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  • Community Spotlight: Embracing Community With Taneil Boerner

    Belonging, one of our six core values  is at the heart of Carefully. "Belonging aims to create a sense of unity and connection, ensuring that everyone feels they are part of a compassionate and caring community." We want to highlight the importance of belonging and community, which are critical as American parents battle 'The Loneliness Epidemic.' Carefully is helping parents and caregivers fight back by providing them with the tools to create inclusive and judgment-free spaces and fostering communities where everyone feels welcome. This month, we shine the spotlight on a community member, Taneil Boerner . Community Spotlight: Taneil Boerner Taneil Boerner  is a stay-at-home mom of three wonderful girls, aged 7, 5, and 3.   She created a babysitting club three years ago that feels like family to her and she currently babysits part-time and loves to plan free kid and mom events in her community.   As an active chamber board member and farmer's market volunteer, Taneil is dedicated to creating a sense of belonging for all. (You can't see it, but Taneil wears an invisible cape and swoops in to help parents in her community find the courage to connect.) Six years ago, she began her blog, Serenity Now,   to share insights on faith, motherhood, and her hobbies. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Taneil enjoys gardening, kayaking, biking, and walking. Her latest endeavor involves collaborating with her church to repurpose an unused preschool space for community use. We love having Taneil as part of our Carefully Community and appreciate her taking the time to talk about over coming fear, building trust, and creating deeper connections. What do you love the most about being a parent? What’s your biggest struggle as a parent?    Taneil:  I love how much I've learned and grown as a person. I believe parenthood has taught me to be confident in who I am.   My biggest struggle as a parent is that once you feel you have something figured out, your kids change and throw a whole new challenge for you to address. What inspired you to start the Belleville Wisconsin Moms Community? Can you tell our readers more about the work you’ve done?  Taneil:   I was not the mom who started this group, so I won't take credit for it. However, I joined my friend in promoting the group in our community and have since planned dozens of different free ongoing and one-time events for caregivers and kids. Some events: kids clothing swap, Christmas toy swap, toy loan, picnics in the park, book walk & talk, mom mingle, Be You Mama. What inspired me was my need for community once I had children and lost my job. What keeps me inspired is just one person who expresses how thankful they are for any of the events I host.   What’s one thing you love about the Carefully app, and can you share a challenge you overcame using it?   Taneil:   I've recently left Facebook because of the extra clutter it brings. I was trying hard to find a new way to still do what I love.   Carefully was exactly what I was looking for!   My challenge was getting people to join my large group, but once word got around about the events I was hosting my group has started to grow.   Also, I just keep sharing!   What does community mean to you?   Taneil: Community feels a lot like family to me- a place to feel welcomed, safe and supported.   "Community feels a lot like family to me- a place to feel welcomed, safe and supported." You've built an incredible community at a time when many parents are feeling alone and isolated. What do you believe are the key elements in fostering genuine connections among community members?    Taneil: I try hard to get out of my comfort zone by introducing myself to people I don't know and then inviting them to an event in the community.   If you truly love and care about your community it's easy to share. I want others to enjoy what I feel so blessed to have! "Belonging can be given in such simple ways- a simple hello, waving to people or introducing yourself to someone, inviting someone on a walk or your trip to the store. It doesn't have to be big, but your still providing something to a community that we all benefit from."   Asking for help and being vulnerable can be challenging for many parents. How do you encourage and support parents in your community to open up and seek help when they need it? Can you share any specific instances where vulnerability led to stronger bonds?   Taneil: Until you build trust with others, it's hard for people to feel safe, so planning group events has led many moms to find their people.   I'd say covid led parents to desperately need more community. After the worst of COVID was over, my babysitting club built great bonds with our small group that have changed over the past 3 years.   Yet we created a community of moms that know each other well and have shared many sorrows and joys together.  For parents and caregivers seeking to build or find a sense of belonging in their communities, what practical advice would you offer?   Taneil: Belonging can be given in such simple ways- a simple hello, waving to people or introducing yourself to someone, inviting someone on a walk, or your trip to the store. It doesn't have to be big, but you are still providing something to a community that we all benefit from.   Is there anything you’d like to share with the Carefully community?   I feel strongly that this app has huge potential. I like simple, and Carefully is it! Take a leap and create a new group.   Also, my babysitting club has had a huge impact on this season of my life and I'd love to share how easy it can be to use the Carefully app to run one. Thank you, Taneil for all the amazing work that you are doing for your community and for inspiring other parents to find the courage to connect! Ready to connect and build your Carefully Community? Download the Carefully app  and sign up. It's that simple!

  • The Loneliness Epidemic and the American Parent

    America has a growing concern: its citizens are lonely. A 2023 study found that 1 out of 2 American adults are suffering from loneliness. A national survey concluded that the epidemic runs deep in parents with a majority experiencing isolation, loneliness, and burnout from the demands of parenthood, and feeling a lack of support in fulfilling that role. At Carefully, we understand that belonging involves feeling accepted, supported, and understood. That's why we've designed our app to help caregivers find a judgment-free, inclusive community where they can share experiences, seek advice, and form friendships that help alleviate stress and provide the emotional support they need to live a healthier family life. The Courage to Connect: Overcoming the Fear of Asking for Help American ideals of independence and individualism demand that we handle parenting and its challenges alone. And this concept of American independence has fostered a culture defined by two opposing forces: innovation and isolation. But to tackle the loneliness and the childcare crisis, we must embrace belonging and learn how to create community, connections, and care. That's why at Carefully, we want to empower and encourage caregivers and parents to not only connect with their communities but also feel comfortable in reaching out and asking for help. We understand that asking for help is an act of courage--one that requires us to be vulnerable. It is difficult, but it is important, for it is this vulnerability that helps build trust and deeper connections. By reaching out, we open up opportunities for meaningful interactions and support and play our part in fostering a stronger sense of belonging in our communities. From Isolation to Inclusion: How Carefully is Redefining Community Support Carefully is committed to creating an environment where parents and children can forge lasting connections and truly feel they belong. That's why Carefully supports community-based care that is inclusive of all types of organizations and their members: from students to workers, volunteers, patients, teachers, refugees, and more. We translate that caring spirit into tangible options for affordable care for everyone. Here's how you can use our platform to plan child care that suits your family and your community: 1. Babysitting Coops Give Care, Get Care! Carefully allows parents to start a community babysitting co-op arrangement and share child care without any money changing hands. Instead, the care itself becomes the currency of exchange. 2. Care Circles Parents can search their trusted network to find care exactly when they need it. Or they can expand their network by connecting to other parents in school, local organizations and clubs, sports teams, and more. It's easy and safe. 3. Childcare Swaps Modern parenting is lonely and forces parents to be more self-reliant and self-supporting. But Carefully's childcare swaps allow families—and specifically mothers—to connect with their communities and thrive in ways they couldn’t before. 4. Family-friendly Events It takes a village so why parent alone? Use Carefully to stay informed and connected with other parents. Plan, organize, or simply attend family-friendly events to connect with other caregivers in your community. Carefully is helping parents across America build thriving communities that offer a safe space for self-expression, a network of support, and a source of joy. Download the Carefully app to find your safe space.

