Parenting

Dr. Duck Gives Back

At Urgent Care for Kids, our goal is to care for your children like they are our own and respect your time because we know it is limited. We strive to provide quality care for you and your children when it matters most. 

Another one of our passions is community involvement. Any way, shape, or form to get involved and serve the communities where our clinics are located is always an incredible experience. We recently partnered with two organizations to serve in Austin, Texas. The organizations we partnered with were STARRY and Texas Baptist Children’s Home

STARRY

“STARRY’s goal is to be a beacon of light for children, youth, and families in the midst of crisis, no matter how big or small. STARRY’s counselors, direct care workers, and case managers guide their clients and residents toward the hope of a better tomorrow. STARRY nurtures children, strengthens families, and restores hope by providing supportive services based on Christian values for children, youth, and families.”

Each foster child is required to have a “Life Book”. This book documents small and large moments in the child’s life and they will take it with them to every home. The goal is to build a foundation of happy memories for these children and to promote healing and stability in the midst of a tumultuous time. Several of our staff members spent a morning constructing these “Life Books”. With their creative gifts and unique ideas, together they brought to life different “Life Books” that will be used by a Foster Child in need.

Click here to learn more about STARRY

 

 

Texas Baptist Children’s Home

“Texas Baptist Children’s Home embraces children and families in need in order to empower and equip them for a promising future. Children, and single mothers with their children, who come to TBCH are often lost, hurting, and hopeless, without a place to turn for help during their time of greatest need. Our residential programs provide a safe home and a stable family environment where they can learn, grow, and ultimately experience a happy, healthy future.”

Texas Baptist Children’s Home is in the backyard of our Round Rock Clinic and Urgent Care for Kids was happy to support the families there. We created a Cereal Box drive where our staff members and patients would drop off boxes of cereal for us to donate to TBCH. With summer around the corner, the growing boys and girls will be needing extra snacks! We successfully donated many boxes, and we look forward to working with them again soon!

 

Click here to learn more about Texas Baptist Children’s Home

 


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.


 

Creative Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Teacher Appreciation Week is upon us! Teacher’s are special people who deserve to be celebrated. According to PTA.org, we have been celebrating Teacher Appreciation week officially since 1984. That year, National PTA designated “one week in May as a special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children.” Teachers change the lives of millions of children every single day. Their hard work and dedication to these young minds has impacts inside and outside the classroom. It is important to take the time to show appreciation for these incredible people.

We have put together a short list of creative ideas of how to celebrate and show your gratitude to your teacher this year:

 

1 – Gift Card: With so many children to look after and so many supplies to have on hand, a gift card is a great way to show appreciation and take the edge off of a teacher. Or maybe they could use it to treat themselves to something special!

2 – Sweet Treats: You can never go wrong with a sweet treat! Ask the teacher for their favorite candy, cookie, or cupcake flavor and surprise them with a pick me up that will satisfy their sweet tooth!

3 – Framed Photo: Pictures are worth 1000 words and teachers would love a momento from their special students!

4 – Succulent: These plants create a fun atmosphere in the classroom and last a long time! Every time the teacher looks at it they will remember the sweet student that gave it to them

5 – Drink Bottle: Teaching can be tiring, they need to stay hydrated! Get a tumbler, mug, or any kind of cup with a fun design on it! You could even fill it with candy!

Big or small, even a simple “Thank You” to show your appreciation will mean a lot to these wonderful teachers! Have you ever given or received a super special gift for Teacher Appreciation? Share it with us in the comments!


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.


 

 

April Duck of the Month

Our mascot Dr. Duck and his friends love comforting our patients when they visit Urgent Care for Kids. Since Urgent Care for Kids opened, we have used ducks as a way to cheer up our patients. When a patient leaves our clinic, we want them to continue feeling better and that is where Dr. Duck comes in.

