ACCENT on Children's Arrangements 615 Baronne Street Suite 303
New Orleans, Louisiana 70113

Phone: 504.524.1227
Fax: 504.524.1229
Toll Free: 1-800-539-1227
Email: info@accentoca.com

Educational Tours: Accent OCA

 


The city of New Orleans is a highly respected destination for adventure. It is also a popular business center for both local and international commerce. Many people who arrive in the Crescent City for business leave their families behind while they are away. Thanks to companies such as Accent OCA, it is not necessary to leave your children behind in the care of another.

Corporate Childcare Lets Children Experience Travel, Too

Corporate childcare is a well-received concept that has many benefits to today’s working moms and dads. Not only can they bring their children along on their business trip, they are also able to share the experience with their kids. During the day you can rest assured that your children are well taken care of and occupied with a multitude of healthy events. During the evening, parents are free to spend time exploring their business city as a family.

New Orleans for Kids

Even though New Orleans may have a Mardi Gras reputation, there are many great family activities to be had while here on business. Remember that Bourbon Street is only one street in the city and the children who live here are never bored or without healthy or appropriate activities.

Worlds of Wonder

Making arrangements for educational tours through Accent OCA is simple, so why not sign your kids up for a trip to the Audubon Insectarium? Curious minds will love to explore every nook and corner of this wildly popular insect museum. Both the Audubon Zoo and Cool Zoo Water Park are great places to spend the day, as is the Aquarium of the Americas where numerous aquatic life, including a 400,000-gallon tank, can be seen.

Love to Learn

If your kids love to learn, New Orleans is home to the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Located in the Arts District along Julia Street, kids of all ages can enjoy the many activities including piloting a life-size tugboat. The Outdoor Kid-Friendly Museum is an incredible display of accessible art that invites all kids, while the life-size boats and plans at the National World War II Museum is an ideal place to take in some real-life history.

Ride the River

Before you leave New Orleans a riverboat ride is a must. Floating down the mighty Mississippi River is a great way to see the city from a different perspective while learning about the surrounding history. If you’re able to do this as a family event, these paddle boats offer the perfect opportunity for parents and kids to not only learn, but to also enjoy the sounds of local jazz musicians while taking in a family dinner in style.

Photo courtesy of Molaa


Tips for Offering Childcare During Business Meetings

 


Women now make up almost half of the workforce, a far cry from the numbers decades ago, when women only accounted for a fraction of the workforce. Many of these working women are mothers who are juggling the demands of work and parenting. Even dads are playing both roles, as they contribute at work and home. These changes have put pressure on companies to offer more programs that fit the needs of families. After all, when parents know that their children are being well cared for, they can be better workers.

If your company has a business meeting scheduled, there’s no reason why the kids can’t be invited. This allows more flexibility as to when the business meeting can be held, while also ensuring that all employees are at the meeting on time and stay for the duration, while being fully focused on the material during the conference.

But how exactly do you run successful childcare during a business meeting?

Staff Sufficiently

First off, make sure you have an accurate count of how many children will be attending the meeting. It’s important to have the proper staff-to-child ratio so that you can properly and safely care for the children. These ratios are based on the ages of the children and break down to 3:1 for infants, 4:1 for toddlers and 6:1 for children. Since you’re probably tapped out of staff members, hire an onsite childcare company that will provide dependable staff members that will tend to the children.

Keep Them Busy

When you work with an onsite childcare company, the agency will have plenty of age-appropriate activities that will keep everyone busy. This is, after all, the key to running a successful business meeting. You can expect such activities as singing songs, seeing a magician, putting on a puppet show and dancing around to music.

Plan an Appropriate Venue

In addition to the activities planned by the agency, you will need to have a room where the children can stay. Make sure the room is comfortable, has plenty of space to move around, is safe for all ages of children and has bathrooms nearby. While you want the meeting to move along seamlessly, it’s not a bad idea to arrange a few short breaks where parents can check in with their kids if need be. When your employees see just how much fun their kids are having, they’ll be fully invested in the meeting.

