Tag Archives: parenting

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

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!

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

My Childcare Agency Is Open, Why Are Decision Makers’ Minds Closed?

Care taking has been ingrained in me since I was a child. I became a big sister when I was one and have been a caretaker ever since. From my early teens through my twenties, I babysat for everyone I could – and I loved it. That is why I started my childcare placement agency Bell Family Company, 10 years ago in New York City.

Now, I am a mother of two boys under four years old and run my small business from my home. Like many moms, I am juggling my day-job with ‘daycare and school’ for my children in our “new normal” resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every day there is a new article about how working from home with children is an impossible task. There is, “As Companies Reopen, Employees Scramble to Find Child Care” and “If America Doesn’t Invest in Childcare, Who Will Watch Our Kids When We Go Back to Work?” Reliable and flexible childcare was necessary before this pandemic struck, now it’s proven to be imperative.

While my agency concentrates on the tri-state area, there are agencies all over the United States that can assist employers big and small in referring help. There is not a one-size fits all approach, so a variety of service options must be available to working parents. This is a vital benefit, and employers and the government must step in to help.

In my endless attempts to reach out to employers big and small to educate them on our services and how we can help, the story is the same. I usually speak with a woman in Human Resources and she gets it immediately. Then the conversation begins to breakdown;
“It will be tough to get past the board”, or “There is too much red tape or liability involved”, blah blah blah … nothing gets done. And here we are, amidst a global pandemic in a country that is supposed to thrive on innovation, entrepreneurship and the American dream; and the problem is what do we do with our kids?

Employers and/or the government need to build a committee or board full of employees that are parents. The committee needs to come up with a list of agencies and other resources to refer to their families. Employers and the government need to then build a benefits program or package including ways that the company will help the parent (i.e., provide reimbursement on childcare hours).

The business community and government must work together to put forth viable solutions that support American families. If employers truly care about their employees and want to retain top talent, then they must offer modern-day caretaker policies that are flexible, reliable and affordable. If governments want thriving families and a strong economy, they must act as well.

The time for change is now and I am here to help. Please contact me  if I can be of service in anyway.

Written by Lindsay Bell, Small Business Owner & Working Mom

How to Best Approach Giving Your Nanny a Pay Increase

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

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

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

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

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

Looking to hire a babysitter or nanny in NYC? Bell Family Company provides fully vetted on-demand babysitting, including childcare for when a child is sick, full and part time nannies, baby nurses, temporary care and more! Learn why BFC is the best NY Childcare Agency servicing the tri-state area. BFC is the best in the business! Contact us today to hire a nanny in NYC or to book the best babysitters in NYC!

“You’re Going to Timeout!”

One of the most dreaded phrases as a kid is hearing, “You’re going to timeout!” The words spoken by parents to their mischievous little ones after they’ve been acting out. I remember hearing those words from my parents as a kid, and it always seemed like they came out in slow motion.

Timeouts can be a tricky business. What’s classified as a timeout? Are timeouts helpful for children? Are there better ways to discipline children?

We found an article published on Time.com, which touches on the “timeout” idea, along with other affective ways to discipline children. These tips are great to keep in mind whether you’re a babysitter, nanny, parent, or anyone working with children on a daily basis. We’ve outlined some of the key takeaways below, but encourage you to read the full article on their website here.

Let natural consequences play out. For instance, if a child is tossing their crackers on the floor, don’t pick them up. At a certain point they will learn that throwing their food on the floor means they no longer get to eat it.

Try some logical consequences. When natural consequences are not doing the trick, stepping in to create a consequence of your own can work well. For instance, removing the toy being chucked at the wall and locking it up for the rest of the day.

Guide the child to better behavior. “Discipline means to teach,” says Dr. Ben Siegel, chair of the AAP committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child & Family Health. Siegel recommends guiding children to appropriate behavior by giving them choices. For example, if a child doesn’t want to put on their jacket, a parent could say, ‘fine, but you have to carry it.’

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!

