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Faq: Get to Know Bell Family Company & NY Nanny Center

Bell Family Company (BFC) is a women-run company with an established reputation for quality, excellence and care. Each childcare provider has been carefully selected through our unique screening process and on-going CPR and educational training.

BFC’s sister company, NY Nanny Center (NYNC) places the highest priority on children and childcare. The center is based on the concept that excellent childcare can best be provided in an environment where nanny and family are well matched, where each is respected and valued by the other and where each understands the needs of the other.

Ready to learn more? Read our FAQs below and contact us today to find your best matched childcare provider!

How do you conduct your social media checks?

We do tell the nannies that we will be preforming social media checks. We perform those by spending time scanning google and social media including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to make sure they have profiles that are acceptable to our standards. If we come across any activity that is not appropriate we will not proceed with accepting this childcare provider.

How many references do you contact? And how do you contact them?

We always attempt to get the most recent references to list first on the childcare provider’s profile. But because certain family’s lives are hectic, that is not always possible; some move away, some are private and do not want to provide a reference, some are going through person family situations and are not able to give a reference at that time. In those cases, we move on to the next year/employer, etc. If a childcare provider doesn’t have three childcare references, we permit them to give us a character reference, which is someone that has known them a long time (but not family). If a childcare provider only has two references total, we will accept these two on a case by case basis.

References are checked by our in-house, 10-year vetting veteran who was also an educator for 30 years and a mother of 5 girls. For consistent nanny work, she verifies references via phone call at which time she discusses the nanny’s work, etc. For on-demand sitter work, she will email the references to complete our reference form. If a given reference is only available via email, she will contact them to complete & submit our reference form. If a candidate originally joined our agency as an on-demand sitter and later applied to be a consistent nanny, that candidate will have emailed references only in addition to a long standing reputation at our company. In this situation, our agency can re-attempt to contact these references with a call at the request of the family.

Where are your nanny placement services available?

We place full time live in or live out in all cities across the U.S.

Our agency is based in Manhattan offering our full list of childcare services to the Tri-state area as well as select cities across the U.S. For a map of cities, click here.

What is the difference between a sitter and a nanny?

A sitter is used for occasional on-demand sitting, date night, daytime fill ins, weekends, etc. To book an on-demand sitter click here.

A nanny is one person who commits to a set schedule for a consistent duration of time.  To start your nanny placement process click here.

Do I have to have a referral to get into your agency?

We love referrals!

Ask any member family of Bell Family to refer you. They simply need to log onto their profile & click on ‘refer a friend’ to submit your name and email. You will get an email shortly after with a referral code to enter here!

If you do not yet know a member of Bell Family, click here and submit how you heard about us. A member of our team will review and be in contact with you.

How do I apply?

All families and nannies are required to apply with Bell Family Company.

FOR FAMILIES: Click SIGN UP on our website, fill in your basic info and submit. You’ll receive an email immediately after asking how you heard about us. We’ll then send you instruction to fill in your entire application.

FOR NANNIES: Click here to apply.

Do you have a membership fee?

Yes, we charge a $500 membership fee upfront to begin your nanny placement process. For a long term placement (anything longer than 3 months in duration), the amount is applied towards the final balance of the placement fee. Members have full access to ALL childcare services including emergency back up care, our 24/7 concierge program and more. For a list of membership benefits click here.

 How long does the placement process take?

It depends on the complexity of your request. If you are looking for an on-demand babysitter, that could take only minutes for us to place.

If you are looking for a full time long term nanny,  that takes on average between 3-5 weeks. However, we move as fast as the family does. If a family needs a nanny placed next week we can do that too.

When do I begin reviewing nanny profiles?

Once you’ve completed your family application and signed the nanny placement agreement we can start your nanny search immediately.

We develop your job conditions based on the consultation that we have with your family and begin sourcing right away. Typically we can send nanny candidate profiles to review within 48 hours.

Can I interview the nanny candidates?

Yes, always. After you review the nanny profiles and select who you would like to proceed with we offer a number of ways to get to know the nanny candidate better:

1. Virtual Phone, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facetime interview.

2. In-person interview.

3. Meet & greet between the sitter and the family (note meet & greets are paid hourly).

Your nanny coordinator will handle all logistics with the interview and send a confirmation email so everything is clear. If you need to modify the any aspect of the interview, contact the nanny coordinator and the nanny candidate directly with an update.