Each month, our patients vote via social media for our next “Duck of the Month.” Most recently, we have had dinosaur ducks, heart ducks, and this month we are thrilled present the Artist Ducks.

http://www.orientaltrading.com/

These cute rubber duck friends provide enjoyment, relief, and can easily put a smile on even our toughest of patients’ faces. Going to the doctor is not always fun for kids, but knowing you get one of these yellow buddies at the end of your visit really makes a difference.

Stay tuned next month to vote on our next duck of the month!

 


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.


 

RSV 101

RSV! RSV is simply short for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. It is a very, very, very common respiratory virus that infects the airways of the lungs. Typically the viral infection is more severe in the elderly and in infants. Otherwise for most people they will simply experience mild cold-like symptoms; cough, congestion, runny nose, etc.  This infection will generally occur in the late fall, winter, and early spring.

In children less than one year of age, RSV may cause bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis a fancy term for infection/inflammation of the smallest airway of the lungs. Children may show severe congestion, shortness of breath, respiratory difficulties, and/or wheezing. The symptoms are very similar to asthma. If you suspect RSV, diagnostic tests may be done at your doctor’s office and symptomatic treatment may be necessary. RSV can be very contagious and respiratory precautions are called for. People may become infected from someone’s cough, sneeze, or direct/indirect contact from their secretions. You never build a permanent immunity to the virus so always practice good hand washing and cover up those coughs!


Dr. Nguyen is a graduate of Texas Tech School of Medicine and completed his pediatric training at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. His experience includes Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, and M.D. Anderson. Dr. Nguyen rotates between our two Austin locations (Round Rock and Cedar Park), and he has received rave reviews from both our patients and their families since coming on staff. In his spare time, he enjoys jazz music and cooking.


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.

14 Ways to Say I Love You

Today on the blog, our Austin Area Marketing Director Tomi Fanning is sharing her Valentine’s Day tips!


Hi there! Tomi here. February 14th, also known as Valentine’s Day, is one of my favorite holidays because it is a special holiday where you get to spread the love to those around you! Whether it is your parents, friends, soul mate, teachers, or your cat, love is in the air. There are many ways to do this. I came up with 14 ways to say I LOVE YOU and here they are:

 

1 – Give a big bear hug: hugs make people happy! Go and hug someone you love

2 – Decorate a Valentine’s Day card: No matter what age you are, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to get crafty!

3 – Do something nice and selfless for someone: Take out the trash or put away their laundry. A little act of kindness goes a long way.

4 – Give flowers: This thoughtful gesture is a great one! By the way, my favorites are lilies!

5 – Learn “I love you” in another language: Te Amo (Spanish) , Je T’Aime (French), Ich Lieb Dich (German)! Try one!

6 – Play a song that reminds you of the other personThis is a perfect way to take a walk down memory lane with a lovely tune

7 – Write a list of all the reasons you care about someone: Showing someone the reasons you appreciate them will always be a way to their heart

8 – Decorate and frame an adorable photo of the two of you: Get the whole family involved in decorating and find a photo that captures your relationship.

9 – Leave them a secret note

10 – Create homemade coupons that the other person can redeem: Free massage, free car wash, free room cleaning… the list goes on and on!

11 – Cook them their favorite meal: They say the way to some people’s heart is through their stomach!

12 – Blow a kissSimple and straight to the point!

13 – Watch their favorite movie with themNothing better than a family snuggle session on the couch!

14 – Say “I love you”: Need I say more?!

 

These are just a few of the many ways to tell those around us how much we love them. Put a little bit of thought in and it will mean a lot to the other person. Do you have anything special planned for Valentine’s Day??


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.

Trick-or-Treating Safety

TRICK OR TREAT! Halloween can be one of the best nights of the year for children. They get to dress up, stay up later, and run from house to house asking for candy.

As much fun as this can be, trick-or-treating can be dangerous if parents and children aren’t careful or are unprepared.

