Child Health, Your Health Tamar Raucher | one year ago

Holiday Survival Guide With Kids

Tips for Parents: Master the Holidays at Home or on the Road

Traditions This holiday season, make time to create special memories for children. It’s amazing how children view the spirit of the holidays. So, let them make cookies with grandma or help decorate the house with dad. It’s never too late to start family traditions either: Go for a drive in search of holiday light displays, have a holiday movie marathon, or playfully argue about who gets to DJ the impromptu family dance party. No matter how you celebrate, try to savor the moments that leave a lasting impression and take time to be grateful for these “holy days.” Sleigh Travel Travel safety is a must. Make sure car seats are properly installed and that they are the correct type for the age and weight of your child. For more details, visit http://www.buckleupnc.org/. Also, be sure to avoid distractions while driving, despite all the new gadgets you may have received as gifts. There’s No Place like Home for the Holidays Staying put and avoiding traffic can make the holidays less stressful, especially if you have a newborn and/or a toddler. Taking time to baby-proof your home, or wherever you’re staying for the holidays, also can help reduce stress by helping avoid accidents. One year, we only decorated the top half of our “toddler tree” so those grabby hands couldn’t reach our ornaments. I remember checking and re-checking the base of the tree to make sure it was anchored properly, checking and re-checking the lights and cords so they were out of reach, and checking and re-checking that everything in reach was not hot or sharp—phew! In short: Make sure to hang age-appropriate decorations. Coming Down the Chimney Fireplaces are a festive and beautiful part of the holidays but, unfortunately, they also attract small children. The fireplace screens aren’t considered childproof and the glass doors get and stay hot, even after a fire is out. And consider permanent hooks in the mantle as opposed to weighted stocking holders, which can fall and cause serious injury. Also install and/or check carbon monoxide detectors, which should be replaced every 5 years. Give the Gift of Tech (Responsibility) If my middle school son asks me for a phone one more time, I may just cave in. Sigh. That being said, it’s a good idea for parents and children to set rules about using smartphones, tablets and gaming systems. Here are some ideas to consider about children and high-tech gadgets:
  1. Tell children they can only use the gadget if certain conditions are met; write up a contract to avoid arguments.
  2. Set out clear expectations regarding grades and behavior and reward or punish accordingly.
  3. For parents with children who use smartphones, consider invoking the Grandma Rule: “Don’t send or post anything online you wouldn’t want grandma to see.”
  4. No tech at the table, whether it’s in the kitchen, the dining room or at a restaurant: Talk, don't text.
Give to Others…as Long as it’s not the Flu Every holiday season, my children always ask the same question: “Do I need to get another flu shot?” Of course, the answer is yes. Getting a flu shot is like wearing a seat belt. It does not keep you from getting the flu no more than a seat belt prevents you from getting in an accident. But, if you do get the flu, the shot helps protect your body better. I always encourage new parents to have that ‘awkward’ conversation with relatives about vaccinations, as babies are the most vulnerable. Talk to your provider if you need advice about protecting yourself, your children and those around you. It is the season of giving but, please, spread joy not germs.  

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Andrew W. Gunter, MD - Cotswold Pediatrics www.carolinashealthcare.org/Cotswold-Pediatrics