Tag Archives: childcare

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!

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!

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.

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

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!