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8 Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy During the Holidays

October 5, 2021
keeping kids healthy during holidays

If you’re concerned about how to keep your kids healthy during this holiday season, read this guest post by Leslie, the mom behind the keyboard at Super Mom Picks! Leslie loves to help moms in this amazing, yet scary journey of raising a successful family.

The holidays are a time of fun, love, and celebration, but they may also bring sniffles, sneezes, and stomachaches. It might be challenging to stay healthy during this season of cold weather, flu viruses, and sweet snacks. Luckily, you can do a few easy things this Holiday period to increase your chances of keeping your children (and yourself!) healthy. Engaging in healthy habits with your child over the holidays can help to ensure that your child’s health is in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Disclaimer: we are not medical professionals. The information in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice from a licensed medical professional. If you or your child have a medical problem, you should consult your physician or your child’s physician.

Free them from Gadgets

We frequently hear requests for gadgets from our children (ranging in age from babies to teenagers), mainly when we’re engaged in other activities. Our instinct is to either say a reluctant ‘YES’ to get them off our backs or a vehement ‘NO’ to show who’s boss. In any case, you, the parents, are the losers! Establish clear rules for the use of electronics with the children. Set a limit of 30 minutes to an hour in front of the television during the holidays. Make sure your kids understand the need for moderation.

For more on this, check out the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations on screen time: Children and Screen Time.

Keep them Moving

The holiday season can be an excellent time to spend with your children and perhaps even let your inner child loose. It’s a good idea to plan ahead of time for the holidays and develop a list of activities to keep the kids occupied. 

Check out my favorite activities to wear out your high energy kid!

activities for high energy kids

Set aside time each day to walk, ride bikes, play backyard tag, jump rope, play soccer, dance, or swim as a family. It all adds up to the 60 minutes of activity that children require every day, regardless of the season.

Get Enough Sleep

We all know how important sleep is, but it’s easy during the holidays to let that slide. According to studies, school-aged children (6 to 12 years old) need 9 to 12 hours per night. However, many children get only 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and in some cases, even less.

When we’re not getting enough sleep, we become irritable and, over time, sick. It’s especially crucial for kids because the effects of sleep deprivation can last a lifetime.

For more science behind this, read this and and this.

So minimize those late-night sleepovers and stick to a strict bedtime schedule. To make things easier, consider the following: 

  • Maintain a consistent dinnertime schedule
  • Ensure that your kids get plenty of fresh air and activity throughout the day
  • Before going to bed, turn off all screens 1 hour before bedtime

Eat Healthily

Everyone enjoys the holidays because of the festive lights, time spent with family, and, of course, the delicious holiday feasts. When presented with tempting temptations, holidays such as Halloween and Christmas are an excellent time to teach children to make healthy choices. Given that Halloween is rapidly approaching, we must prepare nutritious Halloween treats for our children. Bring a healthy side dish to the dinner table to ensure that there are healthy foods available. Getting children involved in preparing a recipe is a great approach to encourage them to eat a healthy diet and nutritious foods.

Check out my favorite anti-inflammatory diet holiday side dishes for healthy holiday alternatives!

Prepare Healthy Snacks

Your child’s stomach is relatively small. They most likely consume less food at meals than you do. Smart snacks can help your child consume adequate calories and fluids throughout the day. Adults find it difficult to avoid favorite holiday dishes at classroom parties, visiting relatives, and home customs. It’s even more challenging for children! 

You can prepare some healthier versions like:

  • carrots or peppers with hummus
  • easy-to-peel clementines
  • 100% juice
  • grapes
  • string cheese
  • no sugar added yogurt topped with fresh fruit
  • whole grain crackers with goat cheese
  • peanut butter and apples or bananas
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • homemade smoothies with fresh greens and fruit

When you keep these foods on hand, it’s much easier to give healthier snacks when you’re in a rush rather than reaching for that plate of cookies on the counter.

If you need help getting your picky eater to eat healthy, check out these 10 tips for raising healthy eaters!

picky eaters healthy eating

Start the Day Right

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A well-balanced breakfast of protein and complex carbohydrates is beneficial to brain function and maintains a consistent energy level throughout the day. 

Children who eat breakfast daily are more likely to get essential nutrients and consume less fat and cholesterol. Similarly, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D levels are 20 percent to 60 percent higher in kids who eat breakfast daily than those who don’t.

Focus on Food

Make the most of your children’s extra free time by involving them in preparing their meals. Plant a garden together or go to a farmers market to choose from all the fresh produce in season. Allow them to select tomatoes, melons, or peppers before preparing dinner together. According to studies, children who learn to grow and prepare their meals to eat more fruits and vegetables.

For more inspiration on healthful foods for the whole family to enjoy, check out Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meals for the Whole Family!

Visit Your Doctor 

Do you know that children should see a doctor at least once a year?

It is critical for children’s providers to keep track of their overall health as they get older. Annual wellness checks are essential for keeping your children healthy since they keep track of their vaccines, ensure healthy teeth, and monitor their physical development. It’s a chance to ask the doctor any issues that have arisen throughout the year and discuss health and school or learning concerns. It’s an opportunity for you as a parent to work with your doctor to reinforce your child’s good lifestyle choices. And if you have been busy the whole year, the holiday season is a good time to do so.

To read more about this, visit here.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to love about the holidays. Naturally, the same factors that make the holidays so joyful can also hurt your children’s health. But, the holiday season does not have to be a vacation from good health! I hope these tips will inspire and help you to make healthy choices this holiday season.  

Remember: It is critical to establish healthy behaviors at a young age. Most kids look up to their parents, so it’s best to lead by example. Maintaining a good attitude and being supportive can help kids gain confidence and build healthy habits for the rest of their lives.

Leslie, the mom behind the keyboard at Super Mom Picks!