At first, your company may feel as if providing child care is difficult to accomplish. Yet thanks to onsite childcare companies, you can provide fun, safe, dependable arrangements that allow you to conveniently hold meetings away from the office, on weekends or evenings. The kids have fun and your employees come together without the distraction of ringing cell phones and text messages of parents waiting to pick their children up.

Image Source: guardian.co.uk


Bringing the Family Along – Tips for Meeting Planners Part 2

 

As mentioned in Part 1 of this topic, more and more companies are seeing the value of offering corporate childcare services for their employees. Doing so ensures that employees attend the event and that they are able to enjoy the trip with their entire families. But how can meeting planners make these types of arrangements? What should this type of conference include?

A simple way to provide conference childcare is to hire the services of a professional agency that specializes in this type of meeting planning. The company Accent on Children’s Arrangements based in New Orleans, Louisiana is such an agency. Offering childcare services for corporate meetings, conferences, and private events, this agency has an experienced staff, including a program manager that develops a unique curriculum for each group of children. Using this type of provider can greatly reduce the amount of work that a meeting planner will have to do to make arrangements for children of employees.

It’s also wise for meeting planners to select host cities for their events that feature lots of kid-friendly entertainment and attractions. Cities such as New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York, and Orlando are packed with plenty of things that children will enjoy. Southern California, which is home to wildly popular amusement parks like Disneyland, Sea World, and Knott’s Berry Farm would make a great host city for this very reason. Just visiting these parks may be enough to provide entertainment for children of attendees.

Disney parks such as Disneyland and Walt Disney World also provide a wealth of entertainment and services for groups of children, including rides, live shows, meals, organized activities, and private parties. Meeting planners who select an area near to these attractions can contact the Disney customer service department to inquire about what arrangements are possible for large groups and if there are any discounts the group may be eligible to receive.

Resorts and full-service hotels may also be great resources for meeting planners. Some of these establishments in large cities offer kids’ suites, complimentary dining, kids’ clubs with structured activities and classes, recreation, and live entertainment. Many of these hotels and resorts may be willing to offer special activities for children of corporate groups or discounts to local attractions such as aquariums, zoos, and museums.

Image c/o: jetalone


Bringing the Family Along – Tips for Meeting Planners Part 1

 

Leaving children behind during business trips is a common issue for working parents whose jobs take them on the road. It can be an even bigger problem for professional meeting planners, who may travel more frequently than other employees. Feeling torn between work responsibilities and family loyalty can be difficult for any parent, particularly those who have to leave town regularly. The great news is that there are options for meeting planners who want to bring their spouses and children along with them on business trips. However, there are both advantages and drawbacks to doing so.

The possible drawbacks include the distraction that family matters may pose while the parent is working and the necessary supervision and activities parents may have to arrange to keep the children occupied during the day. It’s no secret that parents have to struggle to stay focused on their work, especially when a child becomes sick or injured. But that is a common issue for parents when they’re in their hometown, so most working moms and dads may be used to dealing with those problems.

When it comes to the advantages of bringing kids on business travel, though, there are many. For one, kids get to see the value of their parent’s work and responsibility. Sometimes children forget that their parents have more responsibilities than simply taking care of their needs. Seeing Mom or Dad contribute to the success of their company can help kids appreciate the work they do to support the family.

Another benefit of bringing the family along on work trips is making a frugal vacation out of the event. For many children, simply staying in hotel where they don’t have to make up their bed and where they can go swimming is a vacation. And if parents arrange for conference childcare services that include field trips and visits to amusement parks, the children can spend their days enjoying the city and the whole family can spend the evenings together.

One of the largest advantages of offering childcare services for meeting attendees is seeing the number of employees who are willing to come to the conference go up. Once workers see that the company understands the importance of family life and accommodate it, more of them may be ready to travel to the event.

Image c/o: Lasse C


FAQ About Meeting and Conference Child Care

 


As work and home life become more connected, increasing numbers of corporate employees and conference attendees are bringing their families with them to their meetings. The challenge is finding activities that will keep young children entertained and occupied while their parents are attending work meetings or forums. That’s where meeting and conference childcare comes in. It gives parents a reliable way to care for their kids during their work events so they can bring them along and enjoy the time away together. Since meeting and conference childcare is a relatively new concept, prospective clients may have a few questions about this service.

