It’s that bittersweet time again: back to school. The lazy days of summer fun and family vacays are over, but your little ones are growing up—a grade higher than last year or starting school for the first time this year. Here are a few tips to help keep children happy, safe, and healthy:

  • Create an ICE entry: If your child has a cell phone without a designated place to enter emergency contact information, create a phone directory entry titled “ICE,” which stands for “In Case of Emergency.” Include contact information for yourself, your spouse or partner, and anyone who is authorized to pick up your child from school. You may want to match the names to driver’s licenses because schools commonly use them for ID. If your child doesn’t have a cell phone, write or print this information on brightly colored paper, seal it in a sandwich bag, and staple it inside the child’s backpack.
  • Corral your chargers: Do the electronic device chargers in your house grow legs and scramble away when you’re not looking? Try conquering the charger crisis with an all-in-one charging station. Some can handle a cell phone, set of ear buds, and a watch at the same time; each member of the family can have one. (Oh, and keep a couple sets of charging cables and portable chargers in your glove compartment for when kids climb in the car after school with dead phones.)
  • Nix the boring lunch: Children love to eat fun treats! Use cookie cutters to stamp sandwich bread into interesting shapes. For a kooky surprise, add a few drops of food coloring into mustard, ketchup, or even a cup of applesauce! When you make lunches this way, your kids might even pitch in and help!
  • Start a yearlong thankfulness journal: Sometimes other kids can make school tough. At the end of each day, ask your children to take a minute and jot down or draw one good thing that happened to them that day to help them focus on positive experiences. To make the journal, get a packet of construction paper and make holes in one margin with a hand-held hole punch, and tie the sheets into books using shoestrings. Each child can have a separate book, or let them all write in one journal so that they can support and learn from each other.
  • Stock your own Dr. Mom and Nurse Dad first-aid kit: When children get sniffles and coughs, you don’t want to have to hunt all over the house for aspirin and nasal sprays. Get a uniquely patterned lockable case or box and use it to store over-the-counter standards such as pain relievers, decongestants, cough suppressants, antihistamines, sore throat lozenges, and antidiarrheal tablets. Write expiration dates prominently on each product package and replace the products as needed. If you don’t have one already, get a smart thermometer that stores data for multiple family members. (Fun tip: The Kinsa® thermometer syncs to Teladoc’s app!)
  • Issue an out-the-door challenge: On those mornings when nooooo one wants to get moving (including you), motivate everyone by blasting a special music playlist made with a sample from each family member’s favorite song (make the entire playlist about 15-30 minutes long). The challenge begins when the music does. The first person to be fully dressed, fed, and ready to go before the music ends wins a special treat or privilege! If you have this trouble every day (even Saturdays and Sundays), the winner can be determined at the end of the week.
  • Download Teladoc’s award-winning app: We’re your new house call! Be sure to add eligible family members so that everyone has 24/7 access to board-certified physicians whether they’re at home or away on a school outing. We’re also available by web and phone to help you save the wait in a doctor’s office or a trip to urgent care. With Teladoc you can get fast, quality care for common school-time ailments such as seasonal allergies, sinus infections, lice, rashes, sprains, and more!

Speaking of winning awards, here’s hoping your household scores a best-in-show science fair project, but that no goldfish get brought home as pets—unless you want them! Have a great year!

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