  • Parenting Through Play: Using Carefully to Promote Resilience in Your Child 

    Life isn't easy. And it comes with its fair share of challenges. As parents, we know that, but what about kids? As parents, we think it is our duty to protect our children from stress and heartbreak as long as possible. But if there's any parenting wisdom we've learned from Brene Brown, it is this: “The truth is that falling hurts. The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up.” And that right there, is resilience. Raising Resilient Kids Anxiety. Depression. Bullying. The constant pressure of college and good grades. These are just some of the stresses Gen Zs and Gen Alphas face. And that's why resilience is critical for kids. Resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ and 'get up' after a challenge, defeat, or tough time. It's the ability to thrive despite setbacks, failures, and punches life throws your way. Resilience is crucial for children as it enables them to adapt well to adversity, trauma, and stress. Building resilience doesn't just help children in childhood but also develops essential skills for future challenges in adolescence and adulthood. Children with high resilience are adept at managing stress, which is vital since prolonged stress can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. However, resilience can not be taught in classrooms or from textbooks. It comes from experiences: from failures, setbacks, and challenges. Fortunately, parents can foster resilience through everyday play and simple playdates and help children build the skills and emotional strength they need to overcome challenges. Using Carefully Playdates to Promote Resilience Resilience means recovering and growing through adversity. It is about harnessing your inner strength and learning from challenges: preparing children to cope and thrive amidst life’s difficulties. It acknowledges adversity, confronts it, and transforms it into a learning and growth opportunity. That's why playdates, which allow children to be in new and completely different situations can be strategically used to cultivate resilience in children. If done right, these simple playdates can provide kids with the skills and experiences necessary to handle life's challenges. Not sure how to plan a playdate? Well, Carefully can help! Download the app, sign up, and plan playdates structured to enhance resilience effectively. Here's how to use playdates as an opportunity to promote resilience in children: Gradual Exposure and Adaptation Playdates help improve your child's social skills and teach them how to interact, communicate, and maintain healthy boundaries with other adults. Begin with shorter playdates and gradually extend their duration. This approach allows children to adjust at their own pace, which can be particularly beneficial for those who feel overwhelmed by new situations. It also helps build confidence and develop stronger coping mechanisms incrementally. Problem-solving and Critical Thinking Uh oh! Your child forgot to pack an extra pair of clothes. And now he needs another pair of shorts or maybe even a jacket. Without you, he must figure out what to do, who to ask for help, and how to solve the problem. He needs to be creative and find a solution to overcome the challenge. So step back and let the situation teach him to depend on himself instead of you. Learn Conflict Resolutions It's healthy for children to have some level of conflict. (Bullying is still unacceptable.) But his playmates might have a different opinion on how to play a certain game or who gets to go first- and that conflict is good. Instead of swooping in to save the day, gently guide them so they can resolve the issue independently. This also gives children a sense of control over the situation and teaches them how to communicate and become problem solvers. Opportunities for Self-Discovery Tough times often reveal inner strengths. Guide children to reflect on what they learn about themselves when faced with challenges during playdates. Encouraging them to understand and articulate these insights fosters personal growth and resilience. Setbacks Lead to Growth It's natural to want to protect our children from negative experiences, yet it's important not to shield them entirely from life’s challenges. Providing opportunities for children to build confidence and learn how to navigate obstacles, successes, and failures is vital. Encouraging children to adopt an attitude of 'having a go' teaches them to approach life with a willingness to try. Experiencing and tolerating failure is part of this process, as it is essential for learning and protects against anxiety. Playdates will be full of new experiences that will help your child step out of their comfort zone. Take them as an opportunity to discuss real-life challenges and encourage children to brainstorm solutions, mirroring how adults manage difficulties. (This teaches them that problems are solvable and manageable.) Remind your child of past hardships they've overcome, reinforcing that these experiences build the strength needed for future challenges. Encourage them to trust in their ability to solve problems and make decisions, underscoring their role in contributing to the well-being of their class and community. Watch them Go From ‘I Can’t’ to ‘I Can’ From feeling overwhelmed with "I can't" to embracing the empowering belief of "I can," children learn that with resilience, every challenge is a stepping stone towards growth and self-confidence. Learn from Talia Kovacs If your kid has stomped off the field after they’ve missed a goal, crumpled their artwork out of frustration because they made a mistake, or given up quickly when something feels too hard, it might be time to take notes from Talia Kovacs. Talia empowers parents to raise resilient kids. She turns big meltdowns over small issues into a deep well of self-reliance and teaches a child to be comfortable with mistakes through her work at Calm Connected. Join her channel on Carefully to get access to her tips on how to raise resilient kids or read her complete interview to learn her about her Resilience Framework.