Do you offer nanny trials?

Yes, we are happy to offer paid trials with your nanny candidates. The family shall pay the nanny via credit card on our agency’s online platform upon completion of each trial day at the following rates: $23 per hour for 1 child, $25 per hour for 2 children, $28 per hour for 3-4 children. For trial engagements conducted with non-local candidates the Client is also responsible for covering all accommodations, travel and food for the non-local candidate.

How do I cancel or reschedule my nanny interview/trial?

To cancel an interview/trial please reply all to your confirmation email as soon as you are aware. Make sure your nanny coordinator is on the email and aware of the situation. If you’d like your nanny coordinator to make all updates, contact her directly.

Do I need to reimburse the nanny for travel during the interview/trial process?

For any travel outside Manhattan or Brooklyn the family is responsible for providing travel reimbursement to the nanny candidate during the interview and trial process.

During COVID-19 or bad weather families will typically offer to pay round trip car fare so that the nanny can commute safely to the family’s home.

How do I pay for your services?

Once an offer is made and the nanny has accepted we will send the family an invoice for the total placement fee due. The fee will be charged in full per the credit card we have on file on the day that the nanny commences employment.

I’m ready to make an offer, how do I do that?

Before you make the actual offer to the nanny, NY Nanny recommends to all of our families to use some kind of Nanny/Family Work Agreement to outline the duties, hours, responsibilities, expectations and compensation package. This will serve as a guide to keep the position clear and both parties accountable for their roles. You can use any Nanny/Family Work Agreement you prefer or pull from ours. We ask that the family provide us with a copy of the agreement once complete. If you choose not to, our agency will need the information in an email so we have confirmation of the scope of the nanny position etc.

The nanny/family contract is not a legally binding document; its purpose is to simply state the roles, duties, compensation and expectations of both parties.

What is the difference between full and part time?

FULL-TIME (FT): A full-time nanny in the NYC metro area works between 40-60 hours/week. 

PART-TIME (PT): A part-time nanny in the NYC metro area works under 39 hours a week.

Please make sure you know the state domestic worker NY Domestic Worker Bill of Rights regarding overtime pay, workman’s comp, disability, minimum wage and required time off.    

Can you help negotiate my offer to the nanny?

Yes, we’d be more than happy to assist in negotiating your offer between you and the nanny. If you have questions about taxes, Payroll, etc. we can also recommend a great source for you to speak to before you make an offer.

 Are all your nannies CPR trained and have proper immunizations?

We highly encourage all of our nannies to be CPR trained. We host training seminars at our HQ for Adult, Child & Infant CPR in partnership with the Fire Department of New York. If a family requires the nanny they hire to be CPR Certified through the American Red Cross or another organization the family will need to reimburse the nanny for all costs associated. We can assist in booking your nanny for any additional classes or courses you require.

RE immunizations every nanny candidate is different. We will communicate any immunization requirements upfront to the nanny candidates in the job conditions and communicate that information to the family to ensure all your needs are met.

Our agency offers a number of other informational training programs throughout the year. For more information contact us.

Can my nanny do housekeeping?

Nannies are mainly focused on the children they are caring for and anything that relates to the children (i.e., school drop-off, pick-up, light tidying, meal prep, laundry for the children, occasional errands and shopping). Typically nannies are not housekeepers.

Who can I ask payroll, tax and benefits questions?

We have a long standing relationship with GTM Payroll Services. You can utilize any payroll service you prefer, but if you’d like to have a free consultation with GTM, just ask for Matt and mention our agency referred you. They will be happy to speak with you.

GTM Payroll Services provides household employers with payroll processing, tax compliance, as well as different insurance offerings for you and your nanny or sitter. They can help you manage all of the administrative tasks associated with being a household employer, offering you an unparalleled level of customer service and support.

Contact: Matt Owen ([email protected]), for more information click here or to use their tax calculator click here.

How do you find your nannies?

Most of our nannies are direct referrals through past nannies, sitters, families, colleagues and partners we know. We also recruit from other trusted sources including college campuses, select job boards/sites, through our own castings and with the International Nanny Association (INA).

Is it the families responsibility to provide healthcare, PTO, other benefits?

