The month of December can be stressful for some families. Even with all of the fun the holiday season brings, it may also bring extra social and financial obligations, a breakdown of healthy eating and exercise habits and feelings of grief and loneliness.
This year, with these suggestions from CHOC experts, families can adopt healthy holiday traditions to ease the season’s stress, helping make it one to remember.
Holiday traditions to benefit your family’s physical health
When the holidays become more than you bargained for, the stress can put extra demands on your body — unfortunately making it susceptible to untimely illness. Here are some tips on keeping up you’re your family’s health during the holiday season:
- Don’t do too much. Give yourself some time to rest, relax and enjoy the season.
- Share the workload. Let everyone in the family play an active role of helping, so parents and caregivers aren’t burdened by all the work.
- Set priorities. There will be a lot of fun celebrations, activities and requests, but try not to overdo it. Say no to some of the demands on your time.
- Simplify your holiday preparations. Consider relaxing your cleaning schedule, cooking demands and decorating. Opt for shortcuts to help you enjoy rather than prepare.
- Continue to exercise. Try not to let your regular routine lapse in the busyness of the season.
- Eat healthy foods. Balance out the rich holiday treats with nourishing meals that can fuel your family during the season.
Holiday traditions to benefit your family’s emotional health
It’s easy to become overwhelmed this time of year, especially if you believe something is lacking in your holiday celebration. Here are some ways to create new holiday traditions that will help level your emotions:
- Ask yourself what you really enjoy doing. It’s possible for some traditions to just become habits. Make sure you’re enjoying all of your traditions. If not, change or scale down certain traditions that may not be serving your family anymore.
- Don’t be afraid to scale down gift-giving. It’s likely that you will get support from your family and friends about this.
- If your annual party is too much to handle, put it off until after the holidays. This will give you more time to prepare, and can ease any post-holiday blues by giving you something fun to look forward to.
- If you can’t be with family, plan other arrangements. Spend the holidays with friends or volunteer to help others.
Healthy, happy holiday traditions for kids
The holiday season can be extra overwhelming for your kids, causing them to be stressed and engage in undesired behaviors. It’s helpful to give kids realistic expectations about gifts, an even-paced holiday season and strong, loving family traditions. Here are some ways to make the holidays special for your kids:
- Spend time with them. Consider entertaining less or attending parties that exclude your kids.
- Incorporate fun exercise into your holiday traditions. Consider a family football game, walk or bike ride to look at holiday lights or ice skating.
- Include your kids in holiday preparations. Let your children help you decorate and bake, even if it means your creations aren’t perfect.
- Teach children the meaning of giving. Adopt a needy family and have your kids help you make a meal for them. Suggest that your children buy a gift for an underprivileged child with their own money. Or ask them to donate one of their own gifts to a less fortunate child.
- Teach your children that gifts don’t have to be tangible. Trade intangible gifts with each other, such as helping with homework, washing the dishes and mowing the lawn. Let your children come up with their own ideas of what they can gift other members of the family.
For more health and wellness resources from the pediatric experts at CHOC, sign up for the Kids Health newsletter.
How to prevent and treat respiratory illnesses this season
Unfortunately, many kids get infected with respiratory illnesses in the fall and winter seasons. CHOC experts highly encourage all eligible members of households to receive their annual flu shots. Other preventative measures like good hygiene and staying home when sick can help protect families from illness. The following articles and guides provide more information.
From babies to teens, pediatricians from CHOC’s Primary Care Network partner with parents to offer immunizations, sick visits, sports physicals and more.