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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

(Editor’s note: please welcome Jocelyn’s very wise suggestions for keeping the holidays smooth. Thanks Jocelyn!)

The holidays are probably one of the very hardest times to keep the kids healthy and operating at their peak levels, but it’s probably also the time when we most want them to be feeling well and able to enjoy every second of the festivities! If you’ve ever had a feverish, little guy on Christmas morning, you know just how painful it is. But that said, if you’re on the lookout for some tips to keep your little ones powered up and running at 100% all season long, consider some of these ideas that just might help you fend off getting sick and keep them powered up and singing you carols all day long!

First things First: the Flu
Fighting off the flu can be a bit of an uphill battle since the holiday season is prime time for the flu virus. December is one of the best times to find the cold, dry weather that allows the flu virus to stay airborne longer and to remain in a more stable form. Thus it’s easier to come in contact with the virus and it’s already thriving in top form for making its attack on unsuspecting victims. Combine that with the fact that it’s the young and elderly at highest risk, it’s no wonder our little ones so often find themselves under the weather.

What You Can Do
Accepting the fact that the flu is on the prowl is certainly not the end of the story for a mom! This just means gearing up on our part. Here are a few of the top ways to fight:

  • Humidify: Low humidity levels also make the nose dry and more susceptible to infection. Keeping a humidifier in the house and your childrens rooms can help keep them from getting the flu. Just remember to change the water and clean the humidifier frequently, as mold and bacteria can accumulate otherwise.
  • Disinfect like Mad: It’s nothing new, but it always bears repeating. The flu is generally caught by direct contact, ie: touching something touched by someone who already has the flu, so disinfecting after company and making sure your children wash and sanitize their hands frequently, especially when out in public places like grocery stores, is crucial. This is the one time of the year you should never get grief for walking around 24-7 armed with Lysol in both hands. We’re moms at war!
  • Keep that Immune System in Tip Top Shape: Staying on top of Vitamin C intake, giving a multi-vitamin daily, eating nutritiously, ensuring lots of sleep happens and that moderate exercise never gets missed (snowball fights in the backyard) will all help.

Prioritize the Holiday Outings
As a parent, it can be hard not to think that every activity is imperative your child attend. But, from the school parties to holiday recitals, trips to grandma’s and trips to the mall and trips to Santa, the amount of “activities” can become overwhelming, exhausting and even stressful to young children, whether or not they recognize it. Holiday stress is truly not just a factor for adults, its very real for children as well. By prioritizing which activities are musts and which can be passed over, you can keep your little ones well rested and ready for what’s next without them being overly stretched tight or purely exhausted. As a bonus, they’ll be able to enjoy the activities they do go to even more when they’re in top shape.

Focus on Healthy Eating & Nutrition
This is generally not a favorite with the crowds, but it’s oh-so-important. You can keep your children’s immune system boosted, their energy levels high and even their moods cheerier, all with nutrition. The holiday season, unfortunately, tends to be one where nutrition is the first thing that goes out the window. We have less time than ever to make well balanced meals, our focus as a nation generally turns to sweets of every shape and size and we find ourselves inundated with loads of carbs, sugars, and fats, deeming it natural, “It’s the holidays, after all!” (Don’t get me started…) But, if you can put in the extra time in those early mornings and perhaps what would’ve been lazy Sunday afternoons to make sure you have healthy snack options and ready-to-go meals packed chock full of nutrition that will stave off the take home pizza, you’ll help your children infinitely. Their bodies won’t go through the depletion of nutrient stores you’ve so carefully been building up all year, they won’t find themselves experiencing the highs and lows of excessive sugar intake, and their little bodies will be well prepped to fight off disease.

If the Impossible Happens
If your little one does happen to get sick or even just overly burnt out and drained, take a step back. Holiday stress and too much excitement can easily play a part in energy levels and now just isn’t the time to let him tough it out. Pull out the Christmas movies, make a yummy pot or two of Mom’s Famous Chicken Noodle Soup, and spend some extra cuddle time at home for a couple days until it passes. There’s likely to be nothing that will help more than lots of rest and good nutrition, and before you know it, the merriment will be back in full swing!

Freelancer Jocelyn is a content writer for Air and Water and branches out to write helpful family articles every chance she gets.

Earnest Parenting: helping parents manage holidays smoothly.