It is up to the family what type of benefit package they would like to offer. We have seen offer packages include the following:

VACATION: it is the industry standard to offer 2 weeks paid vacation to the nanny minimum. (1 week family chooses/1 week nanny chooses with advance notice). Families usually pay the nanny for any days they are out of town and it is a normal working day for the nanny.

PAID TRANSPORTATION: A monthly Metro Card or contribution toward the MTA card. (This is a common perk offered by most NYC families).

PAID HOLIDAYS: If they fall on a normal workday they are typically paid and off. If the nanny is required to work the holiday the family typically pays holiday pay (equal to time and a half). Please discuss what days you are offering as paid/off holidays etc. and paid working holidays.

PERSONAL/SICK DAYS: On average we see 2-5 days offered, although some families do not include this in their compensation package. Discuss the sick day policy.  

HEALTH BENEFITS (or contribution to health care): While it is a wonderful benefit to offer your nanny, it is rarely offered in NYC.

ANNUAL REVIEWS/RAISES: Are often forgotten, but are the cornerstone of good morale for the nanny and family. At the very least be sure to give verbal feedback and make sure you have an open door communication policy.

HOLIDAY BONUSES: Gift giving is very common in NYC for nannies. The NYC standard is usually a minimum of one week’s salary and some families will also give a gift in addition to the monetary compensation. It is also nice to acknowledge your nanny’s birthday.

Do you offer nannies with special needs experience?

We certainly do! Our team has licensed therapists, certified coaches, teachers and former nannies here to help with your child with special needs. For more information 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 Pandemic Pregnancy: What Comes After the Third Trimester

Baby boom or baby bust? To my surprise, I joined the former category during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic when my husband and I discovered we were expecting our first child on a rainy fall Thursday. If 2020 wasn’t already a blur with the sudden onslaught of a global pandemic that shuttered “life as we know it”, we also squeezed in a small wedding – and now a baby? My planner mode activated into full gear over the following months as we prepared for another big life transition. Now, I reflect back on those months, having gained perspective and a new sense of clarity.

1st Trimester – Be open to spontaneity. Many of us learned to be professionally agile as we quickly pivoted to a virtual world during the pandemic, but we also needed to adapt personally. This includes resisting our desire to control outcomes or stick to a set plan. Like many of us didn’t see the pandemic coming, I didn’t plan this pregnancy, but here we were. After the initial shock wore off over the next 48 hours, I embraced the situation, focused on getting our ducks in a row and watching every baby movie I could stream (Look Who’s Talking trilogy, yes, please!). I soon came to see this spontaneous event as a blessing – excited for the opportunity to become a mom and to gain a new perspective on life.

2nd Trimester – You can’t (and shouldn’t) get everything you want. Going through my first pregnancy during a pandemic brought its challenges – no traveling to be with my family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, no one to share my growing baby bump with except my husband and the four walls of our home and going to all my baby check-up appointments solo were tough. These trying moments surely brought frustration and some tears, but I learned to deal. Instead, we celebrated a quiet holiday at home, I texted lots of baby bump selfies to keep my family updated and virtual technology allowed for both a Zoom baby shower and for my husband to see and hear the baby’s ultrasound via FaceTime. After all, we were lucky to be healthy and together amidst the larger hardships so many others faced.

3rd Trimester – Be present. Two weeks before my due date I opened my journal to reflect on all that we’ve been through over the last year and the final days before our daughter’s arrival. I set an intention to be present, positive, at peace and patient as a parent. This moment of presence prompted me to write my future child a letter. She’ll one day open this letter and learn about our journey, the extraordinary time she was born and how excited we were to meet her.

4th Trimester – Practice daily gratitude. Yes, there is a fourth trimester of pregnancy and it’s called postpartum. There are many adjustments and worries when bringing a new baby home. But my days would become instantly better when I paused to take stock of what I was grateful for – a healthy new baby, a safe delivery, a new home for our family and a job that offers adequate paid parental leave to care for and bond with our newborn. These moments of gratitude brought peace and reinforced what mattered most. I continue to remind myself each day to be grateful for life’s many blessings.

Becoming a mom was my pandemic silver lining. While both were unexpected, my pandemic pregnancy gave me a new perspective and appreciation in life. I was able to slow down, prioritize what mattered most and eventually, recharge. We have all experienced loss, uncertainty and fear during this trying time. But I hope we also have gained a new perspective and appreciation for life – and found our silver lining.

