Parenting During the Holidays
The holidays are upon us! Which means managing different school schedules, holiday shopping, hosting family, and food…tons and tons of food! Read along for some helpful information to help you survive and thrive during this time.
Many of us just can’t wait for holiday decorating! It can be a great family activity to bring everyone together. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when decorating with small children in the house. As we all know, children are curious and anything sparkly or colorful is going to catch their eye. Don’t worry! You don’t have to keep all of your favorite decorations in the attic. You can make a few small adjustments to have a safe holiday season.
- Swap glass ornaments for plastic.
- Use child safe ornament hooks like these.
- Check all lights and extension cords for frayed wiring that could cause a fire.
- Check all heirloom tree trimmings for lead.
- Keep small ornaments and decorations away from young children.
- If using an artificial tree, make sure it is fire resistant.
- Check live trees for freshness. The needles should be difficult to pull off.
- For more tips visit www.healthychildren.org
With all the holiday parties and hosting family, there is bound to be tons of food. Taking a few simple precautions can ensure everyone will be well fed and there will be a lower chance of food related illness.
- Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables to remove any bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
- Become familiar with meat temperatures to ensure all meat is cooked through.
- Wash hands before and during food preparation.
- If you have a little taste tester helping you prepare dinner, be sure to wash their spoon thoroughly between uses.
- Thaw all meat in the refrigerator prior to cooking. Never thaw meat on the counter.
- For more food safety information visit www.healthychildren.org
Navigating Food Allergies During the Holidays
If members of your household have food allergies or intolerances, it can be difficult to avoid contact and cross-contamination when dining at holiday parties. Speak with your Fairhope Pediatrics provider to ensure you fully understand your child’s allergy and how to treat a reaction. If your child uses an epi-pen, make sure you have a current prescription with you at all times. Children’s Health has compiled a great list of ways to protect your child during this time of year so they can have a healthy and happy holiday season! Check it out here. If you have any questions about your child’s allergy, don’t hesitate to reach out to our staff on your patient portal.
Parent’s Well Being
Let’s face it, being a parent can be overwhelming on a normal day, but the mental load can become too much during school breaks, hosting family, and holiday shopping. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a break from shopping, cooking, playing, and cleaning. Here are some good ways to prevent parental burnout this year:
- Ask for help when cooking large meals for guests or suggest a potluck.
- Create a to-do list prior to scheduling all your holiday parties and activities. Include some down time for yourself on the schedule.
- Remember, all of the work does not need to fall on one parent. Share the load and ask your partner for help.
- Take advantage of services like grocery delivery or free grocery pick-up to give yourself extra time.
- Check out some holiday camps for the kids. It’s easy for kids to go a little stir-crazy being home from school. This can also give you some time to get that gift shopping done!
- Plan at-home activities for the kids ahead of time. Utilize independent play so you can take a much needed break.
- Don’t be afraid to cancel plans if you feel too burdened. We can’t be everywhere all the time.
Mental Health During the Holidays
The holidays can be a tumultuous time for those with mental health concerns. The changes in schedule, hosting of friends and family, financial concerns, or lack of friends and family can cause some to feel overwhelmed, lonely, anxious, or depressed. It is important to identify the symptoms of these feelings and what to do if you have concerns for yourself or someone else. If you notice any of these markers in yourself or anyone else please contact our office at (251) 928-5568 or the suicide hotline, 988 for immediate help. Remember, depression and anxiety can affect anyone of any age.
- Excessive sleeping or insomnia.
- Loss of self-esteem.
- Loss of interest in favorite activities.
- Decline in school performance.
- Loss of appetite or sudden weight-loss.
- Significant personality or mood shifts.
- Unexpected or excessive crying.
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness.
- Self-mutilation or hurting themselves.
- Body-image concerns.
- Excessive isolation.
- Abandonment of friends or social activities.
Share the suicide hotline with friends or family – dial 988 for immediate help.