Here are some tips from MSN for staying safe while trick or treating:

1. Always Trick or Treat with an Adult: If children are under 12 years old, they should not be alone at night without supervision. If they are mature enough to be alone, they should stay in familiar areas that are well lit and stick with groups.

2. Factory Sealed Snacks Only: Examine your kids’ goodies after trick or treating and make sure all of their treats are sealed properly. Throw away any candy with damaged packaging or homemade treats by strangers

3. Stick to Sidewalks: Halloween brings excitement and children may want to sprint from house to house to collect their candy. However, stick to the sidewalk to ensure safety from cars.

4. Choose Comfortable Shoes: Boots or Heels may be the fashionable choice for your child’s costume but they could lead to stumbling or sore feet. Wearing tennis shoes will make for a more enjoyable evening for all.

5. Make Yourself Visible: If your child has decided to dress in a spooky black outfit, it could be tough for cars or other trick or treaters to see them. Have your child carry a flashlight or a glowstick to light themselves up. Also you could add reflective tape to kid’s bags to make them even more visible.

Check out more Safety tips from MSN here

Urgent Care for Kids wishes you a happy and safe Halloween!

trick-or-treat-2

 


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.


 

5 Tips to Help with Homework

School is in session and that means homework is in session too. Homework can often be a pain point for parents and children. It can cause a frustrating struggle on a daily basis for families. Homework is an essential part of the learning process and important for children to take seriously.

We asked Kids Health to share their tips to encourage your child while doing homework! See below for their 5 tips to help your kiddo’s with homework:

1. Get to know the Teacher: If you know the teacher assigning the homework, you will have more of an idea of what they expect for assignments. Ask about their policies and how you as a parent can be involved.

2. Limit Distrations: Create a calm environment with the TV off, iPad away, and focus completely on their school work. Try to have good lighting and supplies needed in reach to help limit distractions.

3. Monitor and Motivate: Monitor their assignments by asking about the progress and status of each and checking the completion of them. Motivate them with encouragement and being available for questions.

4. Set a Good Example: Try to set an example of diligence and hard work by sitting and working or reading a book. Kids will succeed and try to follow in parents’ footsteps.

5. Praise Praise Praise: Hang good grades or projects on the refrigerator and mention achievements to relatives. Never stop encouraging and praising.

primrose3

Check out more Homework Tips from Kids Health here


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.


 

Get Fit Friday: Secret Smoothies

fit-friday-banner


Physical fitness is very important to overall health, even in kids. In this series, we will share tips on how to make fitness fun, creative ways toy get kids moving, steps to take to make fitness a healthy habit, and more! Lace up your sneakers and let’s get moving!

Growing up, we were all told we had to eat our vegetables. Raw, boiled, baked, or pan seared… some children are harsh critics for getting their greens. However, there is a secret way to sneak in extra greens without your children knowing: Green smoothies!

Green smoothies have many health benefits and can include any greens such as: spinach, lettuce, kale, or collard greens. They offer pure nutrition and TONS of vitamins. They are low in calories but very filling. They help with hydration and digestion. Green smoothies are the perfect way to conceal extra greens in your child’s diet.

Photo Courtesy of: Family Sponge

Photo Courtesy of: Family Sponge

Check out these 5 tips to from Whole Life Nutrition to consider when first introducing green smoothies to your kiddos:

1 – Start with MORE fruit and LESS greens: When you begin making these smoothies, you can sneak a few kale or spinach leaves without changing the color of the smoothie. Gradually you can add more greens each time.

2 – Use Creamy Fruits: Frozen bananas and avocados are great to add to smoothies. This will give it a rich and creamy feel!

3- Use a High Powered Blenders: If you can, use a high powered blender because these will thoroughly break down the greens so the smoothie is extra smooth. Chunks left by a regular blender may be less desirable by a child.

4- Serve with a Straw: In kid’s minds, straws make everything more fun and easier to drink!