  • Community Spotlight: Raising Resilient Kids with Talia Kovacs

    Empowerment is one of Carefully's core values and guides all aspects of our work. We believe that it's essential for families to become self-sufficient and confident in their ability to provide for their children. That's why we've created a supportive community where parents can exchange ideas, seek advice, and build lasting connections.  At Carefully, we understand the importance of social support and the need to feel connected to a community and appreciate members like Talia Kovacs who are making a difference. Embracing Empowerment If your kid has stomped off the field after they’ve missed a goal, crumpled their artwork out of frustration because they made a mistake, or given up quickly when something feels too hard, it might be time to take notes from Talia Kovacs. Talia empowers parents to raise resilient kids. She turns big meltdowns over small issues into a deep well of self-reliance and teaches a child to be comfortable with mistakes through her work at Calm Connected. Talia focuses on taking kids from an inner monologue that says nothing is fair and no one cares about them, to an inner voice that tells them that they are smart, capable, and can take on challenges! Talia Kovacs: Founder-Calm Connected Talia Kovacs is the founder of CalmConnected, a children and family resilience organization. Her work on building resilience in elementary-age kids, and the connection between social-emotional learning and literacy, has been featured in Forbes, Newsweek, Today, Scholastic, and many other news outlets. Talia serves on the Board of Directors for LitLife and The Brooklyn Book Bodega. She has previously served as a classroom teacher, a graduate-level education professor, and the CEO of LitLife, an international literacy consulting firm. Talia's greatest mission is to equip parents with tools to foster a deep well of inner resilience in their kids, so that the whole family can live in calm, connected households where children thrive. We love having Talia as part of our Carefully Community and appreciate her taking the time to talk about increasing connections, fostering independence, and how she’s found her community through Carefully. What do you love the most about being a parent? What’s your biggest struggle as a parent? Talia: I love, love, love the snuggles, the sweet words and watching my daughter learn new things. These are all the aspects I thought I’d love after spending my career working with kids and then becoming a mom. I’ll tell you, though, that the hardest parts are the big “what do I do about this!?” moments, and the moments where I wonder if I’m missing a bigger issue. For a lot of the parents I work with and for myself, it’s hard to distinguish when I need help from when I should let something be. I’d say my biggest challenge is overcoming all the doubts I can have about whether or not I’m doing the right thing. I don’t think that will ever end. I work hard to remember that whatever decision I make at the moment doesn’t have to be a forever decision, and if I change my mind with more information later, that doesn’t make me wrong now. What inspired you to develop your Resilience Framework, and what motivated you to focus on promoting resilience in children? Talia: I came to work on resilience through my work in schools. I was the CEO of LitLife, a global literacy consulting firm teaching teachers to teach reading. I traveled around the country working with every type of school, and I saw the ways that kids learned, and some kids stayed behind. Do you know what’s always true about the kids who end up learning well? Aside from the quality of instruction, it’s their willingness to make a mistake and try again. "We are at almost epidemic levels of childhood anxiety. Kids are afraid to make mistakes and deeply embarrassed when they do." We are at almost epidemic levels of childhood anxiety. Kids are afraid to make mistakes and deeply embarrassed when they do. I work with families because there is just so much more of an impact that parents have on kids. Teachers are with them for a year, and parents are with them for their whole lives. My mission is to help parents empower their kids and work on systems and structures at home to promote resilience, and get out of the framework of fear around mistakes. I developed the Resilience Framework after years of work with parents, and I’ve seen it work well for so many different types of families and so many kids. I wouldn’t be able to do this work without the hardworking and curious parents who I get to work with daily. Get Exclusive Tips from Talia Ready to learn how to build meaningful connections with your kids? Talia's got you! She's sharing updates on her upcoming events, tips on how to talk to your child about reading, and exclusive resources to ensure joyful literacy at home on her channel on Carefully. What’s one thing you love about the Carefully app or a challenge you overcame? Talia: Ah, I love the Carefully app so much! I just love how we can find other local parents who are really looking to create a community around childcare. I love all the extras that Leslie puts into place for parents—the informative workshops, the helpful kid-play sessions, and all of the important ways that Carefully cares for the larger community. How do you know when it’s time to reach out for help? What role does a community play in this? Talia: This is such an important question! All our kids want to feel a sense of belonging at home. So, it’s time to reach out for help if your child’s behaviors are getting in the way of the family dynamic. If their siblings (or parents!) are viewing them as the “problem child” or the one who is always stopping the action at home. Whenever there’s resentment or a defined role like that, it’s important to get help so that your child can be part of the family with a positive role steeped in their strengths, and not the default role of the one who is always messing up or causing a scene! "Community is so important in this. I see this all the time in the course I teach, parents get together and really value feeling less alone with what they’re dealing with." Community is so important in this. I see this all the time in the course I teach, parents get together and really value feeling less alone with what they’re dealing with. I think having other parents around you who “get it” and make you feel like you’re not crazy for getting annoyed or wanting something different for your kid is so important! Parenting can get tough! As a resilience coach, how do you support parents in managing their stress and emotions while also nurturing their children's resilience? Talia: This is a major part of the work. There are three parts to my framework, and the first part is for parents to really start with themselves when something is happening at home. And NOT because it’s your “fault” but because, luckily, emotions are contagious and the more we are able to stand in our power, the more our kids will feel empowered and safe too. "There’s no perfect here. There’s no parent I work with who doesn’t lose their cool or get frustrated or want to stop everything and hide in the bathroom! That’s all part of it." There’s no perfect here. There’s no parent I work with who doesn’t lose their cool or get frustrated or want to stop everything and hide in the bathroom! That’s all part of it. What parents tell me they like about the work is that even with all these emotions, we’re following a framework and a system, so they can just plug back into what they’re working on with their kids. A core principle in my work is “flounder, forgive, forge ahead” – know you’re going to mess up, it will happen, just a question of when. So, when you do, forgive yourself quickly and move ahead! At Carefully, we understand the importance of social support and the need to feel connected to a community and appreciate members like Talia who are making a difference. Talia Kovacs and The Resilience Framework Talia's Resilience Framework guides families through three key systems to support children in developing a courageous, independent, and resilient mindset. Want to learn more? Join Talia’s channel to learn about her upcoming workshops, or book a clarity call with her. Want to join the Carefully Community and help connect with other caregivers/parents? Download the Carefully app to get started.

