Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care Center

203-urgentcareDid you know that more than 100 million Americans go to the emergency room every year? Maybe you’ve been there even recently with a sick or injured child and can relate to this information firsthand. While most of us visit the ER only for true emergencies, others use the ER for conditions which may be better resolved by a local urgent care walk-in center. Common visits to the ER include stomach and abdominal pain, step throat, seasonal allergies, flu, fever, headache, and back pain. All of which are easily treated at an urgent care center and for a time and cost significantly less than the ER. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of saving time and money!

A visit to the emergency room can cost up to five times more than a visit to an urgent-care center. Emergency-room treatment for non-emergency medical conditions is a major contributor to the rising cost of health care. It also ties up ER staff members, who spend valuable time treating non-critical cases, such as skin rashes and ear infections, rather than treating life-threatening conditions.

Want the numbers? The average wait time at the ER is 55 minutes versus 12 minutes for walk-in center. The average copay for ER is $125 versus $25 for a walk-in center.

Urgent care centers are popping up all over the United States, giving you lots of options, such as 203-Urgent Care, in the Connecticut area.

Have you saved time and money by visiting an urgent care center near you? Tell us about your experience. Your experience could be helpful to other parents!

Real Life Solutions with Dr. Linda Mintle

Q: My husband is very anxious about the birth of our second child. He is feeling the economic pressure of our expanding family and worries about everything. He is making me anxious because of his state of distress. What can I tell him to calm him down? I know God will provide if we are faithful.

A: You are so right. God is faithful and promises to provide for our needs. Maybe this study published in Pediatrics will help him realize he needs to trust and let go of worry. The study included 32,000 children and found that the psychological distress of Dad during pregnancy did impact child development. Specifically, fathers were given a screening questionnaire regarding their mental health status during their partner’s pregnancy. Later, mothers were asked to also fill out questionnaires regarding their child’s development. Controlling for a number of variables, a link was found between the fathers’ mental health and their children’s later developmental problems. Dads who scored high on anxiety and distress when the mom was 17 to 18 weeks pregnant had children who were more disruptive and anxious at age 3! We don’t know exactly why this is, but maybe the mental health of the father later impacts his parenting, or maybe his mental health impacts the mother’s mental health, or maybe there is a genetic link. The point here is that the mental health of the dad, not just the mother, impacts the developing child. So let your husband know that his anxiety and distress could be affecting your child. It is time to trust God to meet your needs and let go of worry. Your new baby is too important and you want to give him or her the best start possible.

Dr. Linda Mintle is a licensed therapist and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics. She is a national speaker and bestselling author with 18 book titles currently published. Visit her website at drlindahelps.com.

Keep on Swinging by Ellen Stumbo

Photo: Generationbass.com

Photo: Generationbass.com

When my husband was a little boy, he boxed his dad on the living room floor. His siblings and mom gathered around and watched as the skinny little boy with the red boxing gloves took on “El Luchador.” My father-in-law stood tall on his knees, and with exaggerated moves, he ducked the punches or swung back like an inflatable punching bag.

After swinging those punches hard, my husband would stand there, panting, red boxing gloves resting at the sides of his body. Then, when my father-in-law least expected it, Andy would start swinging the punches again, eventually conquering “El Luchador.”

On our wedding day, as my father-in-law performed our ceremony, he told us about the little boy who wouldn’t give up and kept on swinging, and he said, “Many things will come into your marriage and try to tear you apart, but don’t give up. Just keep swinging, never at each other, but at whatever is trying to bring you down.”

And I’ve never forgotten that analogy.

Recently, we’ve been battling mental health issues with my middle daughter, who we adopted from Ukraine four years ago. She has cerebral palsy, and she is getting to an age where she is aware of her disability, and she doesn’t like it. But more than her obvious disability, the damage, pain, and hurt that she endured the first four years of her life living in an orphanage have really started to show in the way of behaviors, fears, anxiety, depression. She has attachment issues, and she has post traumatic stress. Parenting her  is the hardest and most challenging thing I’ve ever had to do.

The truth is, often times I don’t know what to do, except for one thing: to keep swinging. In the safety of our marriage, our children can find peace and comfort, so we swing at the challenges that threaten to crush our daughter, and we keep swinging. Because she’s worth it, and because that’s what parents do, we keep swinging on behalf of our kids.

Ellen Stumbo Head ShotEllen Stumbo is a writer and speaker. She is the mother of three daughters: Ellie; Nichole, who has Down syndrome; and Nina, who was adopted and also has special needs. She is wife to Andy, a pastor. Visit her at ellenstumbo.com.

Giveaway: The Jesus Film

Have you ever seen, The Jesus Film? Billions of people all over the world have! Did you know that it’s the most-watched film in history and has been translated into 1,197 different languages? Check out this trailer!