5 – Use a colored or opaque cup for serving: If kids see green, they may not like it! This way they can taste the goodness with their mouths instead of being afraid to try it.

Do your kiddos enjoy greens? Have any green smoothie recipes for us? Check out more from Whole Life Nutrition here.

 

Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.

Trick-or-Treat Tips

As well as providing superior pediatric care for your little ones, Dr. Whitenton has an array of knowledge of helpful tips for your family! With school back in session, Dr. Whitenton is here to talk about children’s allergies and staying safe while trick-or-treating this year!

pumpkin-ducks

Halloween remains one of the most exciting and fun holidays for kids, but for a number of children, it can be a life-threatening challenge.  Most parents are familiar with rules at daycare and school regarding peanut butter and other allergens in children’s lunches, snacks, and treats, but a great deal of care must be taken for children at Halloween with tree nut allergies.

Imagine the disappointment of going trick or treating, collecting an orange plastic pumpkin full of treats that aren’t usually enjoyed in large quantities for the rest of the year, and examining the bounty only to find they can’t be enjoyed because of an allergy.  Many parents avoid that disappointment by avoiding participation in the holiday at all.  Having treats available to kids on Halloween that are free from common allergens such as peanuts means that all children can participate in and enjoy a fun night trick-or-treating.

One way to communicate to families that you have non-food treats available is to place a pumpkin on your front porch that’s painted teal.  It’s a universal sign to families that your treats are safe.  Some ideas for non-food treats would be vampire teeth, spider rings, stickers, pens and pencils, or glow sticks.

For a list of peanut-free treats, visit this website:  http://www.allergysf.com/safety/candy/nuts/

To learn more about the teal pumpkin project, visit:  https://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project


Dr. WhitentonDr. Kristi Whitenton is a graduate of the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, followed by general pediatrics residency at the University of  Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.  After two years of additional training in pediatric critical care, she became a medical director for Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care in San Antonio.  In August 2014, she joined Urgent Care for Kids as the medical director for the Austin area.  She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and has a son attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas.  In her spare time, she enjoys running, baking, and supporting the visual and performing arts.


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.

Fall Craft Fun

The air is starting to crisp, the colors are starting to change, and the leaves are starting to fall. Autumn is approaching quickly! What better way to celebrate the seasons changing than with a fall craft?!

Check out this EASY and fun craft perfect for all ages from Arty Craft Kids:


Materials Needed:

-A sheet of white paper
-Paint (preferably: brown, orange, yellow, green, and red
-Q-tips


Step 1: Trace your child’s hand and arm with a pencil on the white sheet of paper

Step 2: Allow your child to paint the arm and hand brown. This will be our tree trunk!

Arty Crafty Kids

Arty Crafty Kids

Step 3: Dip the end of a Q-Tip into each of the colors and make dots (leaves) on the tree.

Arty Crafty Kids

Arty Crafty Kids

Step 4: Build onto the dots with varying colors and sizes and patterns.

Arty Crafty Kids

Arty Crafty Kids

For more fun craft ideas from Arty Crafty Kids click here! Happy Crafting!


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.


 

Kids in the Kitchen: A Healthy Twist on a Family Favorite

After a long day at school, cooking dinner with your children can be a great way to wind-down and spend quality time with them. Cooking is a wonderful skill to learn early on, and teaching healthy habits can go hand-in-hand with that. This week in our “Kids in the Kitchen” series, we want to share a healthy twist on a family favorite: Spaghetti. For a healthy twist, you can use spaghetti squash instead of pasta!

Photo courtesy of: http://paleogrubs.com/

Photo courtesy of: http://paleogrubs.com/

For this recipe, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash (cut in half by an adult)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 24oz Jar of Marinara
  • Ground Turkey

Step 1.

First, you’ll slice the spaghetti sqaush lengthwise. Have your little one’s scoop out the seeds and throw them away. Place the two halves of spaghetti squash on a baking sheet. Help your kids drizzle olive oil over the “spaghetti “and then turn each piece upside down so that the outer shell faces upwards.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 400 degrees.

