Families everywhere are hoping for a holiday filled with laughter, wonder and joy; kids opening presents gratefully, singing cheerfully and eating everything on their plates. Unfortunately, without proper preparation and planning, the holidays are much more likely to be a headache of tantrums, meltdowns, and crying. Ho, ho, NO!
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, the Solstice, Mawlid Un Nabi, Christmas or Kwanzaa, Bay Street Pediatrics is here to help your family get through the next two weeks with all the joy you’ve always wanted the holidays to hold.
Keep children on their regular sleep schedules.
Family traditions such as opening gifts at midnight and decorating cookies with Grandma in the afternoon are important, but not as important as keeping your child on their regular nap and bedtime schedule. Explain to your relatives that your child simply cannot function on a different timetable. When relatives see your kids actually enjoying themselves when well rested, they will appreciate your stance on rescheduling.
It’s okay not to try the blue cheese dip.
Kids of all ages may reject dishes that are strongly flavored, heavily spiced, fried or otherwise unfamiliar to their palate. While families do come together to share traditional cuisine, no one is coming together over upset stomaches, vomiting and diarrhea. Remind your child – and the adults urging “strange” foods on them – that they don’t have to eat anything they are not comfortable with.
Leave the sugarplums dancing only in their heads.
When you enter a holiday a gathering, do quick walkabout and move candy dishes, chips, and more out of reach of your children. When readily available and within easy reach, kids can stuff themselves with unhealthy treats that will irritate their stomachs and make their mood miserable too.
Your child should own their own body.
You know it’s important that your child fully control access to their own body, but relatives can make this challenging with a demand for hugs and kisses. Let your child know it’s okay to say “no” to anyone who is trying to hug, kiss or even pinch their cheek and that you will stand by their feelings and decisions, even at family gatherings. Kindly suggest to relatives that they color, play a game or read a story together to feel close to your child.
Your infant, your rules.
No one gets to overrule you when you have an infant, not even your own mother. Attend gatherings that include only the fully vaccinated and healthy, and we’re not just referring to the COVID vaccine. Confirm that all eligible children are fully vaccinated as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and adults have had a recent whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus booster. If someone in the group seems to have a runny nose, a cold or the flu, protect your infant by quietly heading home. Make sure anyone who picks up or touches your baby has just washed their hands.
Come when you want, leave when you want.
Don’t feel required to be there the minute the party begins and stay until the last cookie crumbles. Arrive at gatherings when it works for your family and leave when you sense your kids are just about done. Planning your day around your kids’ developmental abilities means you respect everyone’s health, happiness and holiday joy.
The holidays are happier when you put your kids’ need first. Changing up family traditions, holiday dinners, and gift exchanges to help your child make it through will fill these days with memory-making days of love, laughter and smiles.
Questions about your child’s health this holiday season? Access your Bay Street portal here and message your provider. We’ll be happy to help!