Maybe you’ve thought about watching the movie as a family, but you were afraid it would be too graphic for your kids. Great news! The movie shares a biblical version of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection in a kid-friendly way, suitable for all ages. It shows an accurate portrayal of Christ’s death, but in a way that is appropriate for a younger audience, which the film’s G rating reflects.

In honor of the movie’s 35th anniversary, it has been remastered in high definition with a new musical score and is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 1st  (that’s tomorrow)!

We actually have three copies of The Jesus Film to give away! Use the form below to enter for your chance to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Using Photos to Teach Feelings by Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Cameras and coffee

Research has demonstrated the wonderful effect that real photographs can have on a child’s ability to learn. Children with autism are often drawn to real images: the colors, vibrant imagery, the facial expressions, and more.

While running various workshops at Bookmans Bookstore, the YMCA, MOPS groups, and mom groups, it became clear to me that many parents are unaware of how effective photos can be. A simple project can lead to activities that enhance understanding, empathy, learning, and the retaining of information.

Tell a story:
Take photos of your child helping someone else: a person or animal. Print the photos in color and put them in order (up to about 10 images). Laminate each one or cover in contact paper. String the images together, in order, to create a visual story. Look at the photos together and talk about what happened. Who did your child help? How was he/she affected? How did your child feel, knowing that someone was being helped through their actions?

Take photos of your child going through the steps of getting ready for the day. You could also take photos of a swim lesson or grocery shopping experience. What do you do first? Second? Third? Next? Last? Laminate the photos and string them together or place them on a flip ring. Talk about the steps with your child to help with sequencing. This will assist in reducing the stress of daily “have to’s” and errands — something that many children with special needs become frustrated by.

Colors or Feelings:
Take photos of your child wearing blue, green, red, orange, yellow, white, etc. Laminate the images and turn them into a game. “What color are you wearing here?” “Red, yes!” You can also write the color names on the back of each photo, prior to laminating them. When you say, “Red, yes!” flip the photo around so your child can see the word on back and associate that word with the color. Do the same thing for “feelings” images: sad, happy, frustrated, excited, joyful, lonely, and so on. This will help to build empathy in your child.

shara.jpgShara Lawrence-Weiss is the Owner/Founder of Personal Child Stories. Shara is a mother of three with a background in education, early childhood, journalism, freelance, nanny work, and special needs.

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Originally posted on ParentLife on June 16, 2011.

Sick Kids and Self Doubt by Jessie Weaver

When Libbie was about a year old, I was living with her by myself in our condo in Nashville. My husband was in Chattanooga during the workweek, and I was waiting on our condo to sell. (Ha. That’s been a year and a half. Still own it.)

Libbie was playing around our kitchen island, and I picked her up. And knocked her forehead into the edge of the island.

Libbie wailed. I wailed. I felt like the Worst Mother of the Year award was right there for my taking. And I called my pediatrician’s office, who called my doctor, and then my doctor called me. Just so I could find out, really, it wasn’t that big of a deal. As long as she had a bump, it was OK.


This weekend I’ve been attending to a baby with a mid-grade fever … not quite high enough to panic, not quite low enough to feel at ease with. I find myself in the same battle I always face: should I call the doctor? Is it a big deal? Sure, I’m supposed to trust my mother’s intuition … but I think it’s a little clouded by the worry a mother has for her sick babies.

The self-doubt is my least favorite part of parenting.

It makes me even more glad that my husband and I are not in it alone. Not only do we have friends, family, a church that loves us, Dr. Google, and Twitter, MD—we have a Heavenly Father who cares for us and our kids.

“In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

For some reason, it’s struck me as beautiful lately how God and Jesus are Father and Husband—the two things Jesus was not literally on this earth. God, as Trinity, fulfills every role to us. He is beyond measure.

Because of this, I can muster up some confidence. And if I fall flat on my face as a parent, or go to the doctor when it’s just the sniffles … well, both God and the pediatrician will forgive.

originally published june 2011

When Jessie Weaver is not busy being the resident ParentLife Blogger, she writes at Vanderbilt Wife and also for magazines like HomeLife and ParentLife. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband, where they run after three kids under 5.

Daylight Savings Torture … I Mean, Time

With the “delightful” Spring forward happening this weekend, I thought this post was worth re-sharing and seeing if anyone has any tips!

I’ve certainly heard it and thought it a million times: “Time changes were created by someone who doesn’t have children.”


Trying to get children adjusted to a suddenly adjusted schedule can be daunting at best and torturous at worst. No one wants to go to bed when it’s light outside. Hopes of a later bedtime meaning a later wake-up are often crushed by disoriented toddlers.