Step 2.

In large skillet, add olive oil and bring to medium heat. Add ground turkey and brown the meat. Next, combine the marinara sauce with the ground turkey and turn the heat on low.

Step 3.

Remove the cooked spaghetti squash from the oven and turn each half over. Let your child use a fork to scrape the spaghetti from the shell. As they run the fork through the spaghetti squash it will begin to form thin spaghetti-like pieces!

Step 4.

Scoop the spaghetti squash out on to plates, and pour the sauce over each serving. Lastly, and most importantly, enjoy a healthy dinner with your kids!


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.


 

Get Fit Friday: Sugar Swap

fit-friday-banner



Physical fitness is very important to overall health, even in kids. In this series, we will share tips on how to make fitness fun, creative ways to get kids moving, steps to take to make fitness a healthy habit, and more! Lace up your sneakers and let’s get moving!


Reducing your sugar intake is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health. Sugar addiction is real and we have become so accustomed to the added sugars in our diet that we do not always taste what we are eating.

Photo Credit: www.claudiazapata.com

Photo Credit: www.claudiazapata.com

Here are 5 EASY tips on how you reduce daily sugar intake:

1. Swap sparkling water for soda.

If you are addicted to soda, try any kind of sparkling water. The bubbles and sweetness will quench that craving and cut your sugar intake by a lot.

2. Swap spaghetti squash or zoodles for pasta.

Simple carb foods are those that your body breaks down quickly and easily, such as sweeteners  and refined grains. These are the carbs that cause spikes in blood sugar. Cutting out starchy pasta is a great way to save calories. Replace them with spaghetti squash or use a spiralizer on a zucchini and make homemade zoodles.

3. Swap unsweetened coconut, almond, or cashew milk for cows milk.

When you are a baby, you are given milk to grow. When you are a full grown adult, the cons of cows milk can outweigh the pros. Give coconut, almond, or cashew milk a try and it will improve many things, including digestion.

4. Swap an apple or cherries for candy.

Try a crunchy, sweet fruit substitute for that sugar coated candy. If you have a sweet tooth, this will suppress that craving.

5. Swap lettuce for a hamburger bun.

Bread can contain added sugars, empty calories, and other unrecognizable ingredients. Cut back on bread and add in vegetables! Try to wrap your sandwich or burger in lettuce.

These small changes could potentially have a significant difference on your overall health. If you have a yummy low-sugar recipe, share it with us on social media with the hashtag #UrgentCareforKids!


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.


 

Ready, Set, Read!

As well as providing superior pediatric care for your little ones, Dr. Whitenton has an array of knowledge of helpful tips for your family! With school back in session, Dr. Whitenton is here to talk about encouraging healthy reading habits, even before children enter their school years!

Back to school means back to books, but reading skills start much earlier than school.  Reading aloud to kids lays groundwork that is important for future success in school and beyond.  It creates an environment that explains the structure of language in both written and verbal form, and it enhances bonding between child and parent.  Problems with reading often equate to poor performance in school, which may be a struggle for years.  A strong foundation in language, communication, and logical thinking skills will help support early childhood education to ensure a smooth transition into the school years.  Toddlers and pre-schoolers who view books as a treat are more likely to choose reading over television and video games as they grow into students.  Recent studies have actually demonstrated important changes in the brains of children who are exposed to literacy activities in the home.  Parents are the biggest influences in kids’ lives and can truly make a significant investment in adult success by creating a home environment in which literacy can flourish.


Dr. Whitenton

Dr. Kristi Whitenton is a graduate of the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, followed by general pediatrics residency at the University of  Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.  After two years of additional training in pediatric critical care, she became a medical director for Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care in San Antonio.  In August 2014, she joined Urgent Care for Kids as the medical director for the Austin area.  She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and has a son attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas.  In her spare time, she enjoys running, baking, and supporting the visual and performing arts.


