Tag Archives: childcare

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!

What Moms Are Doing for Childcare Over Summer

We talked with some of our Bell Family moms to see what they are doing for childcare this summer. Read below and get inspiration for your summer childcare plan.

Still looking for childcare help this summer? Reach out to us and we’ll work with you to find the childcare coverage you need!

Mandy, mom of 1

I have my kiddo enrolled in full-time summer camp at the YMCA over the summer to keep him busy during the daytime. The camp is great — it has a new theme every week and a bunch of his school friends also attend. We’re sure to get in at least one family trip to the lake over the summer where we hire a BFC Travel Sitter to help and that’s a savor!

Lindsay, mom of 3

This summer will kick off with some local science and sports camps and a part time summer nanny to help me tag team the shuffling from activity to activity. After camp is complete, we are road tripping to Nashville to say howdy to my husband’s alma mater, then to Washington, D.C. to see my sister and her family. Next, we go to Ohio for 4 weeks to work on Grandpa and Grandma’s farm. The kids will have their morning brain exercises, daily chores, lots of play and cousin time, then off to Michigan for 1 week to celebrate Grandpa’s 70th birthday before we start the journey back to Texas. Once we are back home, I will have sitters help me tag team the remaining few weeks to run errands, plan activities and swim!

Hannah, mom of 2

My 8-year-old daughter is enrolled in camps this summer. She is going to Girl Scouts, guitar camp, soccer camp, and YMCA camp. Luckily, I work from home so on the days I don’t have something lined up, she will be home with me. My 2-year-old son will split time in daycare and our part time nanny because I could not handle him solo while I work at home.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted & FULLY VACCINATED on demand babysitting, including full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care 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 & Dallas areas). Contact us today to hire!

Prep & Etiquette Tips for a Childcare Interview

We know prepping for a childcare interview, or any interview, can be a stressful time. To help ease the nerves, it’s a good idea to do some pre-work to ensure you put yourself in the best possible position to get the job. Here are some interview preparation tips along with etiquette best practices to get you started in the right direction.

Sitter & Nanny Prep for First Appointment or Trial: 

1. Check in with the family via email or text as soon as you get the confirmation email to say hello and that you’re looking forward to meeting them.

2. During this exchange, make sure you have the right start/end times confirmed between both of you and the right address.

3. Review the family’s profile for special notes and/or job conditions to have a good background of the family’s needs and prepare any questions you may have.

4. Dress appropriately. Wear attire that is both childcare friendly and professional. Look presentable as this is the first impression you are making on the family.

5.  Show up on time! On time is 5 minutes early so that the family does not begin to worry if you’ll be late. Use a GPS device to get directions ahead of time and plan ahead if the weather is supposed to be bad, the subways are slow, etc.

6. Make sure to take your shoes off and wash your hands upon meeting them for the first time.

Get to Know Stripe: Your Secure Payment Gateway

With the launch of our new secure payment gateway, Stripe, we are answering commonly asked questions to help make the transition as easy as possible.

Q: When is the Stripe payment system launching on BFC’s site?
A: It was launched Monday, February 26, 2024 at approximately 1:00pm EST. All sitter appointment checkouts will be processed through Stripe’s platform going forward.

Q: When were families first notified about the change from PayPal to Stripe?
A: BFC sent a newsletter to families which can be read here on February 2, 2024. 

Q: Will I receive any further PayPal invoices after 2/26/24 at 11:00am EST? 
A: No. Invoices will no longer be sent to any families for any checkouts after 11:00am EST 2/26/24. Every family will need to click on the PROCESS CHECKOUT link on their calendar page or via link in the ‘sitter checkout’ email going forward to pay.

Q: What if I have a PayPal invoice outstanding, do I still pay that?
A: Yes! If you received a PayPal invoice that means it was issued prior to the Stripe launch and the family needs to pay that. You also have the option to pay through your calendar page.

Q: What if my sitter checks out wrong?
A: For wrong checkouts, simply email us with the correct details. We will verify with your sitter and get it updated as quickly as possible. 

Q: Will the CHECKOUT link in each sitter checkout auto email work for all families? 
A: Yes! Once each family receives the ‘sitter checkout’ email from us they simply need to click on PROCESS CHECKOUT and it will take the family to Stripe’s payment page. The family will enter their name and credit card details, review and click submit. This process should take 1 minute. 

Q: Do I have to enter my credit card details for every checkout after my first?
A: No. For your second payment on Stripe and all payments going forward, your default payment method will populate to pay. This process should take under :30 seconds.

Q: What payment methods are accepted to use?
A: Currently we only support credit card payment, but we are working on offering additional payment methods (Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.) in the future. 