Here are some tips on getting your children adjusted to the time change:

  • Don’t skip naps in hopes of having your child go to sleep earlier. Overtired children often resist sleep.
  • If your child is old enough to understand, explain the time change and why it began. Not only will this help them understand why it is light outside at 8 p.m., it makes a great history lesson at home!
  • Don’t be too stringent about bedtime the first week after the time change. Let kids go to sleep 30-45 minutes later than normal and edge back toward their regular bedtime. Keep their routine the same, though, because those steps can communicate “bedtime” more than outside conditions.
  • My friend Kat suggests having your child use a sleeping mask as young as age 4. This helps block out sunlight and allows them to get to sleep despite light coming in the windows. She said it really did the trick for her daughter!

Also interesting is that exercise helps your body produce seratonin, which aids in resetting your internal clock. So if you are having difficulty adjusting yourself, a good workout might be the remedy!

Do you have any tried-and-true tips for maintaining sanity during the time change?

Sources: Fox Birmingham, “Make Little Changes to Help Kids with Daylight Savings”
The Examiner, “Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time”

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Teaching Kids Love

You can ask the adult Sunday School class that I co-teach. Lots of times we dive into the topic for the day, hit lots of key questions, then I pop the question at the end of the lesson: “How do we make this real for our kids?” That’s the kicker! Sometimes we learn things on one level as a student but having to teach a concept to someone else is a different story. One of those questions is, “How can I teach my kids about love?”

I think the answer starts with showing our kids a glimpse of what unconditional love is like. I say a glimpse purposefully because I get a bit squeamish when I think of all my imperfections. I may intend to show my kids love but by the end of the day I hear them saying, “Dad, why are you so grumpy?” It is difficult not to feel like a failure in that regard.

No matter the mistakes we make, thankfully, we all have a Heavenly Father who loves us in such a remarkable way. He sent His own Son to die for us! That is true love. Communicating God’s love to your child is the best possible thing you can do as a parent! Take time this month of love to communicate how much you and God love your child!

A Quantum Leap: From Preteen to Student by GG Mathis

First day of sixth grade


Depending on the age-grouping plan at your church, your preteen may be on the brink of an astronomical jump from a self-contained children’s area to the “great big black hole”  of the youth/student area. If the thought of throwing your tiny sixth grader into a middle school department with eighth graders the size of Jupiter makes you queasy, know you aren’t alone! 

Here is a handful of hints to help launch your preteen successfully into your church’s youth/student ministry: 
Be familiar. Well before transition time, get acquainted with your student pastor. Check your church calendar for upcoming youth events, especially those engineered for middle school or junior high. Find out who will be teaching your preteen, introduce yourself, and don’t be embarrassed to ask what happens on a typical Sunday. (Familiarity with upcoming events will help you set boundaries for activities, such as no-sleep lock-ins, that your preteen may not be physically ready for.) 
Be positive. Once you know what’s happening “up on the youth floor,” talk it up to your preteen. Preview upcoming activities with a “Hey! Guess what you get to do!” point of view. Make a special effort to include your preteen and your family in the first get-acquainted fellowships of the year. 
Be available. Volunteer to assist at events, bring goodies, or—they’ll love you for this one—teach a Bible study class! Your student leaders will love you for it. Even if you aren’t teaching your preteen’s grade or group, your participation and availability can help him feel a little less alien when surrounded by older students.  
Be in prayer. Your preteen is in for a wild ride over the next few years. Physical, spiritual, and emotional challenges will assault her at astronomical speed. Your church’s student ministry can be a docking station for her to connect with Christian peers, caring adults, and her loving Heavenly Father. Pray for the student ministry staff and volunteers who will serve as “mission control.”


GG Mathis loves her family, writing, kids (especially preteens), and tea! She is a mom and wife in Joplin, Missouri, when her family endured the deadly tornado that wrecked their town in 2011.


LifeWay is MORE than excited about our new curriculum for preteens, FLYTE.  If you’re looking for some great topics to touch on with your preteen group, go watch this video and then consider learning some more about FLYTE. 


Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

Real Life Solutions: ADHD


We are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to parentlife@lifeway.com and include "? for Dr. Mintle" on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.

Q: My 9-year-old child has been diagnosed with ADHD. How do I talk to him about this? 

A: Be honest. Most children struggle with ADHD before it is diagnosed and need an explanation. Keep the explanation simple and developmentally appropriate. 
You can explain that ADHD is like someone who has difficulty seeing and needs eye glasses to focus. Treatment is like getting those glasses. Or you may explain that it is like your brain is a speeding train and needs to slow down. 
Some parents use examples of volcanoes, super heroes, robots―all things that need extra control for their intense energy. Be positive and don’t use shaming language such as bad, deficit, weird, special, hyper, or mental. 
Help your son understand that this is a condition that needs to be managed and is not an excuse for inappropriate behavior. Don’t label your child or expect problem behavior because of the disorder. Your child can be live happily and successfully with ADHD. 
The diagnosis will help you work effectively with him to bring out his gifts and talents and decrease frustration. He is wired a little differently, but those differences make him uniquely him—who God made him to be. Your attitudes and expectations will influence his, so stay positive and encouraging.