Tag Archives: children

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!

Travel Con Lola Is Adorable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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!

What Parenting Style Are You?

As the oldest of five girls – with three of us having children of our own – it’s interesting to see how different we parent our children. Based on the descriptions below, we are each a combination of different styles. How can that be when we were all raised by the same parents in the same house? Well, as pandemic fatigue sits in, we as parents are losing our patience quicker than usual or just giving in. As a result, it’s causing us to switch our parenting style.

The four types of parenting styles are:

Authoritarian or Disciplinarian

  • Parents use a strict discipline style with little negotiation; punishment is common
  • Communication is mostly one way (from parent to child); rules usually are not explained
  • Parents with this style are typically less nurturing
  • Expectations are high with limited flexibility

Permissive or Indulgent

  • Parent discipline style is the opposite of strict; there are limited or no rules; children are expected to figure out problems on their own
  • Communication is open, but parents let children decide for themselves rather than giving direction
  • Parents tend to be warm and nurturing
  • Expectations are typically minimal or not set by these parents

Uninvolved

  • Parents give children a lot of freedom and generally stay out of their way
  • No particular discipline style is utilized; lets the child(ren) mostly do what they want
  • Communication is limited
  • This group of parents offers little nurturing
  • There are few or no expectations of children

Authoritative

  • Parents are reasonable and nurturing, and set high, clear expectations
  • Children with parents who demonstrate this style tend to be self-disciplined and think for themselves
  • Disciplinary rules are clear and the reasons behind them are explained
  • Communication is frequent and appropriate to the child’s level of understanding
  • Authoritative parents are nurturing
  • Expectations and goals are high but stated clearly; children may have input into goals

Transforming Your Home Office Into a Mini Classroom

My neighbor completely transformed her home office into a classroom when she decided to keep her kids home for the time being due to COVID-19. The office meets classroom space is truly amazing! She built cubbies to make the kid’s lockers (like they would have had at school), the alphabet is hanging on the wall, there is an art center and library with hundreds of books. Mama’s are killing it, and it’s because of their hard work like this to make their children’s lives as ‘normal’ as possible during the pandemic.

No matter what your comfort level, I’m seeing mamas work their tail off to make their child’s life happy and fun. Another mama who is keeping her 7-year-old twins home from school for the first semester put together a deal with Grandma to offer a two-day-a-week ‘boarding school,’ where the twins pack their bags and go spend the night at Grandma’s house who helps with virtual learning. A solution like this gives the kids a new face, environment and relief for mama!

Another two moms put together a regular playdate with their toddler boys, switching off homes and spending two hours twice per week getting some socialization. The kids hang out upstairs with a regular babysitter in a fully stocked playroom filled with games, books and activities to follow during their school session.

It’s amazing what I’ve seen put together. Way to go mamas!

Example of an office turned classroom from a BFC mama

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!

Meet Michal Berg CEO & President of Spirituality for Kids International, Inc.

We recently had the opportunity to partner with CEO & President of Spirituality for Kids (SFK), Michal Berg, whose nonprofit organization is helping serve children, parents, and professionals all around the world. Learn more about her organization and journey through our Q&A below.

Q: What are you doing differently, or how have you adjusted your program to adapt in the COVID-19 world?

A: SFK courses were always available as online self-paced courses. When quarantine started, many parents that otherwise didn’t feel they had the time, enrolled in the kids’ online courses and our parenting course. We offered a significant discount for all our programs between 35%-75% besides our ongoing scholarship program, where we provide financial assistance to anyone who requires it. We also launched a FREE Daily Tune-In inspirational email and a weekly Family Activity to help parents and caregivers navigate these trying times.

Q: SFK offers online courses for both children and parents to do in their home, which is crucial in today’s environment. What are some courses children and parents can sign-up for, and what can they expect to learn in those courses?

A: Our award-winning online Spiritual Social-Emotional Education Program includes two learning levels: Winning in the Game of Life™ and Exploring the Journey of Life™ are suitable for children 8-12 years old. Children learn how to manage their emotions, boost their confidence, ignite their compassion, and understand cause and effect, the power of their words, among many other concepts through engaging videos and characters, fun activities, art projects, and journaling. 

Our Parenting course, Parenting the soul, takes parents on a personal journey to discover their parenting manual within and offers insights and easy, practical tools on how to best support their children while practicing self-love and self-care. You can learn more about our courses at https://courses.sfk.org/.