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.

Get Fit Friday: Trotting with Tots

fit-friday-banner


Physical fitness is very important to overall health, even in kids. In this series, we will share tips on how to make fitness fun, creative ways to get kids moving, steps to take to make fitness a healthy habit, and more! Lace up your sneakers and let’s get moving!


Trotting with Tots is a group of exercise-friendly, hardworking mama’s who meet on a weekly basis and go on various runs across Austin, with their strollers in tow. When it comes to everyday fitness and where to begin, we went to Loren McEllin, the founder of Trotting with Tots to answer all of our questions!

trotting with tots

What made you want to start Trotting with Tots?

When we first moved to Austin in the early Spring of 2014, we didn’t really know anyone. Sure, my husband had his co-workers, but they were mainly single and/or without kiddos.  In addition, we really wanted to be able to socialize our son, who was 19 months old at the time, without having to pay a huge chunk of money for daycare—especially since I was planning on being a stay at home mom for awhile.  So after some brainstorming, and some stroller-toting runs (because how else was I to exercise during the day?), Trotting with Tots was born.  May 2014 was our first meet-up at Town Lake along Lady Bird Trail, and we had a very good turnout. Over half of the members who participated that day are still very active members of the group today!

When you’re having a tough day on which you don’t feel like a workout, what inspires you to go out there and do it?

We all have our tough days, especially when our minions are not cooperating or when we have recently added a new member to the family (i.e. a newborn), but there is nothing better than the way you feel after a workout with the group.  My little ones also help inspire me by looking forward to our runs.  They know they will have the opportunity to see their friends and play if they cooperate while mommy has her ‘me time’ (better described as the time when Mommy is running and endorphins are kicking in!).  It’s certainly nice knowing you can meet with friends that have similar interests, get in a good workout (or therapy session), see your children smiling and laughing with the friends they’ve made, all while they’re expensing energy, playing outside and getting prepped for a good nap.

What are some of your favorite exercises that you don’t have to go to a gym for?

Running in the great outdoors.  This beautiful city is made for outside fun!  There are so many parks, trails, splash pads, swimming pools, etc. that residents are able to take advantage of, so why wouldn’t we?  We meet all over Austin, up to 5 times a week—from Georgetown to Buda—and we experience it all on foot.  It’s amazing what you don’t notice in a car that you truly cherish when you see it up close.

It’s also wonderful being able to exercise with the kids, and teach them about the importance of staying healthy.  By running with them, we are setting a very good example.  My oldest kiddo often will chant from the stroller when he sees a big hill coming, ‘Come on Mommy, you can do it!’  Melts my heart and helps me get up that hill even on the toughest of days.

What advice would you give to a busy mom who cares about her health just starting out on her fitness journey?

We have ALL been there!  I know sometimes groups of Moms, such as Trotting with Tots, can feel overwhelming for so many reasons—friendships have already been made, people are running further and faster than me, I don’t want my kids to embarrass me, etc.  Again, we have ALL been there.  I think I have, hands down, one of the most embarrassing stories that a Mom could have while exercising with her kiddos, and if you ever want to know so that you feel better about making a start, I’d be more than happy to share!  Yes, friendships have been made in the group, but we have plenty room for more.  We are not a clique, we do not talk poorly about one another, we do not judge. We support one another, our children and our partners.  This group has been a life-changer for me, and I hear the same from other members.  Its our shrink, our second set of ears and eyes, our vice, our sanctuary— it is whatever you need it to be.  Start slow, just meet for play times at first if need be, get to know us and I promise you’ll be addicted.

Want to learn more or join in on the fun?  Here’s the link to our website:

http://www.trottingwithtots.com

Loren

Loren is the founder and leader of Trotting with Tots. She logs dozens of miles every week, with two kids in tow. She makes sure the group runs are spread out from Pflugerville to Buda so all members have a chance to trot on their home turf. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family, designing custom sheets and shirts, cooking meals for people in need, and photography.

 

 

 


Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.

Helping Your Child to Succeed in School

Today, we have a guest post by Lisa Moss, an experienced educator. She is sharing her tips from a teacher’s perspective on things parents can do at home to help their children achieve their highest potential at school. 

school success blog graphic

Once again it is time for your child to go back to school.  Whether your child is an academic genius, star athlete, musical prodigy, or just a normal, everyday kid, you want them to have a successful school experience. Here are some suggestions for helping your child have a productive year at school:

1. Establish Routines and Expectations

Making sure to establish routines and expectations for getting ready for school, homework, and bedtime will enable things to run more smoothly and get done efficiently.  Encourage your child to get homework done as soon as possible when they get home after a quick snack and break.  This way they will be free to do whatever else is needed in the evening and get to bed at their designated time.  Homework for younger kids (ages K-2nd grade) should take no longer than 10-15 minutes each night.  If it takes longer, allow them to have a short break and come back to it to allow for short attention spans.

2. Talk About It

Take time to discuss the day’s events with your child at some point during the afternoon/evening.  Listen to your child’s concerns and discuss ways of problem-solving issues that come up. Many families use dinner as a sharing time for the day.

3. Read Together

At bedtime, take time to read to your child. As you read to your child, take the opportunity to discuss characters, events, and problems in the story and ask them to make predictions about the story or possible outcomes for problems in the story or what would happen if the story had ended differently.  Discuss unknown words in the story to develop their vocabulary.  Reading before bedtime serves to calm your child for restful sleep, provides vicarious experiences, and helps to develop thinking skills necessary for continued learning in and out of the classroom.  Many children want their parents to continue to read to them as late as 5th or 6th grade.  If older children want to discontinue the practice of you reading to them, they may want to read to themselves before bedtime.  Have children put away technological devices such as cell phones, video games, or limit computer use at least 45 minutes to an hour before bedtime, as these have been known to overstimulate children and cause them to have trouble falling asleep.

4. Be Involved

Being visible at your child’s school will help your child and  school personnel to know that education is important to you.   Attending school parties, book fairs, and parent conferences will cause you to develop a relationship with those involved in your child’s education.  Getting help for your child in areas of academic difficulty before they start to struggle significantly is crucial.  Teachers are more than willing to assist with learning problems that arise and should be willing to find out where to get help if they do not know.  If you suspect your child is struggling with a concept at school, contact the teacher as soon as possible in order to obtain strategies for support.

5. Celebrate Your Child’s Strengths

It is imperative to celebrate your child’s strengths and help them overcome and cope with their weaknesses.  Genuinely praising their efforts and successes goes a long way in helping them see their uniqueness and importance.  If your child struggles with school, get them help and support for those areas. Encourage them to be involved in an extracurricular activity where they can be successful.  Dance lessons, gymnastics, being on a sports team, taking music lessons or learning karate are valuable activities to teach children self-confidence, perseverance, getting along with others, and teamwork.

If you establish routines and expectations, listen to your child and support them, and are involved in school activities, you will go a long way in assisting your child to feel successful, loved, and special.  Hopefully this will cause them to have a wonderful school experience!

About the Author:

Lisa Moss is a Dyslexia Interventionist at Chapel Hill ISD in Tyler, Texas. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from East Texas Baptist University, and a Master’s of Education from Stephen F Austin State University. She has taught elementary students for 22 years. Lisa has been married for 27 years and has two adult daughters. She enjoys cooking, being with her family, and traveling.

Urgent Care for Kids is the largest pediatric urgent care chain in Texas, serving families in the greater Austin, DFW, and Houston areas. Our goal is to provide every patient with the highest quality medical care and superior customer service at a time and location that is convenient to working parents. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and all Texas Medicaid and CHIP plans in order to best serve our patients and their families. To learn more about our locations, hours, and services we provide, please visit our website.