The “Holiday Season” in the United States of America runs from mid-October until the first of January. Every month during this time there is a holiday to prepare for, experience and enjoy. However, with this come challenges for parents and children. It is this I would like to write about here.
Let’s start with the first thing that will come up: Sugar and sugary treats. I love sweets!!!! And most people I know do as well. But what most medical and nutritional doctors tell me repeatedly is that all bacteria, viruses, yeasts and fungus feed best on sugar! At a time when most people get together, kiss each other and share good spirit, we are also most likely to eat a lot sugar. Excess sugar suppresses the body’s immune system, thus predisposing us to illness.
Secondly, it is also a time during which we tend to get less sleep. With so much to do like organizing all the gatherings, planning the meals and entertainment for these social soirees, shopping for gifts and decorations, and transporting everyone here and there, and routines are knocked off kilter, everyone in the household tends to get less than adequate sleep. Not only does lack of sleep promote tantrums, but it also feeds into number 3. We become short with one another and soon each other’s criticisms can be blown out of proportion.
For whatever reason, this is the time most people and children tend to become critical of one another. Children criticize each other’s costumes, gifts, likes and dislikes. Adults talk about who is or isn’t on the good list this year. Feelings get hurt because so-and-so was or wasn’t invited to the big party. The list just goes on.
Factor all these together, each one in their own right creating a predisposition for illness, and you have the triple whammy for catching whatever is going around.
Minimizing this predisposition takes some persistence and disciple.
1. Control sugar intake. There are many food sites that provide low sugar recipes or use sugar substitutes for your favorite holiday treats. Make an agreement with your children regarding Halloween candy and holiday treats. Create a plan on keeping this under control.
2. Manage the sleep schedule. Allow for extra nap time or free up the morning plans so children can sleep in. Don’t try to plan a late-night party when there will be school in the morning. Make it a priority in the household to ensure everyone gets adequate sleep.
3. Curb criticisms. Last week I described how criticisms from divorcees and their friends/relatives can affect a child’s well-being. Those same principles hold true no matter who does the criticizing. Arm yourself and your children with the tool to stand up to the evaluation and invalidation and you’ll find less susceptibility to the vagaries of the holiday maladies.
With Halloween approaching rapidly, I hope this will give you some food for thought for the holidays.