  • From Chaos to Control: 5 Tips From Parents for Calm Playdates

    Playdates are fun. They should be, right? After all, that’s how you remember them from when you were little. Your friends would come over, and you’d play for a bit, hang out, and watch some TV before their folks came to pick them up. But why is it that the idea of hosting one now seems to involve a lot of planning? Well, for one, we’ve made them complicated. Yep, we are the ones to blame. For one, playdates do NOT require a series of fun activities with glitter, thematic snacks, and Pinterest-inspired décor. Save that for the birthdays! Instead, playdates should be simple, fun, and calming. And best of all, they should make life easy for all the caregivers involved. That’s why we’re sharing easy ways to coordinate playdates while also sharing tips from parents on how to establish some ground rules so both, kids and adults, have a great time. Tip 1: Communicate Clearly To make sure everyone agrees and is on the same page, communicate clearly. This means you talk about any worries or updates regarding the playdate. Maintain open channels of contact with the visiting children's parents and be clear about expectations and rules, if you have any. "I may have work that day. But I think I might be able to pick them up 6 ish?" "Okay, that's cool." This is a perfect example of how NOT to plan a playdate.  Will they? Will they not? Was that a yes? What exactly is 6ish? 6:05? or 6:20? Take it from the pros: Skip the 'ish' and ‘around.’ Instead, stick to ‘o-clock sharp and use a calendar. Also, make sure you are clear about your availability for playdates and the time you’d be able to pick up or drop off the kids. “I get it; it’s hard to say ‘no’ to a friend. And I hate it when parents are vague in their communication. That’s why I love the app’s calendar feature, which clearly shows periods when I am available and the exact time of the playdate. It makes coordination a breeze.” Jenny. R Tip 2: Rules Will Keep You Sane “As a parent, I love rules. I think it's one of the best ways to maintain decorum. And although kids automatically assume that translates as no fun, that's not true. Rules aren't' supposed to suck the joy out of a playdate. They're just there to make sure there's no pushing because there's nothing worse than a playdate where a kid ends up hurt!" Jessica. O Make sure your child and the other children are aware of your expectations before the playdate. It doesn’t have to be a sergeant’s drill with you screaming orders at them, but just a simple guideline on the rules you expect them to follow like no pushing. These might also involve guidelines for sharing and being considerate of one another's property. Tip 3: Hangry Kids Make Terrible Playbuddies Hangry kids will either be whiny or they're going to snack on any junk they can find. So make sure you offer either a nice, healthy meal if it is lunchtime or some healthy snacks like granola bars that the kids can munch on. “I do pick-ups after school on Wednesday and Friday. And the first thing I do is make them sit at the table and feed themselves. They're generally whiny and moody in the car but once they're done eating, they're back to their normal, playful selves.” Harry. L Tip 4: Small Gestures Matter Small gestures matter so let other parents know how much you appreciate them through a small token of appreciation or a simple thank you. “Playdates are a great opportunity to teach kids social skills. My kids picked up skills like cleaning up after themselves and saying thank you to whoever’s hosting from my co-workers’ children. She even sends these little tokens of appreciation with them and I’ve loved the idea and the thought. It’s a pleasure having them over.” Amanda. P Tip 5: Get Mess-Free Kits for Playdates Six-year-olds have a lot of energy so make sure you plan a few activities to prevent them from running around the house. Some mess-free ideas include water and sand tables in the backyard, or mess-free art or science kits to keep them occupied and entertained! "I always pick up a few art supplies from the dollar store including safety scissors, washable markers, and glitter stickers. The trick is to make sure it's mess-free! Then as I prep dinner, Alexa guides them through an easy DIY art project and voila, it's pick-up time.” Christine. O Remember, playdates are supposed to be simple. So be the adult, keep a watchful eye, but step back and give the kids space to create their playdate magic.

  • How-to Guide: Adding a care circle to your childcare plan (Part 1)

    Care circles come in many shapes and sizes, but what they all have in common is bringing families together for mutual support with childcare through a bartering system that allows families to save money while having a trusted connection care for their kids. In part 1, we will go over the different types of care circles that we typically see people using. In part 2, we will go into the details of how to successfully organize a care circle in your community. Care circles come in many shapes and sizes, but what they all have in common is bringing families together for mutual support with childcare through a bartering system that allows families to save money while having a trusted connection care for their kids. In part 1, we will go over the different types of care circles that we typically see people using. In part 2, we will go into the details of how to successfully organize a care circle in your community. All about Care Circles As part of our collaboration with Mirza, we are publishing a two part series on Care Circles. There are so many choices in determining which type of childcare to use once you have kids. It is easy to be overwhelmed with all the options along with the additional burden of the high costs associated with childcare. From nannies to au pairs to in-home daycares and child care centers as well as bartering with friends and neighbors. With so many available options combined with varying needs and budgets for each family, it can be hard to make a decision. What’s right for you? Carefully is working to make the world better through mutualism, community, and care. Our top priority is supporting families who are looking to organize Care Circles (also referred to as Babysitting Coops, Swaps, or Friends, Family, Neighbor Network  FFN) as a way to barter or exchange services with people in your circle. This care is typically provided in the person’s home or at a nearby location in your local community like a park. Some families are able to budget for formal childcare, such as a daycare or nanny during the work day, but it’s difficult  to budget additional money to hire a sitter for additional hours. Having time for self-care and grown up activities is also essential for our emotional well being and helps us to be better parents. Additionally, many families simply have a hard time finding someone or somewhere they trust during the hours they need at a cost they can afford. Whatever your situation, a care circle can be a great way to expand your childcare options. Benefits By setting up a neighborhood care circle or FFN network, parents can save money while also creating a stronger sense of community. By swapping care for date nights or short errands or even just time alone, parents can watch each other’s kids at different times without spending additional money from their childcare budget. Parents can also create stronger friendships with neighbors while kids get to know each other better. Since you already know these individuals, you have more trust in leaving your kids in their care. This type of care is also great for odd hours or occasional babysitting. Types of Care Circles Friends, Families, and Neighbor (FFN) networks provide a critical type of care for families that many prefer to formal daycare services. Care is provided in the child or caregiver’s home by a person who is a relative, friend or neighbor, or a babysitter or nanny. These programs typically are legally exempt from regulations and may not be required to meet health, safety, and training standards unless they care for children who receive government child care subsidies or vouchers. FFN based care relies strongly on existing relationships & shared values of people who know each other, and the caregivers who are accepting children into their homes on a regular basis are providing an invaluable service to their network. Source Playgroups or Playdates are possibly one of the most popular options because of the flexibility in cost. If you work mornings and your friend works afternoons, offer to watch her child/children in the afternoon if she watches your child in the morning. You can also talk to other parents at your child’s school and take turns watching the children after school. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to watch others’ children, perhaps you can offer a different service, such as music lessons or meal preparation in exchange for child care.” Source Care Circles work great for flexible needs (including Date Night swaps) - A more informal version of a babysitting co-op that might just be between 2 or 3 people, so keeping track of hours or points isn’t necessary. Just a pick a regular activity or day for the swap and get started. Source Cooperative Care (Babysitting Co-op) - Babysitting cooperatives allow parents to equitably exchange baby-sitting services so they can enjoy a night out or travel on business trips. These cooperatives are less formal and involve relatively short-term arrangements. When parents take care of a child(ren) from a member family they earn points or hours that can be “spent” when they need baby-sitting services. Carefully supports babysitting co-ops by helping to keep track of karma care hours for each member. Source Employer-Assisted Cooperative Childcare - This cooperative model can be a useful model for on or near worksite childcare. In the employee model, parents at the worksite are the members and elect the board of directors. The center operates almost identical to the parent childcare cooperative described earlier. The employer may assist the cooperative by helping with start-up expenses, contributing financially or by providing in-kind assistance like utilities, use of buildings and outdoor space, duplicating, secretarial, and/or other goods or services. Source How it works The size of a care circle can vary from 2 to 3 families to even more depending on the number of kids and parents in the local area. We have seen a lot of benefits when 5 families come together to organize an after school playgroup, so each family has one day where they are watching the kids and the rest of the week is covered by other families. This set-up allows coverage of the after school care gap when parents still need to work, but the kids are out of school and want to play. Be sure to check out part 2 of our series.

