I’m excited to partner with LiveHeath Online for this post to ease the back-to-school transition for busy parents. If you or your family has an urgent-care type of medical concern as you get back in the swing of things this school year, LiveHealth Online is a wonderful new app that allows you to talk to directly to a doctor 24/7 via two-way video chat and remotely get a diagnosis and treatment.
While I’m not big on preparing for back-to-school season in the traditional sense—buying clothes and supplies, or doing school-inspired work—I do believe there are a number of things we as moms can do to make life easier for everyone involved come day one. Especially if you have highly sensitive kids (ehem).
This year, Pink will return to preschool—not kindergarten (no matter what she thinks and announces to everyone she meets). Little? He actually is starting kindergarten. Talk about a loaded year—for him and me, of course. He’s been talking through his nerves recently: “I already went to school every day last year, so this year will be totally easy. Like, totally easy.” (Yep, and having the middle school vernacular under his belt already will surely help him score some new friends, too. Right? Totally.) Big’s heading into 3rd grade. (I might have just taken a full dose of antacids in order to write that sentence.) His schedule means he’s one of the big kids now. His swagger means he knows it.
So what I’m trying to say is that, pretty much any stage of new school year you’re in, I’m in it too. (Unless it’s middle school, high school, or college. Frankly, the antacid companies are going to have to work a lot harder to cure me come those years.) And having been through this whole thing a few times now, I’ve learned that stressing about the details of what’s in a backpack isn’t what makes back-to-school season a win. Here are some of my tried-and-true steps to a smooth transition:
#1: Practice on the Playground
While teachers usually tell kids where to sit and what to do in the classroom, the playground is where nervous kids tend to get lost. (I know, I just went to a blogging conference, which is pretty much the adult equivalent.) Spend a morning exploring or getting (re)acquainted with the play structures, sports fields, or sandbox. Better yet, reach out to some friends whose kids will be on the playground at the same time, and invite them to come meet you and your little one for a popsicle. Even if the kids don’t interact, there will be more familiar faces when the first bell rings.
#2: No-Fuss Outfits
When Big started kindergarten, the principal sent a message the night before school with the best pieces of advice I think I’ve ever gotten about the first day. She said don’t pick out a “perfect” outfit that will have your kid fussing, fidgeting, and uncomfortable. Let them wear clothes that they feel good in. If you have kids like mine, that means no buttons—on the waistband or collar—and quite possibly every color of the rainbow. While these choices may not make for the prettiest pictures to post on Facebook, they’ll empower your child to express himself and feel physically comfortable on a day that may not be so emotionally comfortable.
#3: Think Through Your Morning Routine
Start thinking ahead about what your mornings will entail and allow the proper amount of time (and budget some extra!) so that you’re not rushing. Nothing increases anxiety in our house like racing against the clock. While we don’t love it, we know that Big takes a long time to get going in the morning (even though he’s almost always the first one awake). That means planning plenty of time for a cartoon, breakfast, and even the miraculously not-so-simple putting on of the clothes we set out the night before. While some kids can run straight from bed to the bus with a piece of toast in hand, our kids aren’t among them. Knowing which kind of child yours is will make for a smoother transition.
#4: Make Eating Easy
Every new school year, my kids’ lunchboxes come home practically full. When kids are adjusting, they get caught up in the socializing of lunch recess and forget that they have a limited amount of time to eat. I recommend starting the year by sending easy-to-eat high-nutrient foods in easy-to-open containers. For instance, cut mini carrots lengthwise in quarters to make them more easily consumable, or pack bell pepper slices instead. Consider quartering sandwiches so they’re easy to grab a bit at a time. And if you’re at a loss for what foods to pack at all, try this awesome game one of my brilliant readers came up with as an end-of-summer activity.
#5: Have a Sick-Day Plan
The beginning of the school year means all kinds of new germs and icks are coming home with your kids. Last year Pink had a runny nose for about 2 (ok, 6) months straight. Yay, preschool! And, if you’ll recall, one of those colds wreaked havoc on our house (and the elementary school parking lot) when it quite obviously turned into a horrible ear infection. Yeah, I didn’t have a plan. And it wasn’t pretty. Before things get hectic, figure out the best way to contact your doctor or advice nurse. Also, know that there are alternatives, like LiveHealth Online.
I had the pleasure of meeting with the LiveHealth Online team at a blogger event recently and I was honestly and truly thrilled to learn about their app. I got the chance to speak with Dr. Mia Finkelston, a LiveHealth Online doctor. This summer I’ve been going in circles trying to figure out the best way to solve Big’s horrible allergies, and equally horrible reactions to the medications that are finally helping him. Dr. Finkelston heard my concerns, gave me some ideas, heard my reaction to those ideas, came up with more varied ideas, and really gave me hope that there were many things we could try before heading to a specialist. The live interaction, versus calls back and forth to our pediatrician’s advice nurse (how do I always miss the call backs that go to voicemail requiring yet another call back?!), was extremely empowering and helpful. I can’t help but think that LiveHealth Online would have saved me from dragging Pink around that day she was so sick. I’m confident their doctors could have diagnosed her ear infection via video chat and called in a prescription to my local pharmacy. Just like that.
And I’m thrilled that I can help you get prepared on this front. Just download the app and use the code USINGOURWORDS to get one free trial of the LiveHealth Online app between now and December 31, 2014 (a $49 value). I highly recommend getting it set up now so that it’s ready to go that day you think you just can’t manage getting your little one off to the doctor…again. I think that, like me, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised with this option.
The LiveHeath Online app offers a safe, fast and easy way for moms to talk face-to-face with a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment for themselves and their families for urgent care conditions that pop up every school year (think flu, colds and coughs, infections, pinkeye, etc.)
Parents can use the LiveHealth Online app 24/7, 365 days to talk securely and privately by two-way video chat with a U.S.-based, primary care doctor. If needed, the LiveHealth Online doctor can call in prescriptions directly to a local pharmacy.
Registering for LiveHealth Online is fast and easy—just download the app from iTunes or Google Play store and sign up in one quick step. Or, you can visit http://www.livehealthonline.com/moms and register. LiveHealth Online is a cost-effective alternative to urgent care or retail clinics and costs $49 for an urgent care visit (and is actually covered under some Anthem Blue Cross plans). But don’t forget to use the code USINGOURWORDS for one free trial before December 31, 2014.
What about you? What are your back-to-school musts in order to ease the transition for your family?
Disclosure: I was compensated to partner with LiveHealth Online and write this post, but all opinions and tips are my own.