This article was written by Jamie Bell, working mom, wife & Bell sister

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!

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

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

Connect With Local Moms and Dads Through The Parent Collective

Expecting moms and dads often need one common thing – support. The Parent Collective provides just that by helping to establish connections with other expecting parents through classes that minimize stress, and ultimately, make people feel like they are in this together.
We had the opportunity to partner with Jessica Hill, one of the Co-Founders of The Parent Collective, to learn a little bit more about her, her company, and what makes TPC so special.
Q: What inspired or influenced you to create The Parent Collective? 
A: I decided to start TPC back in 2016 after hearing from countless friends that they spent their early months and years with their baby feeling lonely and isolated. Because I was lucky enough to have my boys in the UK and benefit from the NCT, my experience was wildly different, and I wanted to give a similar feeling of support through education to others. Quite simply – I don’t know how I would have gotten through the early months of my first baby without my village of NCT moms who got me out of the house, listened to me vent when I was struggling, swap strategies for dealing with the latest feeding/sleeping/illness issues that crop up, and filled countless afternoons with conversation and companionship. Everyone needs that support and I hope that TPC will fill this need.
Q: What are the variety of classes that you offer and what can parents expect to learn in each of them? 
A: We offer a prenatal class series for expectant parents and after babies arrive, we offer CPR & First Aid classes, postpartum support groups as well as a wide range of workshops and online content developed in response to participant questions.
Our prenatal class, which is our core offering, is a 4-week series and in it, participants will discuss:

  • Session 1: What to expect in labor and delivery
  • Session 2: Relaxation techniques to help you through the early stages of labor, options for pain management and C-sections
  • Session 3: Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding information and advice, including latching on, pumping, milk storage, getting on a feeding schedule, and how to manage problems that may arise
  • Session 4: Newborn care

Q: How are your classes unique to the classes at my local hospital?
A: The Parent Collective offers a new style of prenatal class which is designed to provide evidence-based information, foster open, judgment-free discussion and establish friendships among couples living in close proximity and due at the same time. We see ourselves as an alternative to other childbirth education classes and hope that couples taking the series will develop a social network through participation, gather playmates for the little ones on the way and of course, provide that crucial support system that parents so need.
I am always banging on about how important it is to have friends with babies the same age as yours. I absolutely realize that it is hard to make friends as adults but with pregnancy as the common thread, it can sometimes be easier. Mom and dad friends at every stage of the parenthood journey are super helpful, but friends who have kids the same age as yours are essential. No one can fully appreciate the daily trials of a newborn like your friend who is also navigating life with a newborn. From spilling preciously pumped milk to dealing with an explosive poo in-transit. When you are in it, these feel like total disasters. However, these stories will not elicit a visceral “gasp!” from a new parent, but rather a breath of relief as you realize another real person has experienced something similar – like, yesterday.
Parents need this camaraderie so you can enjoy/survive the early days (and hopefully beyond) together. Our classes allow parents to solidify these relationships before babies arrive, so you don’t have to work so hard once they do. You can already be texting from the hospital about the terrible food and a love you never thought possible.
Q: Who are some of the facilitators that women can expect to meet in your classes (background, experience, mission etc.)?
A: All of our facilitators are nurses and midwives who can offer our expectant parents an accurate picture of what to expect in the hospital. Most are also mothers who can provide that additional layer of support having experienced first-hand what a world-rocking experience having a baby can be. Here is the background of one of our facilitators as an example but you can view all of them here.
Allegra Gatti Zemel, RN, IBCLC
Allegra is a registered nurse, Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and mother of three. She holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley in California as well as a BS in Nursing from Columbia University in New York City. Allegra has 13 years of experience in hospitals, classrooms, and in-home care and instruction around Maternal/Child Health and specifically breastfeeding. Allegra works to help each person feel equipped and ready for the wonder, transitions, and joy of a new baby with special attention to feeding and bonding.
Q: Where are your locations and how can someone sign-up to learn more about The Parent Collective or join a class? 
A: We currently host regular classes in Fairfield County, CT, Manhattan, Long Island, NY, Bergen County, NJ and we will very soon be launching in Westchester NY.
TPC will also soon be launching our prenatal series as a webinar. Watch this space!
To learn more, visit our website and sign-up for our newsletter, which offers information for expectant and new parents, as well as the opportunity to connect with parents who live local to you and have kids the same age.
Jessica Hill
Jessica Hill, Co-Founder of The Parent Collective
Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

Live Your Healthiest Lifestyle Through Chitta Wellness

We recently had the opportunity to partner with Roma van der Walt, Owner of Chitta Wellness, a personal and group training program that provides transformative tools to achieve your ideal body. Read our Q&A below to learn about her impressive journey, and how you can be on your way to living your healthiest lifestyle.