What are the benefits of providing meeting childcare for employees?

For one thing, offering conference childcare makes attending corporate events more attractive for employees. This is particularly true of single parents, who may be unable to find suitable arrangements for their children in order to go out of town for a conference. Profit-wise, offering these services can also be useful, since companies may be able to attract child-friendly sponsors for their meetings such as amusement parks and restaurants.

Does this arrangement work for small numbers of kids?

Qualified childcare agencies can accommodate any number of children, from numbers as small as 10 to large groups of 100 or more. When meeting coordinators get a final tally of the employees that will be attending the conference, they can calculate the total number of accompanying children and inform the agency ahead of time. Most corporate childcare agencies do not require a minimum number of children.

What services are included in conference childcare?

Well-staffed agencies are able to provide a wide range of services for clients. From organized field trips to popular children’s attractions in the destination city to structured learning activities and supervised free play time, experienced business childcare providers can keep children happy and content while their parents are away. Some of the provided activities may include arts and crafts projects, games, and special guest speakers. Reputable agencies also provide security services such as photo check-ins and emergency management plans. Most providers also take the step of insuring their clients and children thoroughly, keeping the host companies safe from any possible risk or liability.

Image c/o: doviende


Festive Ideas for the Kids at Your Holiday Work Party

 


Planning for a kids’ holiday party is fairly easy, but when you’re inviting kids to a work party, the ideas become more challenging. Inviting the whole family is an excellent idea, as it allows parents to spend an evening with their children and not have to worry about finding – or paying – for a sitter. And this provides ample opportunities for employees to meet other families and get to know their coworkers on a more personal level.

Finding a balance can be difficult however, as you want to keep the kids entertained and under control, while still allowing for a formal holiday party for the adults to enjoy. Fortunately, a little planning goes a long way with these simple tips and ideas for holiday work parties.

For starters, have certain areas zoned off for the kids so that they can begin playing in one area, while the adults can congregate in another. For example, set up a table with crayons and holiday coloring pages and another one with wooden peg puzzles and blocks. Depending on where the holiday party will be hosted, you can also set up a kids’ corner equipped with bean bag chairs and books.

Once the kids are comfortable and the appetizers are being served, you can offer a more structured activity such as making Christmas ornaments, gingerbread houses or face painting. To ensure the safety of the kids and the relaxation of the adults, a few babysitters will be needed, so consider hiring an onsite babysitting service such as Accent OCA. They specialize in onsite child care and holiday parties and are a fresh addition to any holiday party.

To keep the party moving along seamlessly, be sure that there are kid-friendly snacks and foods such as cold veggies with dip, cheese cubes and juice boxes. To encourage family participation, have a few games for everyone to play. Since everyone will be in nice attire and you may be limited on space, stick to basic games.

For example, try a Candy Cane Race where teams will pass four candy canes that are placed between their fingers, teammate to teammate. Whoever completes the line without dropping the candy canes wins a prize. A Holiday Memory Game is another great idea and involves placing holiday-themed gadgets in a box and showing everyone for 30 seconds. Then everyone has to write down the contents in the box as fast as they can, and whoever remembers the most wins. Holiday bingo, I Spy and Holiday 20 Questions are other fun ideas.

If you’re having a gift exchange, have a gift unwrap relay. Or encourage a book exchange instead, where each family brings a book and leaves with a different one.  With so many wonderful ideas, it has never been easier to open up this year’s holiday party to employees and their families.

Image: Lotus Head


Keeping Your Teen Busy During Business Trips

 

If you travel regularly on business, you’re probably aware that many companies are becoming more flexible with bringing the kids along. As long as you attend the trade show, meetings and other work obligations, the time spent outside of these responsibilities is your own. That is why so many travelers, moms especially, are taking their children with them on business trips. You won’t have to find a sitter or miss out on time spent with your child, and your teen can take advantage of a few small travels of her own!

