowering than saying “No” to looking at social media that doesn’t inspire you.

We are living through an incredibly isolating time. Our daily lives are being challenged in totally new ways both big and small. Let the power of positive thinking come over you in the hardest times and realize that inspiration is the key to getting through the thick of it. Find that inspiration in whatever moves you and remember to take care of you! Your children will never know all your tricks, but they’ll benefit from the positive energy!

This article was written by Mary McConville, Founder of Growupbrite and Lindsay Bell, Founder of Bell Family Company. Follow us for inspirational and motivational podcasts, articles, virtual retreats and more!

Photo provided by Growupbrite

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!

Get to Know Joyce Shulman and 99 Walks

We recently had the opportunity to partner with Joyce Shulman to learn more about her impressive leadership skills as Pack Leader of 99 Walks and her inspirational words in her book, Walk Your Way to Better. Read along through our Q&A below and be on your way to a healthier you in the new year.

Q: What exactly is 99 Walks?

At its heart, 99 Walks offers monthly walking challenges for women. 

Our members are free to set their own monthly walking goals and we provide all the tools and support they need to crush them — including an awesome walk tracking app, daily walking classes, walking meditations, and motivating content. 

One of the favorite hashtags of the community is #willwalkforbling because, at the end of every month, we send every member who crushed her goal what we call wearable inspiration — a cuff bracelet engraved with the theme of the month. 

But truly the heart and soul of what we are is a community of incredibly supportive women who are walking their way to better and supporting one another along the way.

Q: Why walking? 

Walking delivers unbelievable benefits for your mood, mind and body. Oodles of research shows that a regular walking practice can help people combat loneliness, fuel creativity and increase problem-solving skills, and when we do it while connecting with others, all of those benefits are enhanced. 

There are also a ton of health benefits from walking daily, plus there is the added bonus that it’s fun and interesting depending upon where you’re walking and who you’re talking to. 

Q: Wow, that’s a lot! Let’s dig in a little, how does it help your mood?

Walking really can help you chase away the blues as it encourages the brain to release endorphins, which can lift your mood and help you feel less lonely. 

Several studies have shown that walking briskly for as little as one hour a week on a consistent basis can stave off or lift depression by more than 25%. That’s a lot of return when you think about the fact that all you have to do is lace up your sneakers and go outside, walk around the house, or hop on the treadmill.

Q: And for your mind?

Walking encourages our brains to work at their very best. There is so much research that confirms that walking can increase a person’s clarity, energy, decision-making process, problem-solving and creative thinking abilities. It also supports that when we walk, we process things differently. And I believe It’s because when half the brain is engaged in the mechanics of putting one foot in front of the other, the other half becomes free to roam, dream and find solutions to nagging problems. 

A great walk is like giving the brain a blast of fresh air to clear out the cobwebs, invite in ideas and connect with others and ourselves.  

Q: And last but not least, body?

Of course walking is great for weight loss and toning, but it also fuels your energy and improves agility and balance. The more you walk, the more you’ll be able to walk. 

Walking also has a powerful effect on the immune system. If you walk for at least 20 minutes a day every weekday, you’re likely to experience 43% fewer sick days a year, according to one study. That’s good to know during flu season. 

Q: How does 99 Walks help to motivate its members to take care of themselves?

Connection is the key and motivation is at our core. Our entire platform is about encouraging women to take control of their own walking experience by helping set and reach their own goals. And we help motivate our pack members with a powerful community and an extensive array of education and programming including daily inspirations, informative blog posts, motivating coaches, a weekly podcast and a variety of classes.

Q: What inspired you to create 99 Walks?

I’ve always known walking is transformative. From early experiences as a teenager, then college student, and then mother, I discovered the mental and physical changes walking could realize. I made the connection that all of my greatest business and personal ideas have come to me while on a walk. It was not only a way to gain clarity, but also a way to foster connection. To combat the feeling of loneliness that we all face. Yes, walking is magic. So I created 99 Walks because I am on a mission to get a million women walking. To empower them with the tools to help them improve their health and lives. And to help to make the world just a little better for all. 

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!

How to Ace a Virtual Interview

Bell Family hosted a virtual training to all caregivers on Wednesday, December 16th on “Preparing for a Virtual Interview.” In these new times, this has become the new norm, and it can be a challenge to understand how to showcase your best self through a screen, when as caregivers, we love interacting with others. 

The virtual training opened up with a guest speaker going over topics such as things to never say during an interview, what an interviewee can do to grab the attention of the interviewer and how to showcase your confidence and trust through a screen. 

BFC Founder & Owner, Lindsay Bell, and Nanny Services Manager, Lauren Kruk, then focused on sharing several tips on how to prepare and ace a virtual interview. 

The event was well attended and a great learning experience for all! We highly recommend those seeking to advance their interview skills to watch our training playback, especially those interested in a job in childcare. You can watch our full training 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!