Q: Will anything change when I need to cancel an appointment? 
A: Same process as always, just a different payment platform. You’ll log into your BFC profile, find the appointment you need to cancel, click CANCEL and submit payment. 

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted & FULLY VACCINATED 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!

Infant 411

Here’s the quick 411 on infant care with tips BFC childcare providers have learned through their nanny and sitting experience. You can also check out the links provided under each tip for videos and additional tips, with thanks to Baby Center.

TIP 1: Swaddling

  1. Lay a blanket on a flat surface like a diamond and fold down the top corner about 6 inches to form a straight edge.
  2. Place your baby on his back so that the top of the fabric is at shoulder level.
  3. Bring your baby’s left arm down. Pull the corner of the blanket near his left hand over his arm and chest, and tuck the leading edge under his back on his right side.
  4. Bring your baby’s right arm down. Pull the corner of the blanket near his right hand over his arm and chest, and tuck the cloth under his left side.
  5. Twist or fold the bottom end of the blanket and tuck it loosely behind your baby, making sure that both legs are bent up and out from his body, his hips can move, and his legs can spread apart naturally.
  • If you’re a visual learner, take a look at a short “how to” swaddle video.

TIP 2: Bottle Prep and Feeding

  1. Rule of thumb is to ALWAYS follow the parent’s directions. Every parent does things differently, so its important to do it their way.
  2. You can heat up a bottle in a bowl of warm water or run it under the tap.  Microwaving is not the way to go as it heats unevenly, which can cause hot pockets and lead to burns.
  • Quick read on bottle basics here.

TIP 3: Changing

  1. Always wash your hands before and after diaper changes.
  2. Make sure you put on the diaper correctly! Snap is in the back and you pull it forward and around on top.
  3. Be sure to use wipes and diaper cream if necessary (per the parent’s request) and wipe ALWAYS DOWN, not up.
  4. Never leave a baby unattended while on the changing table.
  • Because diaper changing is everyone’s favorite activity, catch this short video.

TIP 4: Nap Time

  1. Nap time isn’t one size fits all, so make sure to check in with the parents as to how they would like you to handle their little ones down time as every child has a different routine.
  2. Some tips: make sure the room is quiet, dark and a comfortable temperature. Be safe by placing the baby on its back and making sure there isn’t anything in the crib they could get tangled up in.
  • Interested in becoming a napping expert? Take a look at some additional tips from Mayo Clinic.

TIP 5: Burping

  1. Helping a baby to burp will release air trapped in their stomach, making them more comfortable. It helps their tummy to settle and get them to feed longer.
  2.  If a baby is squirming or fussy during a feeding those are signs they may be uncomfortable and it’s time to burp them.
  3. There are three common ways to burp a baby: On the chest or shoulder, sitting on your lap or face down across your lap.
  • Burp tips – yes, we have those!

TIP 6: Playtime and Tummy Time

  1. Play and Tummy time is super important for a baby’s development, it helps them to get stronger.
  2. Tummy time will help them to learn how to push themselves up, roll over, sit up and crawl.
  3. Wait until at least a half hour after feeding to lay them on their bellies.
  4. Play with them during tummy time! Rattles, funny faces, toys and talking are a few things that may help them to feel more comfortable during this time.
  • Tummy time is fun to say. So is watching a video about it.

Morning Routine: How Moms Handle the Morning Chaos

If you’re a mom, you know that mornings can bring a certain level of stress. From waking everyone up, prepping breakfast and school lunches to getting the kiddos off to school, it’s not an easy haul.

We talked with four different moms with kids ages 7 months to 9 years to hear about their morning routines and to share tips with other moms. Here’s what they had to say.

Lindsay, mom of 3 (ages 7 months, 4 and 6) My morning routine starts early. I’m usually up twice in the wee hours of the morning when my baby wakes up. Last night I was up at 3 a.m. to feed my baby a bottle, burp and change her. She’s teething, and when I pick her up to sooth her she barfs on me. I change everything and get back to bed around 4 a.m. At 7 a.m. my two older sons run into my bed and jump on me. They want to play Wordle, so they grab my phone and I watch as my oldest keeps swiping up to get my email notifications off the screen. Soon after, my husband comes in and plops the baby on me and says he has to take a shower. At this moment, I have three kids on me (one is not dressed and has Nutella all over his face while on my white comforter… Grrrr!).

We head into the kitchen and I sit at the kid’s table trying to motivate them to eat and get dressed, while my husband repeatedly says, “We are going to be late for school.”

Our nanny arrives around 10 a.m. to help tidy up the kitchen and care for the baby. At that time, I’m finally able to get dressed and brush my teeth and head to my at-home office to start my workday.