  • Introducing Trust+: Create New Connections with Confidence

    Trust and Safety are core values at Carefully. We’ve worked diligently to create a secure environment where children and families can flourish through our reliable support network. Introducing Trust+ We've heard from our community that members want more ways to build trust as they connect with others on the platform. We also understand that each person approaches trust in their own way, and safety is critical when we talk about our kids. This is why we’ve introduced Trust+. Trust+ is our identity verification and safety screening process designed to enhance security within the Carefully community and instill confidence as you connect with other caregivers. Trust+ adds to the tools parents and caregivers have as they build their network for care and the feature is designed to balance the different needs of our members. We also believe authenticity and accountability are critical to building trust and fostering a safe community, which is why we will continue to adjust and adapt to feedback as we grow and evolve. 🔐 Activating Trust+ Activate Trust+ on your profile to unlock these features: Join public hubs in your area, public groups, and channels Find and connect with parents nearby with Community Finder Attend public events hosted or curated by Carefully Trust+ is an opt-in feature, and you do not need to activate it if you don't wish to use any of these features. Once approved, a Trust+ badge is added to your profile. Try it out today and start connecting with confidence. It takes less than a minute to activate! 📢 Your Voice Matters As we continue to refine and evolve Trust+, your insights will be invaluable. Message us on Carefully or email to share your thoughts about trust and safety when it comes to childcare. TRUST AND SAFETY Our company is committed to fostering a fair and inclusive environment. The purpose of our vetting process is to maintain the safety and integrity of our platform and emphasize mutual trust and care among members. TRUST+ FAQs Our aim is for our community members to be able to trust each other. Although no identification process is foolproof and we cannot guarantee someone’s identity, we take steps to help everyone feel confident that members are who they say they are. TRUST & SAFETY PARTNERS Know someone who could use a little extra help with childcare? Invite them to get started sharing care on Carefully.