Selfless Acts Mama’s Did to Make Their Child’s Lives (and Their Own) as Normal as Possible in 2020

Who isn’t going to remember 2020 as the year of firsts? Mama’s everywhere were forced to put their creativity caps on and think of ways to entertain their child(ren) at home – myself included! Take a look at some of the awesome ways mama’s made staying home the cool thing to do.

My neighbor has kept all of her kids home since March due to COVID, and as a result, she completely transformed her home office into a classroom. She built cubbies to make the kid’s lockers (like they would have had at school), ABC’s are hanging on the wall, there is an art center and library with hundreds of books. It’s truly amazing!

Another mama who is keeping her 7-year-old twin’s home from school for the first semester, put together a deal with Grandma to offer a two-day-a-week ‘boarding school.’ The twins packed their bags and spent the night at Grandma’s house for two days, and completed all virtual learning at her house. New face, environment, relief for mama and a fun trip!

Two other moms put together a regular playdate where their toddler boys switch off homes and hang out for two hours twice per week. This helped to get some socialization for the boys and some time away for mama. The kids hang out upstairs with a regular babysitter in a fully stocked playroom filled with games, books and activities.

Mama’s are struggling as we hit the end of the year, but killing it at the same time. Their hard work to make their child’s lives as ‘normal’ as possible during the pandemic is the reason why 2021 needs to be the year of the mama. We have a light at the end of the tunnel, but if you need support, motivation or guidance, please reach out to us for childcare help.

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!

Seven Survival Tips for the First Weeks of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful. It’s also physically exhausting, mentally grueling and at times pretty uncomfortable. But while it may not be a breeze, there’s a lot you can do to make breastfeeding easier on yourself. These self-care tips help new moms get through the first weeks of breastfeeding successfully.

At the Hospital

You’re eager to welcome your new arrival, but have you thought about your first breastfeeding session? Breastfeeding for the first time is intimidating – this is new for both of you and there’s a lot of pressure to get it right ‑ but there are a few things that help it go smoothly.

Dress for success: Hospital gowns aren’t the most comfortable garment. Pack a comfy change of clothes in your hospital bag, including slippers, a robe, and a soft labor and delivery gown to replace the scratchy ones the hospital gives you. Look for a gown that offers easy access for nursing and skin-to-skin contact as well as the functionality your doctors and nurses need for postpartum monitoring.

Let your baby take the lead: When given skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after birth, most babies will breast crawl and root in order to latch. However, some babies are too sleepy to latch right after birth and others may not be interested in eating much at all the first day. Don’t worry if your newborn doesn’t breastfeed right away. Instead, focus on providing as much skin-to-skin as possible and let your newborn nurse when ready.

Ask for a lactation consultant: If your newborn still hasn’t latched after the first day, talk to a lactation consultant. There are a variety of reasons babies may not latch right away, from position to prematurity, and most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff for this very reason.

The First Two Weeks

The first weeks at home are a blur of sleeping and feeding as new mothers recover from birth and get acquainted with their baby. During this time, your newborn will feed practically non-stop thanks to a teeny tiny stomach. Use these tips to keep your breastfeeding routine manageable and your baby well-fed.

Create a cozy nursing spot: Breastfeeding is easier when everyone is comfortable. Set up a nursing area with seating, a nursing pillow, breastfeeding essentials, and snacks and entertainment for yourself. Experiment with breastfeeding positions to find what’s most comfortable for yourself and baby.

Keep your baby accessible: Putting a newborn down to nap in the nursery every time will have you running back and forth all day. A bassinet or mini-crib in your home’s living space makes frequent nursing less of a hassle. At only 38 inches long, mini-cribs are significantly smaller than standard cribs, making it easy to squeeze one in wherever you need it.

Use a sling to free up your hands: If you’re feeling captive to your nursing newborn due to cluster feeding, use a sling or baby carrier that lets you nurse while multitasking. While it takes practice to get the right position, learning to nurse while babywearing is a great skill for breastfeeding mamas to master.

Relieve breast pain: It’s normal for breasts to become heavy and tender when milk comes in. This usually goes down within a day or two, but some women’s breasts may become engorged. In addition to a supportive, well-fitted nursing bra, warm and cold compresses relieve engorged breast pain. Use a warm, moist compress before nursing to increase milk flow and cold compresses after nursing to reduce swelling and inflammation. Some women even use cabbage leaves for relief!

Breastfeeding is incredibly beneficial for babies, but it takes a lot out of new mothers, especially in the first weeks after birth. If you’re struggling to take care of yourself while breastfeeding your new addition, let a baby nurse or night nurse from Bell Family Company lend a hand. A night
nurse can help you get the rest you need while caring for your newborn so your breastfeeding journey gets off on the right foot.

Photo from Unsplash.com

Written by guest blog writer, Leslie Campos, Well Parents