If you have a teen, traveling with one is easier than a child. However, entertaining one isn’t. Just like at home, you’ll need to arrange a few structured activities that will keep your teen busy, apart from cell phones, laptops and handheld games. Most importantly, you want to make sure that your child is safe so that you can focus on your work during the day.

One of the most effective ways to keep your child busy and safe is to choose onsite child care that is often arranged by the employer. These on demand facilities such as New Orleans based Accent OCA provide convention, conference, meeting and babysitting services that are offered to working parents on business. Your teen will be kept busy and can interact with other kids his own age, plus lend a helping hand with the younger children if he chooses.

If your teen thinks she’s too old for a traditional sitter, then try a different approach. With online babysitter databases, you can find a candidate that can take your teen around the town while you work. Some cities are more family-friendly than others, with New Orleans being one of the best for kids and teens. The Audubon Zoo is 340-acres and home to swamp creatures, Bengal tigers and alligators. Or visit the Audubon Aquarium that will let your teen get up close to some the most interesting swamp critters around.

Maybe your child would rather walk around the city of New Orleans and engage in less structured activities. Once your meetings are through, take a stroll through the French Quarter, check out the head-turning Monteleone Hotel and visit the historic homes in the Garden District. If your teen is up for some spooky fun, a haunted tour may fit the bill and lead you to the above-ground tombstones and New Orleans voodoo shops.

Also remember to pack along all the things your teen loves and can do in the hotel such as an e-Reader, laptop and game console. Buy her an inexpensive digital camera as a treat and let her take pictures of the new city. Take advantage of the ethnic foods in the area by trying out a family-friendly buffet. Also look for places that offer free, live entertainment that will provide culture-oriented music to give your teen the perfect balance of learning, fun and quality time spent with the family.

Image: news.discovery.com


New Orleans Business Trip? Bring the Kids Along!

 

If you have to travel to New Orleans on business, consider bringing the kids along for the ride. While the idea may sound a bit foreign, more companies are allowing their employees to bring their children on business trips – and providing the resources to make it happen. There are many rewards to bringing the kids along on business, as parents don’t have to arrange for child care or miss out on valuable family time. And when having their children in tow, employees are better able to focus on their work, knowing that their family is right around the corner.

Not all business trips will be kid friendly, so it’s important to choose cities that are conducive to young children. New Orleans is a family-friendly city, so if you have a business trip coming up soon, start planning for the family.  Talk to your employer about arranging for family-friendly hotels and onsite child care such as Accent OCA for when you’re in meetings.

What else can you do when you bring your children to New Orleans on a business trip?

The Audubon Zoo has more than 1,300 creatures, including the Komodo dragon, Bengal tigers and rare white alligators.

The Monteleone is a stunning hotel that turns the heads of passerbys. Although a prestigious hotel, rates for kids are affordable, and little ones will love the heated rooftop pool and revolving piano bar.

Kids will take an active interest in the “cities of the dead” or above-ground tombstones; something only seen in New Orleans.

Little hands will love exploring the 30,000 square foot Louisiana Children’s Museum with a mini supermarket and rock climbing wall.

Children love riding around in the wooden electric cars through the streets of New Orleans. Rides are only $1.25, making this an affordable activity.

Other fun activities for kids include airboat tours, fishing expeditions, aquariums, swamp tours and museums. Not only can you enjoy many fun, budget-friendly activities in between meetings, but also New Orleans caters to visitors and their families, which means easier access to child care. With onsite children’s arrangements like Accent OCA, you won’t have to worry about leaving your children with a stranger. All activities provided are safe, secure and fun for kids of all ages.

With this unique approach toward out-of-town business meetings, you don’t have to sacrifice valuable time with the kids at the expense of your work. To learn more about these wonderful opportunities, work with a DMC that can help you find age-appropriate activities, restaurants and hotels that cater to children.

Image: freewebs.com


What You Need to Know About Child Care

 

Selecting a child care provider need not be confusing. Consider these 15 criteria, adapted from a list provided by ACCENT on Arrangements, Inc., a New Orleans-based company specializing in child care programs:

Recommendations: Ask the convention bureau at your meeting site to recommend local and national child care providers. Also, check your PCMA directory.