  • Community Spotlight: Tracey Breeden and Michelle Pelton

    Trust and Safety are core values at Carefully. Trust and Safety mean working diligently to create a secure environment where children and families can flourish. This month, we are highlighting our work and the people behind it so our community can better understand how we are weaving Trust and Safety into our platform. (Learn more about Carefully's core values here.) Trusted Advisors: Tracey Breeden & Michelle Pelton Michelle and Tracey have been working with Carefully over the last six months to provide their expertise, advice, and guidance. These two trusted advisors have helped integrate trust and safety into the platform through Trust+ ID verification and Safety Screening while continuing to create an inclusive platform that supports communities that are too often underserved and marginalized. Their support has been instrumental in helping our team learn about the deeper nuances of trust and safety while building out a critical feature that helps our members feel more confident connecting with new people to build relationships and trust. Tracey Breeden: Thought Leader, Coach and Advisor Tracey Breeden is a thought leader and queer activist, author, coach, advisor, speaker, and former corporate executive. She has over two decades as a safety and inclusion expert working in public safety and leading efforts in the tech industry. Known as a fearless people leader, she has led and created safe, inclusive, and empowering spaces for both, consumers and employees. Breeden has a vision of building authentic, equitable, and respectful communities, free from harm. She is relentlessly committed to the expansion of that vision, empowering and igniting people to be better, more powerful versions of themselves, unleashing their inner superhero through self-development and activating collective power from the margin, all toward creating a better world. A former law enforcement officer and Medal of valor recipient, Tracey led efforts in the tech industry as Uber's first Head of Women's Safety and Gender-Based Violence, creating Uber's first global team dedicated to the safety of women and other vulnerable populations. She was the VP, Head of Safety and Social Advocacy at Match Group, the parent company of Tinder and Hinge. While there she was named one of the top 50 LGBTQ women and nonbinary innovators in business and tech. She’s now the CEO and founder of Disrupt the Landing, providing speaking, coaching, and advisory services for individuals and organizations. Michelle Pelton: Consultant, Advisor and Multi-Media Artist Michelle Pelton brings two decades of legal and employee relations experience to her consulting work, as both outside and in-house employment counsel supporting some of the most notable global and domestic brands in retail, transportation, and tech, leading teams with her values-based focus. Most recently, as the Global Head of Labor and Employment at Match Group, she significantly impacted all aspects of the business that involved people by, for example, creating support programs providing employees access to reproductive healthcare and as well as trauma-informed resources and expanding employee policies and benefits to be more inclusive and compassionate. In addition to consulting, Michelle is a dedicated mother to two awesome kids and a passionate multi-media artist, where she explores themes of the experience of being a woman and the divine feminine. Tracey and Michelle took the time to share more about their work and family life. We appreciate having them as part of our Carefully Community and are grateful for their knowledge, expertise, and support. What do you love the most about being a parent? What’s your biggest struggle as a parent? Tracey: What do you love most…the unexpected adventures and the opportunity to influence future changemakers! Biggest struggle… My biggest struggle has been becoming a new parent and navigating the role of a stepparent. Michelle: I think the best part, the part I love the most, about parenting is watching the kids grow into who they are. They are at this great age where I can really start to see not only their personalities emerge strongly, but also ways in which I can tell that we’ve impacted them. It’s getting that confirmation that what you are doing is making a difference - that they’re really listening! For me, the biggest challenge is not interfering with their journey.  Sure, I will support, encourage and guide, but I also try my best to remember that growth happens on a personal level and the kids need their personal growth to achieve who they are and what they choose to do. "I also try my best to remember that growth happens on a personal level and the kids need their own personal growth to achieve who they are and what they choose to do." Tracey and Michelle: Working together, we already connect and collaborate on pretty much everything so we find that this connectedness and collaboration pretty seamlessly extends to everything involving the kids. Tell us a bit about how you worked with Carefully and why you chose to work with us. What’s one thing you love about the app? Tracey and Michelle: We have the privilege of choosing who we work with, and it’s important that the companies we work with share our values. We chose to work with Carefully because we believe in supporting women, parents of all types, and families, and we believe in the mission of Carefully. "One thing we love about the app is it provides a platform to build community and safe spaces." One thing we love about the app is it provides a platform to build community and safe spaces. It supports a solution for one of the single biggest impacts on women in their educational and professional pursuits. What does community mean to you? How do you find and connect with new people in a new/unfamiliar place? Tracey and Michelle: To us, community means a trusted network of people that empowers, inspires, and creates safe spaces for those in the community and beyond. We find and connect with people in new spaces both, in person and online. We choose those spaces based on our shared values and interests. We also have become much more intentional about choosing to only invest in businesses and platforms that are women- and marginalized-community-owned or that are genuinely supporting and elevating those groups. Tell us more about ‘Disrupt the Landing.’ As parents, how has it been balancing your business with the demands of parenthood? Tracey and Michelle: Finding the right balance between work and family is never easy! It takes continual communication, grace, love and support. We also leverage a relationship coach. We believe in proactively building a healthy relationship and seeking support along our journey rather than being reactive and waiting for something to go wrong. You also host 'The Disruption Podcast'  together. Can you share a little more about the podcast? Tracey and Michelle:  We started The Disruption Podcast to share our stories and the stories of others creating big, bold changes. These changes were through the disruption of systems and institutions that cause harm to others and through disruption in your personal life, leading you to find pathways to your purpose, freedom, and power. We believe that disruption in these spaces activates transformational impact across society. One of the personal disruption journeys we share on our podcast is about our blended family and parenting journey.  We’ve chosen to be authentic and vulnerable about what that journey has been like - and we’ve had the honor of being joined by friends who have been authentic about their journey. We dive deep into our family journey and the journey of another queer couple and close friends of ours on Episode 23 and Episode 24, (Episode 24 is in two parts.) Listen in to learn more about our story - and you may find a community you need too! Tracey, You’ve worked with organizations to develop apps and tech for sexual violence prevention and safety. Do you have any tips and advice for parents and caregivers? Tracey:  There is no silver bullet in safety for preventing harm. I can give you lots of tips on online and in-person safety, and tell you to make sure you are using all the safety features platforms provide. But, you can do everything right and harm can still happen. Just know, it's not your fault when it does and leverage the help and support that is out there. "One area where I believe parents and caregivers can make a difference is in educating our youth. It is so important to teach physical boundaries and consent early, not when it is already too late." Sexual violence continues to be a global epidemic. We all can play a role, and we all should be doing everything we can to prevent it, disrupt it, and respond with belief, empathy, and care when it happens. One area where I believe parents and caregivers can make a difference is in educating our youth. It is so important to teach physical boundaries and consent early, not when it is already too late. I’ve found working with youth and in research from dating apps, that young people often still have misunderstandings and misconceptions around consent and do not respect it.  We can do our part to change that. We have loved working with Leslie and Carefully, and we hope to continue to support their efforts at creating a safe and inclusive platform. Of course, the feeling is mutual. Want to join the Carefully Community and help connect with other caregivers/parents? Sign up for our newsletter and download the Carefully app to get started.