From Toddlers to Teens: Parenting Advice for Every Stage of Life

We recently teamed up with Kristin Louis, writer and researcher of all things parenthood on parentingwithkris.com. Over the years, Kristin has done A LOT of late-night Google searching trying to figure out how to be a better parent. Not all of the resources she found were useful; most consisted of the same things people read everywhere. So, she decided to compile a list of parenting resources that offer real, useful advice for raising children well through every age and stage. Read below for the advice she provided our Bell Family readers.

Becoming a parent is often one of the most rewarding and challenging decisions in a person’s life. Raising children is never easy, but it is undeniably fulfilling. From your child’s first steps to the day they get their driver’s license, watching them grow up is a beautiful journey unlike any other. There is no handbook for parenting — every child is a little different, and no two families are exactly alike. However, there are a few general suggestions that are applicable to most children. These essential parenting tips can help you guide your child through each stage of life.

Infancy

During the baby years, your child needs an established routine — and according to Nanit, sticking to a specific bedtime routine is especially crucial. A daily routine will help you both sleep through the night, get your baby used to eating at the same times each day and help them feel more comfortable around other people with regular social outings. It will also make planning your week much simpler and less stressful.

As a new parent, getting into a routine will make navigating this stage of life much easier — yes, life with a baby will always be somewhat unpredictable, but a baby with a settled routine will be much happier and healthier than a child whose day-to-day life is relatively unstable.

Toddlers

Toddlers are often strong-willed and mischievous. The phrases “the terrible twos” and “three-nager” can certainly worry parents! When your child is a toddler, it’s important to stick with consistent and effective disciplinary habits.

This is the stage when children begin to learn a sense of morality and distinguish right from wrong. They will often try to push boundaries to see how much they can get away with. As a parent, it’s important to teach them that these actions have consequences, without being too strict and harsh. Remember, it’s not about taking out your frustration or merely punishing your toddler — it’s also about helping them learn important lessons and showing them that we need to treat people the way we would want to be treated. It’s a balancing act.

Teenagers

Teenagers have a reputation for being rebellious — it’s a natural part of growing up. However, youthful recklessness can also lead to negative outcomes. As a parent, you may be concerned about your teen’s safety. You can take steps to safeguard your house by locking up the liquor and medicine cabinets. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, you can hire a professional to set up parental controls and other security measures on your home computer.

Worried about where your teen is running off to at night? Installing motion-activated security cameras can give you peace of mind (hiring installers costs $1,473 on average in NYC). Yes, these actions may sound a bit extreme, but you can decide what is necessary to ensure your child’s safety (and your home’s security).   

Leaving the Nest

When your child gets older, they might leave for college, but they still need your love and advice. According to Grown and Flown, scheduling weekly phone calls will help you stay in touch while allowing your child to have their own space. As your child grows up and enters adulthood, you can cultivate a friendship based on mutual respect. And as they move through life and achieve their dreams, you can look back on their childhood with pride.

Parenting is always an adventure, and some days you’ll feel like your family is on an emotional rollercoaster. No parent ever has all of the answers, but understanding your child’s changing needs through every phase of life will help you raise them with confidence and compassion. 

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!

The Best Gift for Moms & Dads!

Want a holiday, birthday, baby shower or just a friendly “I care” gift idea for your spouse, mom and dad friends or family member?  What do parents need and want most of all … time off! Put money towards a Bell Family Gift Certificate to help with membership fees, a full or part time nanny placement, baby or night nurse placement or hours towards babysitting.

“I’m a new mom. Two of my friends were members of BFC, and each of them gifted me gift cards – it was amazing. I’m now a member myself!”

Of course the Bell Family team fully supports parent-time! The same old gifts can become rather dull, and if you’re anything like our mom team members, you want to pick out those things yourself. That’s part of the fun, right? We can make all arrangements for your friend or family member – no stress!

“One of my mom friends was struggling and needed a break. I sent her a $75 BFC gift card and she appreciated it so much!”

Simply contact us to purchase a gift certificate and indicate the amount you’d like to purchase. We will provide you with an e-card to print or email to the recipient. Happy gifting, readers!

Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media