With the holidays upon us, most families find themselves coming together to celebrate. Be it a child coming home from college, or relatives coming from afar, this is the perfect time to formulate a plan to stay healthy this season. It is no secret that many of us look forward to the holidays because of the promise of holiday parties and boundless delicacies. Let’s be honest, none of us are worried about our New Years Resolutions to eat better and be healthier. All is not lost. Here are some helpful hints to allow you and your family to enjoy the holidays while also maintaining some healthy guidelines:
- While the family is together, take the time to organize some fun and healthy group activities such as going for a hike or going ice skating. Not only is this a great opportunity to spend quality time together, it will also help counteract those extra cookies that were just too good to pass up.
- Although holiday parties and family gatherings are a welcome part of the holidays, the germs that come along are never welcome. The easiest way to prevent the spread of illness is frequent hand washing. It is often difficult to corral the little ones to the sink before meals or after playing, so it might be helpful to place various bottles of hand sanitizer around the house. Continue to remind children to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, preferably using the elbow as opposed to the hand as a shield. Although it is tempting to bring an under-the-weather child to a large gathering so you don’t miss out, the end result may be that many more people become ill in time for the holidays. Lastly, please avoid sharing drinks, utensils, and other food items with your loved ones.
- With any holiday comes travel. It is enevitable. Lots of travel problems/ accidents are out of one’s control, but there are certain precautions that one should take when traveling. Children should always be properly restrained in a car seat or seat belt (depending on a child’s age). It might be tempting to take safety shortcuts that would allow an extra person to squeeze in the car, but the ramifications could be deadly should there be an accident. For more information regarding car safety, please visit Safe Kids CT. The holidays are also a time that alcohol is more freely flowing especially during those holiday gatherings. Please make sure there is always a designated driver, and that one is never driving while under the influence. Along the same lines, please practice defensive driving to ensure safety from others who may not be following the same guidelines.
- As the holidays approach, there is usually plenty of cheer and excitement, but there can also be an equal amount of stress and tension. Regardless of one’s personal circumstances, most individuals may experience a certain amount of stress in trying to accomplish holiday preparations. In addition to holiday preparations, there may be other stressors that will impact one’s holiday (i.e. losing a loved one, job worries, illness, etc.). Although adults may be more conscious of their specific troubles, children pick up on the emotions of others, especially those close to them. Children and young adults may experience their own set of stressors and it is important to be in tune to that over the holidays. If appropriate, it is important to talk to your child about the different feelings and emotions you are all experiencing. In more extreme cases, it may be important seek outside help (doctor or therapist) for more guidance. Don’t be ashamed to reach out for the sake of yourself or your family.
In closing, we, at Doctors’ Pediatric, feel that it is important to practice the act of giving during the holiday season. We will be holding a Holiday Coat Drive to support the local domestic violence shelter. If you are so inclined, please donate coats, hats, gloves, and other cold weather gear to either office. In addition, the shelter can use new or gently used items such as women/ children’s socks, robes, and pajamas. We thank you in advance for your kind donation. Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!