  • Trust+ FAQ

    What is Trust+ ID Verification and Safety Screening? Our company is committed to fostering a fair and inclusive environment. The purpose of our vetting process is to maintain the safety and integrity of our platform, emphasizing mutual trust and care among members. We do not intend to sideline individuals for minor past discrepancies. Our aim is for our community members to be able to trust each other. Although no identification process is foolproof and we cannot guarantee someone’s identity, we take steps to help everyone to feel confident that members are who they say they are. This is why we have procedures in place to attempt to verify the identity of our users. Trust+ provides the following benefits for our members: Promotes trust and connection within the community Helps us identify and remove bad actors Limits access to public spaces to members who have activated Trust+ To ensure the authenticity of our users, we cross-verify personal details with external sources or assess official government documents, such as government IDs, passports, or national identity cards. For members based in the US ONLY, we examine select public state and county criminal databases, alongside state and national sex offender registries. Decisions regarding removal are based on the gravity of the criminal record. Minor violations like disorderly behavior or marijuana possession do not warrant exclusion. How does Trust+ work? Activating Trust+ is easy. We partner with Persona to verify your identity. Follow the steps to upload an image of your preferred identification and take a real-time selfie with your phone. For US-based members only, we take an extra step to review available public records (US Records only). Once verified, we use your exact name and date of birth to perform a background check with our approved provider, Tessera Data. We check certain databases of public state and county criminal records as well as state and national sex offender registries. After Trust+ has been activated for your profile, you will receive a badge that is visible to members in your trusted network letting them know that you have completed the Trust+ process. Members in your network will be able to view your full legal name that was submitted for verification in order to help ensure they know and trust the person who they are interacting with for care events. How secure is Trust+? Background checks aren’t the only factor to consider when deciding whether to trust another member because they do have a number of limitations. While they may help identify past criminal conduct or other red flags where records are available, there are many reasons they may not identify or flag a potential issue as outlined below: Completeness The databases that TesseraData relies on are not necessarily complete and may not include records of prior criminal conduct. Online databases might only be updated periodically by local governments There may be gaps in public record searches due to the way certain databases are maintained As determined by applicable law, public records databases may be limited to records of conduct that took place a certain number of years prior to the date of the check, ex: The prior 7 years in certain US states. Unknown household members - We also don’t conduct background checks on other people who may be living or visiting a member’s house during a care event, so it’s up to the parents to communicate with each other and make sure that the kids are safe and know who is around during the care date. Frequency We may only conduct a background check once per user, which means their most recent check may have been a while before you connect with them. You can alway see the date that Trust+ was activated by tapping the badge on their profile to see when the screening was completed. Accuracy of user information These checks only work when people give us their full, correct legal names and dates of birth. Even if they provided all required information, we can’t guarantee it’s accurate or that it even really belongs to them. Criminal deceit People may find ways to circumvent even the most sophisticated database or search technology. As a result, these database checks may not reveal comprehensive or recent criminal record activity. Continue to use your own judgment as a parent or caregiver. What are some extra precautions I can take to verify members outside of Trust+? Do your own research Consider doing a web search and checking public government databases, such as US federal or state sex offender registries, for the name(s) of anyone you’re interacting with offline. Do a Paid Background Check -  for a more complete result that you can share with your group. This may include checks with other agencies including DCPS. Do a Google search: Search the person in question's name and information they provide you on Google. Look for pieces of information (i.e. city of residence, location of work, profession, school) from conversations and messaging you have had with the person that you can use to search to build a more complete picture. Do a reverse image search: A reverse image search will reveal other places online where photos have appeared. Take the person's profile picture or another such photo and do a Google reverse image search and see what results you get back. You will more than likely get additional results and information that may have not have appeared from the name search alone. Pay attention to social media accounts: If someone has social media accounts connected to their profile and/or the Google and image search turns up social media accounts, look closely at those accounts, paying attention to what they say in their profile and messages. People put a lot of details about who they are and their view of the world online. Look for shared interests and shared friends. In addition, look to see if the activity and posts seem consistent in behavior and messaging or do you see inconsistencies? Does their story seem too good to be true? Inconsistencies and profiles that seem too good to be true or real are signs someone may not be genuine. Request a Video Chat: One way to confirm someone's identity is to ask them to do a video chat. You can also also ask for someone to show you documentation like a driver's license over video. This allows you to see the person in real-time. It could be a red flag if someone refuses or hesitates to do a video chat. Follow your gut. Our most important #1 safety tip no matter the situation is to follow your gut. If something feels off, it probably is. Trust your intuition. Don’t brush off or talk yourself out of how you feel. Always prioritize your safety and trust your instinct. What do I do if there is an emergency situation during a care event? If there’s an emergency in progress, please contact local emergency services or law enforcement authorities for assistance. Here are some additional resources where you can find help and support: National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673) National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233 or Text START to 88788 The Trevor Project (offering 24/7 crisis support services to LGBTQ+ youth) NO MORE Global Directory (a collection of US and international sexual and domestic violence resources) 1in6 (an organization offering support and resources for men who have been sexually assaulted or abused) Cybercrime Support Network (offering resources for those impacted by romance and confidence scams) Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741741 about any type of crisis

  • Building Community with Families First & Carefully

    Sparking Joy, Adding Value, and Continually Learning Over the last 6 months, Carefully has been working with Families First to onboard their staff and parents to Carefully. Carefully was chosen to support Families First as their technology partner for connecting families from their childcare programs for communication, coordination, and care. Working with at-risk and developing children and their families in Cabarrus County, NC, their approach focuses on nourishing children, empowering parents, and strengthening families. While we only started the technology roll out recently, our relationship with Families First started back in 2021. Spencer Swain, Executive director of Families First Cabarrus County and I were introduced through Joe Waters of Capita back in May of 2021. Since being connected, we immediately bonded over a mutual pursuit of helping communities in need of affordable, accessible childcare. Over the years, we developed an understanding of our respective offerings, the unique needs of the Families First community and how Carefully could benefit them. Today, we want to share some of our initial wins and learnings. Families First's Viewpoint Carefully is a technology that resurrects the reality that belonging to one another is essential to families' overall health and development. Ironically, technology used the wrong way is what is stealing our children from us. I suppose when you can't beat'em, join'em, and then you better beat them at their own game. Vanessa understands this. She moved here from Peru only months ago and enrolled her child in our bilingual preschool, trusting her daughter with someone else for the first time. Vanessa was the first to join Carefully and is recruiting others. When asked why, she said, "I am so thankful a new friend in the community referred me to the bilingual preschool. This technology is like migrating to another country and speaking another language, but let's face it, we parents need help, and Carefully is the next step for me." Two-thirds of the children in our county are not in any childcare, and parents struggle daily, lonely and isolated with no help. We know this intimately through our home visiting program and are excited to finally have a solution, a home they can call Carefully, where they will experience new friendships, positive interactions, and mutual respect and desire to provide a healthy community for their children. Carefully’s Viewpoint Families First is aiming to establish robust infrastructure through technology, tools, processes, and expertise that enable existing informal Friends and Family Networks to grow into a reliable and resilient alternative to paid-for care that is often inaccessible, unaffordable, and exclusive to underserved and marginalized communities that they serve. Having a proven method and trusted, existing relationships with these communities, Families First is now positioned to scale their reach and deepen their impact through Carefully - a technology platform that allows them to more easily connect, coordinate, and support community members who need childcare and early learning assistance. Furthermore, the infrastructure will provide additional benefits beyond what a Families First specialist can provide alone, as members will be able to easily connect with other Families First members, so they can have more options available for shared care and playdates as well as mutual support in the community. As the founder of Carefully, delivering real value to parents and to organizations is what gives me the most joy. That value comes when people connect and support each other through the product that we have built, but even more so when we see families who are struggling in any way, get a little relief through the network they are able to access on Carefully. Partnerships like Families First are a critical element of our vision, as we know that trust is the spark that helps people embrace their vulnerability and ask for help. Families First has spent many years building trust in the community they serve and learning what their community needs to survive and to thrive. Families First has also put their trust in Carefully, and we couldn’t be more honored to be on this journey with them as we find ways to help families connect and support each other. We know that their members, like many of us, need more childcare, more support, and more affordable options. In a world where we are constantly presented with new technologies, we know that it takes something special to stand out from the rest. Through the work that we’ve done with Families First, we’ve taken away some small but important lessons that will help us as we move forward Sparking joy is how we win. Parents love to know what’s going on with their kids, so any way that we can create a sense of joy and excitement is so important in helping them see the value of Carefully. We’ve seen how the magic happens when group hosts send pictures of kids in the group, so parents get a little spark of joy when they open the group chat. Once parents have opened their minds to Carefully, we have to follow up with VALUE. That means we need to show them how Carefully can make their life easier. We see that sharing events that they can go to on the weekends, sharing knowledge and resources, and letting them know that we are there to support them when they have questions are great ways to keep building trust with us and with our platform. The more they learn about how they can use the platform to connect with other parents, to find events to do with family, and to organize care with their network when Families First isn’t available, the more successful everyone will be. We realize that it’s hard to imagine a different way of living when you never have enough time, support, or enough money. Our hope, our mission, and our reason for being is to create a new reality for parents and family. Carefully will be here when you have the time and will help you get time back in your week, your month, and your life.

