Tag Archives: parents

Morning Routine: How Moms Handle the Morning Chaos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Household Employment Trends to Watch for 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full article from GTM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing like a good kid cameo in your meeting.

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

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!