As the leaves begin to change and the weather cools down, our anticipation builds for the excitement that comes with the holiday season. Oftentimes, this excitement – and, yes, stress – for the holidays is paired with a tendency to indulge.
These indulgences can manifest in many ways: overeating, eating poorly, taking a break from exercise, getting fewer hours of sleep, and much more. Children are impacted by these indulgences, as illnesses, grumpiness, tantrums, and more effects can put a damper on your holiday celebrations.
During this festive time, our pediatricians are here to remind you: moderation is key. Just as in daily life, it is important to be balanced, stick to a routine, and act quickly on signs of sickness during this busy time of year.
No matter where the holiday season takes you this year, make sure it is somewhere that encourages your family to be happy and healthy. Follow our tips and your holidays – from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day – are sure to be merry and bright.
‘Tis The Season (For Eating!)
While we at Pediatrics East cannot deny a slice of Thanksgiving pie or a homemade Christmas cookie, we know that there are limits to what our little patients should (and should not) be eating during the holidays.
As some parents may be fully aware, since we just celebrated Halloween, the effects of sugar on children can be significant. Holiday sweets, when overeaten, can result in headaches, stomach aches, and hyperactive children who stay up well past bedtime. Also, foods that are high in fat or that are particularly filling can leave kids feeling sluggish and uncomfortable.
There are plenty of ways to make your favorite recipes a bit lighter and healthier. Sneaking in fruits and vegetables, opting for light versions of foods, and taking the time to cook with fresh, real ingredients can make a big difference.
Here are some of our favorite healthy recipes for the season:
While big holiday parties and meals can be difficult to avoid, they are not the only ways to celebrate. Instead of putting all the energy into your holiday meal, why not put the focus on someone else’s?
Teach your kids a valuable lesson in kindness and giving back by donating canned goods, volunteering in a soup kitchen, or participating with Meals on Wheels. Shifting away from solely planning your own holiday meals shows the importance of helping others, during a time of year that can be hard for many.
Also, these activities are good reminders for kids that food fuels our bodies and is necessary for basic nutrition. The added benefits are that you can be together, care for others, and make memories that will stay with your kids much longer than one meal.
There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays
Like we mentioned above, there are ways you can turn traditional holiday plans into fun, healthy alternatives.
If your holiday celebrations have you in the Memphis area, you are lucky – there is so much to do! Take your visiting family members out to see new spots in the city, and discover new traditions of your own.
Here are a few of our favorite Memphis Thanksgiving plans:
Even if you are at your home, or a family member’s home, there are still ways to make memories together.
Try these Thanksgiving ideas for fun, at-home downtime:
- Playing a game of flag football, frisbee, soccer, basketball – whatever sport you’d like!
- Decorating for the holidays, decorating ornaments and hanging festive flair around the home
- Having a family board game night, playing a game you can bring back year after year
Over The Hills And Through The Woods …
For those of you who are traveling this holiday season, there is a lot to consider to keep your kids happy and healthy while on the road.
Sometimes being in the car for extended periods of time can cause kids to become cranky and irritable. Make time for breaks, allowing your kids to go outside, stretch, run, and play for a little bit. Also, come prepared to play some favorite car games to help keep minds alert and kids happy.
Also, be mindful of the food choices that are made on the road. If possible, it is always a good idea to pack healthier (yet portable) car snacks, rather than stopping for fast food. Sometimes, though, fast food is the only option. Take a look at this article for healthier fast food meals that keep everyone feeling good.
Finally, while traveling, kids are much more susceptible to germs. Being around new spaces, new people, and out of their normal routine, kids are prone to getting colds when traveling and especially during this time of year.
To ward off future colds, we recommend washing hands regularly and traveling with basic cold, stomach, and pain relieving medicines. Now is also the perfect time to schedule your child’s flu shot! Stay ahead of the winter illnesses that can make the holidays much more difficult.
May Your Days Be Merry and Bright!
Especially during this time of year, all of us at Pediatrics East would like to thank you for choosing us to care for your children. It is our greatest joy to watch our patients grow from tiny babies into wonderful young people.
We are always here to answer questions and guide you in making your child the best and most healthy version of him or herself.
To make an appointment, call us at 901-757-3535. We thank you again for letting us be part of your lives, and we wish you a wonderful holiday season!