  • A Year in Review - Time is Relative

    304 days since my last blog post and so much has happened, yet so little has changed. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living in a state of quarantine for nearly a year, but it’s true. As I prepare to receive my first shot of the vaccine that promises to take us into the next phase of the post-pandemic world, it seems appropriate to reflect on the past months before jumping ahead too quickly. (TL/DR we struggled, we survived, we thrived, we learned, and we grew.) Feb 2020 - Our Beta Release In the carefree days of February 2020, we were ready to start user testing our updated app with our newly added Groups feature to help people easily grow their network for sharing care. Little did we know, a few short weeks later the world would start shutting down and playdates would be the last thing on anyone’s mind as we all focused on survival and safety. March 2020 - The Quarantine Begins As days turned to weeks and then months, we looked for ways to support parents working at home with kids, kids trying to learn at home with parents, and people needing a break in general. A common theme emerged for many working parents, one of overwhelm, stress, and burnout. April 2020 - Virtual Events We added virtual events to allow brick and mortar small businesses offering kids activities in the community a way to give parents a break and connect with a wider community. We’ve had thousands of people attend and view our events since launching them in April. August 2020 - Safety and Trust Verified social profiles were a light touch approach for helping our community ensure people were being truthful in their descriptions. We will continue to balance and prioritize trust, privacy, and security by introducing features that allows our families to feel safe and secure when they are engaging on our platform, building their network, and inviting people they trust to join it. Jan 2021 - Equity & Access As we have seen the world evolve over the last year, we know that childcare is not only essential for our world to recover, but also we must develop options to support and uplift those who are underrepresented and underserved in their communities. We envision a future where childcare is equitable, accessible, and affordable to all who need it. We want to build a platform for everyone, but especially for the people who need it most and can share in its success. Releasing our Android app this year was one step towards ensuring that our platform would be accessible to everyone whether they have an iPhone or an Android device. We are also excited to join the program in March 2021 as we work to develop a cooperative ownership structure that ensures the platform we build provides opportunity for our members to have equity, ownership, and a voice in our decision-making process as we grow and scale the Carefully platform. Feb 2021 & Beyond - Looking Ahead With almost 2000 people installing our app, we continue to see people searching for ways to fill the childcare gaps in spite of the challenges of the pandemic. As people start to think about childcare in the coming months, we know that Carefully will be an important option for providing affordable care within communities. While it’s reassuring to know we can survive and come together stronger, we will be happy (and lucky) if we never go back to this place again. I hope that lessons we have learned individually and collectively will help ensure that we build a better future for our next generations. As we continue to grow the Carefully community, product, platform and ultimately the cooperative ownership model, the insights we have learned from growing Carefully during the pandemic will be invaluable in driving us forward efficiently and effectively as we all eagerly anticipate and move towards the light.

  • Community Spotlight: Nueva York Kiddos, Yne Leal

    Nueva York Kiddos is a Spanish School for kids that has the mission to offer a warm, happy environment where students learn through creative and fun hands-on projects. We expose our students to different cultures and embrace diversity, kindness, individuality and teamwork as well. Nueva York Kiddos is a Spanish School for kids that has the mission to offer a warm, happy environment where students learn through creative and fun hands-on projects. We expose our students to different cultures and embrace diversity, kindness, individuality and teamwork as well. Let's hear from the director and lead teacher Yne Leal of Nueva York Kiddos.What do you love the most about being a parent?I absolutely love spending time with my daughter, seeing her evolve as an independent, kind and creative individual, going to places and having fun together. My favorite moments are the ones when she is affectionate. She is a pre-teen and it does not happen as often as it used to be.What’s your biggest struggle as a parent?Nowadays my biggest struggle as a parent is working from home and being fully present for my daughter at all times. I often have a long "to do list" in the back of my mind and it is challenging to disconnect from responsibilities. Mindfulness is a work in progress...How is Carefully helping you as a parent and/or as a small business owner?Carefully has helped me and my business connect to parents and families in a very safe manner. We use Carefully Groups to organize our after school classes and connect parents with each other for pickups and playdates.What does community mean to you?Community is what makes you feel that you are at home. I love how engaging, diverse and kind the North Brooklyn community is! I love getting recommendations from people that are part of my community, since we belong to the same place and have things in common in most cases.How do you find and connect with new people in a new/unfamiliar place?Visiting new places, participating in classes, community events and forcing myself to be as social as possible.Tell us about your business, Nueva York Kiddos, and how people can participate locally and virtually if they aren't in NYC.Kids can join our after-school classes, summer camp, "at your home" private and semi-private classes in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. We offer online private and semi-private Spanish lessons as well. We only promote our programs through community media channels. Our school has grown a lot because of the word of mouth of families within our community. I am deeply grateful for it. Find out more about Nueva York Kiddos:

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