Q: What has your experience been in fitness and wellness, and what inspired you to start Chitta Wellness? 

A: My own experience in fitness has been as an athlete from a very young age. I started with horseback riding and track and field before I went to elementary school, by the end of fourth grade, I was competing and by 6th grade I took up the Modern Pentathlon. Modern Pentathlon is a beautiful sport because it combines some very technical sports like fencing, shooting and show jumping (horses) with very linear sports like swimming and running. I think being a multi-sport athlete is what I still use in my work with Chitta Wellness to make sure people don’t get bored in their training. You would be surprised how many non runners I was able to start running a bit and now they love it and send me photos from their holiday running trails. Just as one example.
I started Chitta Wellness because after almost a decade of sitting at a desk, I realized that it wasn’t for me and it was actually making me sicker. I developed anxiety and back issues. Now that I make my own schedule and work with people, I’m much happier and much more efficient when I do work on the computer.
I want to help people be happy and healthy and make wellness and fitness an integral part of their life, especially parents because children learn from experience from a very young age.

Q: Talk about the “three Ps” Chitta Wellness focuses on. What do each of these mean and what can someone expect to learn in each of these focus areas?

A: The three p’s are pre-conception, prenatal and postpartum fitness. Each of these phases is a special one in a woman’s and in a couple’s life. When a couple decides to conceive, there’s often a moment of “OH!”, our life is about to change. Parents strive to be healthier whether it’s the woman carrying the child or her partner. During pregnancy, the general advice from the medical field is limited to not doing too much but women aren’t sick, they are “just” pregnant and working out has proven to be very beneficial to both the mother and the baby. I think my son really liked it when I ran with him in utero. Postpartum is usually when parents run into a whole new set of problems. Personal time and fitness are a rare commodity and have to be juggled with childcare, so offering them workouts 1:1 and in groups that are at convenient times or where they can bring their children has always been something that I offer. Babies and children are welcome in my workouts and you would be surprised how well it works out (pun intended).

Q: Some people thrive with 1:1 training and others in group training. Does Chitta offer both? What kind of atmosphere is best for beginners?

A: Chitta Wellness offers both. Beginners are usually most comfortable 1:1 I have found, especially if they are pregnant or postpartum and then eventually they merge in to a group setting or they choose to work out with their partners. I love working with couples. It’s almost like therapy, just more fun. In my groups, I don’t discourage talking. I try to bop in and out of the workout and partner exercises without interrupting the flow of conversation too much. It’s cathartic, people want to exchange themselves and I have learned a LOT about child rearing, body issues during and post pregnancy and there’s alway a point in every workout where someone either cries or laughs and then gets uplifted by their peers. There’s nothing more beautiful for me than to see people come together that way!

Q: What are some key takeaways you hope to leave your customers with after a class or session?

A: Inclusivity, fun and wanting to come back. I don’t tolerate unfriendly behavior of participants towards each other. We are all busy and stressed and rather than taking that out on someone else (or me) I expect people to discuss it and maybe we can all help find a solution. I also hope to see all genders, ages, colors and denominations in my workouts because again, it teaches me and everyone else a ton to hear diverse viewpoints and it gives so much food for thought. Inclusivity in an age of social media and often upsetting global news day-to-day, that discourse is something we don’t get in too many areas of our lives. Or we simply don’t meet people outside of our immediate circle. In a workout we’re all exposed and have to face some insecurities so it’s very real. Ultimately what I have noticed and people in my workouts, is that most of us really strive for the same values in life for ourselves and our families. So for me, that’s incredibly reassuring to see.

To learn more about Chitta Wellness, visit their website!

Chitta-Wellness

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell