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The coronavirus pandemic has changed so many things for us as parents—including health care delivery itself. What can you expect from your child's primary care visits as restrictions begin to lift?

Each community may have unique public health regulations and timing based on local risks, but here are some new things you'll probably encounter when you take your child back to the pediatrician.


1. More use of telehealth and virtual office visits

Virtual visits are adequate for non-emergency situations, especially for problems that can be diagnosed visually or by history alone. For example, virtual visits can be a good first step for simple rashes, pinkeye, vomiting, diarrhea or common colds. With severe illness, or when an exam, tests or procedures are needed, an in-person evaluation will be required.

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Many clinics are expanding to include telehealth options. If your current provider or local clinic offers this service, it's ideal to continue seeing a provider who knows you. (This will also help keep your local clinic in business, which is good for you, especially for issues that telehealth cannot address!)

If your local clinic does not offer telehealth, other nationwide platforms exist, some of which specialize in pediatric care. You can ask for a referral from your health insurance provider or ask trusted friends or online moms' groups for recommendations. Or you can search online—the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) offers thorough guidelines for what to look for in a virtual pediatric care provider.

2. Dedicated times and areas for well visits vs. sick visits

Many pediatricians' offices and clinics are dedicating certain times of the day for sick visits and other times for well-child visits. When possible, exam rooms are also being designated for either sick or well-child care.

That said, most pediatricians' offices are busy, and the flow of patients throughout the day is far from predictable. This may lead to some access issues and more waiting, especially if your child's issues are less urgent. Though it's annoying to have to wait, consider it a blessing if your child is not the one being rushed to the head of the line! And if you think your child's issues are becoming urgent, definitely speak up with the office staff.

3. Added infection control + physical distancing measures

Since the sanitizing measures in your clinic are likely stepped-up, this may diminish the number of kids that can be seen on a given day. Try to have your own kids wash their hands or use hand sanitizer prior to entering the clinic and immediately upon leaving (especially before eating or touching their faces). Try to maintain social distancing recommendations by keeping at least six feet from all individuals outside your household, except for those providing direct medical care. Siblings may be asked to stay home when possible.

4. Masks will be required

Masks will likely be required for adults and children over 2 years old. Take time to learn about how mask recommendations are different for children than they are for adults—here's how the AAP breaks down mask-wearing for kids, and how Nationwide Children's Hospital explains why babies should not wear masks.

5. Vaccine catch-up

Many children have fallen behind on the normal vaccine schedule because of postponed non-urgent appointments. The American Academy of Pediatrics has launched a #CallYourPediatrician campaign to help invite families back into the routine of regular preventative care and vaccinations. Because of the pandemic and vaccine delays, outbreaks of certain vaccine-preventable illnesses could theoretically occur if overall vaccination rates drop. Specific vaccine catch-up guidelines already exist to help your provider determine a catch-up plan for your child, so your child can get back on track.

6. Parking lot waiting rooms

As a crowd control measure, many clinics are checking in families over the phone and having them wait in their cars until it's time to be roomed. Consider bringing water, snacks and activities that will help you and your kids endure the waiting process. Do your best to regulate car temperatures, especially if you have a small infant—and do not leave kids unattended in your vehicle.

Overall, this is a time that will require flexibility and grace for us all. Though the added logistics may seem inconvenient, our tolerance will increase as we recognize the extra efforts and accommodations being made on all sides during this complex time. Parents, be kind to yourselves. The pandemic has presented the difficult task of preserving your children's health while preserving their childhoods. May you navigate wisely and well.

It's official: You have a 1-year-old. Cue all the happy tears! As you think back over the past 12 months, there were undoubtedly highs and lows. Your baby's transformation from sleepy newborn to active toddler is major. But your own transformation shouldn't be underestimated either, mama. Just think of how much you've learned and grown in just one year!

Throughout this past year, you came into your own as a mother, bonded with your baby and made memories you will cherish for a lifetime.

After one year on the job, you probably have your day-to-day routine down pat and feel confident saying "yes" to more opportunities again—whether it's new work opportunities or a skill you want to learn during those rare moments of downtime.

As you look ahead, here are a few of our favorite items for the next stage: Life with a 1-year-old:

For educational play: Fisher-Price Little People farm set

Fisher Price Farm

Little People toys from Fisher-Price are classics for good reason: They feel nostalgic and promote imaginative play. This is one collection that will get use for years and years to come.

$35.49

For those precious little feet: Surprize sneakers

Stride Rite Sneaker

As your baby starts to take their first steps, you'll want to get them used to wearing shoes. Podiatrists recommend looking for shoes that have a stiff heel, flexible toe box and rigid middle.

$32.99

For introducing close-ended play: Melissa & Doug jumbo knob puzzles

Melissa and Doug Puzzle

Puzzles are fun, but they also help teach persistence, sorting skills and more. This kind of close-ended play, where your child can get to the satisfying conclusion of a completed picture, can help with building attention.

$19.99

For open-ended play: Fat Brain toy suction cups

Fat Brain Cups

On the other side of the coin, open-ended play asks for more creativity and social interaction. When there isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, your little one will feel encouraged to use their imagination and free-thinking skills.

$14.99

For bath time splashes: Skip Hop pour and stack bath buckets

Skip Hop

Bath time doesn't have to be all about washing and cleaning. It can also be a great opportunity for sensory play, especially with some fun bath toys in the mix.

$9.79

For showing your skin some love: Honest Beauty deep hydration face cream

Honest beauty

You've probably streamlined your beauty routine in the past year due to time limitations, but one thing you shouldn't skimp on? A moment of self-care. A good face cream can improve the quality of your skin and help enhance your natural glow.

$27.99

For your busy schedule: Ubrands dry erase calendar

Dry erase board

More time in the home means more dishes, dust and dirt to clean up. Rather than nightly debates about whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher, get everyone in the family on the same page with a visible chores calendar.

$14.59

For easy style: A New Day t-shirt dress

A new Day

When you're a mama, getting dressed is all about ease and comfort. This dress is stylish, yet relaxed enough to wear around the house when you are ready to change out of yoga pants. Add a nice jacket or some fun earrings for a virtual-meeting-ready look!

$20

For those birthday pictures: Project 62 matted frame

Project 62

Baby's first birthday is a great occasion to take lots of pictures. These will definitely be frame-worthy, so display them in style with this beautiful piece.

$30

For some well-deserved rest: Threshold weighted blanket

Threshold weighted blanket

There's no way to really catch up on the sleep you lost during the past year, but you can start having sweeter dreams now with help from a weighted blanket. Seriously, people rave about these for good reason!

$69

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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How often do we see a "misbehaving" child and think to ourselves, that kid needs more discipline? How often do we look at our own misbehaving child and think the same thing?

Our society is conditioned to believe that we have to be strict and stern with our kids, or threaten, shame or punish them into behaving. This authoritarian style of parenting is characterized by high expectations and low responsiveness—a tough love approach.

But while this type of authoritarian parenting may elicit "obedient" kids in the short-term, studies suggest that children who are shamed or punished in the name of discipline face challenges in the long-term. Research suggests that children who are harshly disciplined or shamed tend to be less happy, less independent, less confident, less resilient, more aggressive and hostile, more fearful and at higher risk for substance abuse and mental health issues as adults and adolescents.

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The reason? No one ever changes from being shamed.

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