Insurance: A minimum of $1 million general liability is needed. Read your association’s policy to be sure the proposed program is not among the exclusions.

Waiver or Release: Ask your provider for a waiver or release and have your legal staff review it.

Standards: Make sure the provider in your destination state meets all day care standards, from staffing to physical requirements.

Staff-Child Ratio: Look for a favorable child:adult ratio. The National Association for the Education of Young Children proposes a child-to-staff ratio of 3:1 for infants, 4:1 for toddlers and 6:1 for children up to eight years old.

Security: Check-in and check-out procedures are very important and should be strictly enforced using signatures, proper identification, etc. A security guard is recommended.

Emergencies: Ask your provider how emergencies are handled. Use a medical authorization form for emergencies. An on-site nurse is recommended for large programs.

Staff: Ask about the provider’s requirements. Are they CPR-certified? Do they have education degrees or experience in child care centers? Do they understand children’s needs? Find out who your staff contact will be on site and how you can reach your contact during the day and after hours.

Location: The child care center should be located near emergency exits but not close to heavy traffic areas. A minimum of 35 square feet per child is recommended. Bathroom accessibility is very important. The building must have water sprinklers and an evacuation plan should be posted.

Communication: The provider should be able to reach meetings staff and/or convention services at all times. Some groups provide beepers or cellular phones to be rented by nursing moms or anxious parents.

Staff Orientation: A minimum two-hour orientation is recommended for all child care staff to outline check-in/check-out procedures, child care procedures, and familiarization with the location. The bigger the program, the more detailed the orientation.

Logistics: Think about who will handle crib rental costs, audiovisual equipment, moving of children’s supplies, meals and snacks, registration badges, etc.

Parent Orientation: Provide as much information as possible to the parents. Designate staff to answer questions or refer to child care provider with calls.

Cost: Remember that child care and children’s tours are more expensive than spouse tours. Think about how cost will be met – individual members, sponsorships, subsidies or grants.

Evaluation: Provider should help planner to establish a method of evaluation.

Consistency of service is extremely important in child care. Parents like and expect to receive the same type of service year after year.

Diane E. Lyons is president and founder of New Orleans-based ACCENT on Arrangements.

Photo c/o Santa Ana College


Benefits of Bringing the Kids on a Business Trip

 

Business travelers who bring their kids out of town with them enjoy some unique benefits. While these parents have their own struggles on work trips, they get to appreciate memorable experience and quality time with their children.

  1. Work flexibility – A key benefit of traveling on business with kids is the career flexibility it offers. Parents can arrange special programs for the kids that keep them entertained and happy, especially during long business meetings. These adjustments make it easy for parents to balance their work and family responsibilities, which helps to reduce parental anxiety.
  2. Quality time with the kids – One of the biggest perks of business travel with kids is the ability to enjoy quality time as a family. Corporate workers who spend long hours at the office may have to be away from their children regularly. Getting to spend evenings and weekends with them out of town can ease the long hours apart.
  3. Memorable family vacations – Business travelers who take trips to different locales and bring their kids along can make their time into miniature family vacations with a little planning. A weekend trip to a corporate conference can be fun for the kids with an afternoon tour of a local zoo or a swim in the hotel pool.
  4. Helps kids learn about other places and people – Often, children spend their days with the same types of people, going to the same places, and doing the same things. This routine, while normal, can breed boredom and, possibly, a narrow view of the world. When children get a chance to accompany their parents on business trips, they learn new ways of doing things, meet new people, and begin to understand a vital quality: flexibility.
  5. Kids get to see more of their parents’ responsibilities – Bringing kids along for work functions helps them see the value of the work their parents do. Seeing these experiences for themselves can help kids develop appreciation for the multiple roles their parents fill, including worker, parent, and caregiver. This may also encourage them to become more responsible, since they’ll understand how they can help their parents in their everyday duties.

Image c/o: Mollenborg


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ACCENT on Children’s Arrangements-OCA, located in New Orleans, Louisiana is full service event child care company providing a host of child care and babysitting services for meetings, conferences, conventions and other special events taking place all over the world.