Q: What things as a mother to 5 children (hold for applause) have you learned that you have carried over to your SFK work?

A: One of the greatest lessons I learned as a parent to many children is that it is not all up to me. Each child is so different – how they experience life, how they react to situations, what they believe about themselves, and their level of consciousness. And my primary role is to love and support them, to my best ability, on their unique journey. Their successes are not mine, as well as their failures. As parents, we tend to take everything personally, learning to set ourselves free from that mindset, not only makes our lives more peaceful but also giving the necessary space for our children to be and evolve.

Q: For those families who already have busy schedules and are unable to attend courses, how can they still give back and support SFK? (hint: DONATE)

A: SFK is a 501(c)3 educational non for profit organization with an international reach with our outreach initiatives in more than 21 countries outside the US and scholarships. You can help by donating at https://sfk.org/donate/.

Michal Berg, CEO & President, SFK

BFC Team Experience Leads to Finding the Best Childcare Providers

Our team is comprised of social workers, certified coaches, former nannies, teachers as well as working mothers who match families with childcare providers suited to the specific developmental needs of their child. What team could be better in helping you to find the best childcare providers in the business?

My first summer nanny job was when I was 16. I cared for 3 girls ages 5, 6 and 7, weekdays from 8am-4pm for a single mom. I did everything I could think of to help make the mom’s job easier. Since then, I have probably provided childcare for 100 different families, and along my childcare journey I have learned about different types of families, parenting styles, dynamics, when to make a quick decision and how to make a tough one. Now as a mother myself, I get to see another angle of childcare through the lenses of a parent. I believe each childcare placement requires a special intuition, high emotional intelligence and real life nanny and life experience.

Lindsay Bell, Founder & Owner

I have been with BFC for over 7 years in all different forms. First, as a babysitter while in college in NYC, then as a full time nanny for two years and now in office for about 5 years. I have seen all sides of the business and understand what it’s like to be both in the sitter’s or nanny’s shoes, and how a family experiences childcare. With that knowledge, I do my best to place the best caregivers in the business!

Meredith Hamler, Sitter Services Manager

My past experience as a full time nanny not only helped shape me into the person I am today, but has also allowed me to connect with families on a deeper level. I was a full time nanny for twins starting when they were just 8 weeks old. I was the family’s first and only nanny randomly selected; we learned so much from one another and to this day are very close. I know what to look for in great caregivers; I carefully look at a family’s job musts and ages of their children to select nannies that will connect the best with them. We want to place nannies who care about the family’s children just as much as they do, which is why our hand selected process works so well.

Lauren Kruk, Nanny Services Manager

I had 35 years of experience as an Educator speaking with parents and fellow Educators, which has allowed me to see many perspectives in managing and educating children and parents. When speaking with nannies and families that have been references, I use this experience in making judgments and empathizing with people.

Christine Bell, Recruitment & Retention Coordinator

My time with BFC began in its starting days when it was known as Lucky Lil’ Darlings. In the years I lived in NYC I babysat for dozens of families ages infant to teens, where I helped with evening, daytime, weekend and TravelSitting. I have such fond memories of the families that I sat for, from going on spring break trips to just having pizza and movie nights. That experience has led me to finding the best sitters to join the BFC team and understand both the sitter’s and family’s needs.

Courtney Garvey, Sitter Services Coordinator

My high school weekends were filled with babysitting for my baby cousins and neighbors down the road. After college I moved to NYC, and while there I became a BFC sitter! I met some amazing families and was able to take my experience from growing up into the city life. Now, I keep my experience alive through my 8 nieces and nephews; perks of being the youngest of 4 siblings.

Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media Consultant

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!

Ways to Keep Kids Engaged & Entertained at Home

With life at home being the new normal, parents are struggling to find new ways to keep their kids engaged and entertained without leaving the house. There are several resources surrounding this topic now, so we took some time to collect a short list of our favorite findings to help save from endless scrolling.

From virtual field trips, craft projects and yoga, your family is bound to find activities that will help keep the kids entertained. You can even learn about space from an actual Astronaut with thanks to the Kennedy Space Center!

Keeping Kids Active: What Parents Can Do
Physical Activity & Nutrition
Creative Activities for Kids
Science Experiments
Online Music, Language, Cooking & More
Scholastic Learn & Read
Art Making Activities
Stay-at-Home Resources From MommyPoppins: Homeschooling Support, STEM, Games & More

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!