Courtney, mom of 3 (ages 3 and 9 year old twins) Mornings, particularly weekday mornings, are not for the faint of heart. I remember calculating how many things I did one morning and felt I deserved a major reward.

My husband works six days a week and is usually out the door before I brush my teeth. So, with that being said, I have a lot on my plate with getting the kids dressed, beds made, backpacks packed, breakfast, snacks, and on and on. I’m also trying to check email in the morning while all of this is unfolding (sigh). For the most part these days have become somewhat of a routine, but don’t let that fool you. Someone might have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, which creates another level of chaos. But yes, the routine helps and also a lot of deep breathing and coffee. 

Jamie, mom of 1 (age 9 months) When does the morning even start? My 9 month old daughter still wakes up 2-3 times per night, with a final wake up at sunrise around 7 a.m. She usually crawls around in our bed a bit until one or both parents are ready to function. Each morning, I take my daughter over to our bedroom window for her to greet the day. We say “Good morning, world – Good Morning, birds – Good morning, cars.” She loves it and just lights up!

Once we make our way downstairs, my husband will feed the baby while I get ready for work. On the days I go into the office, I drive to the train station to catch the 8:05 a.m. train into Washington, DC. On WFH days, I’ll lounge around a bit more and feed the baby in the morning so my husband gets a moment.

No two days are the same. It’s a lot of on-demand attention to what’s needed hour-by-hour. The flexibility has its benefits, but a little structure is also helpful. The days we have childcare help are always smoother and more balanced.

Katie, mom of 3 (ages 2, 4 and 5) I get my youngest son up from bed at 6 a.m. and then my next move is to immediately head to the coffee machine. Luckily, my husband and I rotate the early morning waker each day so the other can get an extra hour of sleep. I get him his breakfast and squeeze in some snuggles before I head back to the kitchen to start filling water bottles and getting things ready for school. Oh, and meanwhile, I’m checking work emails to see if any of my Europe clients have urgent requests. Perks of working for a global pharma company. 

The other two kids head downstairs at 7 a.m. and everyone has their breakfast. Peppa Pig or Spider-Man can be seen on the TV in the background. They assist me in keeping the kids in one place as I get them dressed and do their hair.

I run upstairs around 7:30 to change and get ready. I come back downstairs (in record time) to load everyone in my car with my husband. At least one person is screaming or having an exorcism. I drop the youngest two off at daycare (we do part-time daycare and part-time nanny care) and then my oldest and I head to Dunkin’ to consume our breakfast (which includes a large coffee for me). This stop on the way to the carpool line is religious to my morning routine. If I had to chose between Dunkin’ and my husband … I’d need a few minutes to think.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted & FULLY VACCINATED 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 Is FSA and How Can It Be Used for Childcare?

Did you know you can get reimbursed for your BFC membership and the BFC nanny placement fees under your FSA (Sometimes called a Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP))?

Ask your employer if they offer FSA. If they do, ask for the form to fill in. Email the completed form to BFC and we will sign, attach a letter and invoice with the amount. Then you will need to submit the completed paperwork back to your employer. That’s it!

What is a FSA?

Some U.S. employers offer their employees a flexible spending account (FSA) or sometimes known as a Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP). This is an employer-sponsored plan that allows you to set aside a portion of your income on a pre-tax basis and then use that money to pay for eligible, employment-related dependent care expenses incurred for a qualifying individual. 

What is the advantage of participating in a dependent care FSA?

Your contributions to these accounts are tax-free, saving you money on federal, state income taxes and Social Security taxes. These FSAs can help you save money on healthcare and dependent care expenses such as childcare.

*Ask your employer how much they will reimburse towards your FSA before you begin. Ask if there is a use it or lose it policy. Many FSA expire by the end of the year, even more reason to use those funds now towards childcare! BFC does not guarantee reimbursements, all reimbursements are determined by an employer.

Dependent Care FSA Information

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted & FULLY VACCINATED 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!

7 Household Employment Trends to Watch for 2022

In a recent article published by GTM Payroll & HR, they uncover what household employers can expect this year when it comes to employing someone to work in your home (e.g., nanny, housekeeper, in-home senior caregiver).

1. Tight nanny job market: The demand for in-home childcare is unprecedented and does not seem to be slowing down. Nanny placement agencies say in-home caregivers are in extremely high demand calling the job market “highly competitive.” Others say they are experiencing a shortage of candidates with nannies seeing their rates increasing by $2 to $4/hour.

For families, this means not only offering a competitive rate but also presenting themselves as desirable employers. In our recent survey of nannies, working for a trustworthy/ethical family and the personality of the family were more important to them than the rate of pay.

