All families have their own unique and often personal way of celebrating the holidays. Whether it is a special meal together, exchanging gifts or a celebration of blessings, the month is filled with a festive spirit. And while there may indeed seem to be a magic to the season, the reality is for some families it can be a difficult and challenging time. Financial struggles, a significant illness, loss of a loved one, or a divorce or separation can have profound effects on a family during a time of year that’s all about celebrations.
If your holiday is going to be different this year, how can you help your children navigate the sometimes difficult feelings that may accompany the changes?
Many families use the holiday season to teach their children about generosity and giving back to the community. Here are four simple ways your family can make a difference in the lives of the children and families at American Family Children’s Hospital.
In-kind donations (also known as the Child Life Wish List) are welcome at American Family Children’s Hospital all year long. Donated toys and gifts can provide distraction during a procedure or a clinic waiting area. They are also used to restock our playrooms, celebrate a birthday spent in the hospital or a completion of a treatment.
The holidays are a time for spending with family and friends, not rushing to the emergency room. Whether you’re preparing to decorate your own home, or going to visit relatives or friends, keep the following tips in mind to help everyone have a merry and safe holiday.
If you decorate a tree, avoid these top decorating mistakes:
- Decorate with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them.
- Keep the glass ornaments off the tree until children are older as they can be easily broken.
As families get ready to embark on holiday trips to visit relatives and loved ones, it’s a good time to review a few safety tips.
When Traveling by Car
- Always use the appropriate car seat for infants and young children when riding in the vehicle:
- Infants should ride rear-facing for as long as their car seat allows, usually to about age 2 and 35 pounds. Riding rear-facing protects your child’s head, neck and spine.
- When children are ready to transition to a forward-facing seat, children should ride in a forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness for as long as possible, until they are at least 4 and 40 lbs. Consider using a harnessed booster to keep your child in a 5-point harness even longer.
- Then, a booster seat should be used until the child fits properly in the seatbelt without one, which usually isn’t until the child reaches 4-foot-9. This might not be until your child is age 8 or even older.
- Children should continue riding in the backseat until age 13
Starting with Halloween, it can sometimes feel as if parents are struggling against overwhelming forces in order to keep children eating healthy. We move straight from the pumpkin buckets overflowing with candy, into Thanksgiving with the dining tables overflowing with turkey, trimmings and pie. From there, it can be an endless parade of holiday parties filled with cookies and rich foods. Add traveling and extended family into the mix, with well-meaning relatives who encourage a little overindulging here and there, it can be easy to simply give in and go with the flow.