The holidays can be a fun time for kids to spend with family and friends, take off from school, and enjoy traditional holiday foods.
Too much indulging, however, can lead to stress, illness, and weight gain. Following are some preventative tips that can keep your kids healthy while letting the whole family enjoy the festivities.
Flu Shot – A seasonal flu shot before the start of the holidays, is the best way to keep the whole family healthy from colds and the flu.
Hand Washing – With all the traveling and family visits, it’s especially important that kids keep up their usual hand washing routine with hot water and soap when available, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid Oversharing – While the holidays are all about sharing, in order to avoid spreading germs, do not let your kids share utensils, food, or drinks with family and friends.
Routines – Routines are just as important during the holidays as they are during the school year as they reduce stress and promote relaxation. Keep a structured environment by sticking to a regular schedule of meals, activities, naps and bedtimes.
Healthy Foods – Avoid overeating at holiday parties by preparing healthy snacks before heading out and limiting your child’s portion sizes. Allow your child one dessert per event and discourage sweets at home. Get a good start each day with a healthy breakfast that will help your child keep up their stamina throughout the day.
Physical Activity – Kids burn about half as many calories during the winter, as they do in the summer; don’t let your child’s physical activity take a holiday. Limit the screen times on their phones, computers, and television. Encourage them to partake in fun activities like family walks, hikes, skating, bowling, or a friendly game of touch football or basketball.
Holiday Traditions – Create new holiday traditions that are about celebrating family time together and enjoying physical activities instead of food.
Set a Good Example – Parents can set a good example during the holidays by limiting indulgent foods, participating in physical activities with their kids, and taking the time to relax and de-stress.
Traveling – Plan trips in the morning when kids travel best. Bring along your child’s favorite items and games that will keep them busy. Try to schedule their mealtimes and bedtimes at the same time each day. Always make sure that your child is in the appropriate car seat, booster chair, or seat belt for their size when traveling.
Back to School – In order to ensure a smooth transition as your child gets closer to heading back to school, start adjusting their mealtime and bedtime schedules a few days before school starts.
The above recommendations will go a long way to keeping your kids healthy and helping the whole family celebrate the holidays together.
About Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida
Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida (PCCSF) is a group of leading pediatric intensivists and hospitalists who are board-certified and fellowship-trained in pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine. They currently operate the pediatric critical care unit (PICU) facility at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. For more information, please visit www.pccsf.com or call (954) 454-5131.