2. Popularity of nanny shares: In a nanny share, two or more families hire a caregiver who will look after all the children in one of the family’s homes. It can help families save on the cost of in-home childcare and provide similar socialization benefits as a daycare for your children, while your nanny can make a little more than their usual rate for a single family.

3. Rising minimum wage rates: Half of U.S. states are boosting their minimum wage rates at some point in 2022. It is important for household employers to check the rate that applies to them as their nanny’s hourly pay could quickly become a wage violation. Paying below minimum wage and not accounting for overtime hours are two of the easiest ways families fall out of compliance with nanny tax laws.

4. Following paid sick and family leave laws: In some states, it can just be a set amount of paid leave you need to offer your employee. In other locations, like New York; Connecticut; Washington D.C.; and Massachusetts among others, payroll contributions to state-run paid leave programs are required from employers and/or employees.

Check with your state’s labor agency to see what paid leave requirements you may have as a household employer.

5. Filing your 2021 taxes: A couple of things may be a little different this tax season if you provided paid sick or family leave for pandemic-related reasons through the American Rescue Plan. In 2021, offering paid leave was voluntary but employers can still take the same dollar-for-dollar tax credit. Also, waiting for COVID-19 test results, obtaining a vaccine, and recovering from the effects of vaccination were added as qualified reasons.

On your employee’s W-2, you will need to indicate the amount of paid leave in box 14. Then on Schedule H, you will reconcile the paid leave provided as well as your employer tax credits.

6. Contribution limits adjusted for 2022: Several contribution limits were updated for the 2022 tax year including:

  1. Dependent Care FSAs return to $5,000 for married filing jointly and $2,500 each for married filing separately
  2. QSEHRA: $5,400 for individuals and $11,050 for family coverage
  3. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): $3,500 for individuals and $7,100 for families
  4. Retirement Plan: Up to $20,500 in employee contributions to a 401(k) and $14,000 into a SIMPLE 401(k)
  5. Qualified Transportation Benefits: $280 for community and $280 for parking
  6. Student Loans: Employers can provide up to $5,250 tax-free toward a worker’s student loans

7. Another increase to the nanny tax threshold: The employment coverage threshold for household employees gets another small boost to $2,400 in 2022. If a domestic worker meets or exceeds that threshold, Social Security and Medicare taxes must be paid by the family and the employee.

Click here to read the full article from GTM.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted & FULLY VACCINATED 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!

Childcare During a Pandemic: What Moms Are Doing Across Different Regions

In today’s day and age, there is no one clear path when it comes to childcare. Parents have had to be flexible in completely new ways, and every parenting situation is different based off of their children’s ages, work schedule and area they live in. We talked with three different moms in three different regions across the U.S. to see what their current childcare plan is. Here is what they said.

Lindsay, southern mom with 3 children (ages 6 m/o, 4 & 5)

Work scene: Full or part time depending on the week. I work from home in my home office downstairs (adult zone) and the upstairs is a full blown kid zone. I keep my computer open throughout the day and have set ‘office hours’ four days per week; I ad hoc work as needed. I try to get out of the house and work in a coffee shop once a week, but do most of my work at home. 

Childcare scene: I have reoccurring sitters four days per week (hours vary each day depending on my schedule) plus at least one date night every two weeks. Babysitters and kids stay upstairs so I can try to separate work and family, but that doesn’t always happen. My two oldest are in school full time M-F and the baby is home. The biggest challenge is sickness, and trying to care for my babies and my business at the same time. Sometimes I have to surrender and reschedule all my work for the next day. Balance is always a work in progress. 

Katie, midwest mom with 3 children (ages 2 , 3 & 5)

Work scene: Work from home full time. I didn’t have one week of work in December without a kid home and me working at the same time.

Childcare scene: My oldest is in kindergarten in person full time, while the other two mix daycare and a part time nanny. I watch them at home when sick or needing to quarantine, which serves up the most challenging days.

Jamie, east coast mom with 1 child (age 8 m/o)

Work scene: I went back to my full time job in late September (after four months of paid family leave). I’m typically in the office two days a week and WFH the other days. I work as a Director for a large biopharmaceutical company and have thankfully been able to do a hybrid schedule, which has been great for me as a new working mom (hopefully that flexibility stays)!

Childcare scene: My husband WFH part time and is the main caretaker of our daughter during the work week. I try to cover a feeding, diaper change or squeeze in a stroller walk in between meetings when I WFH. Every week is a busy frenzy of multi-tasking. We’re currently looking to hire a consistent part time nanny to help balance our work and parenting duties.

Nothing like a good kid cameo in your meeting.

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted & FULLY VACCINATED 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