Healthy Toddlers Through the Holidays

by johanna kennedy People love to hold, pinch, squeeze and hug my little girls when we attend holiday gatherings. Unfortunately, the side effects of all this love are relatives who sneeze or cough while holding my babies a nd then touch their little hands with their germ-infested appendages. This season it is my ambition to attend all the merry gatherings with my family and return with healthy children. Following are suggestions given by those with experience in accomplishing this endeavor. Immune System Care Limit Sugar: Tis the season to load up on goodies filled with sugar. However, sugar has been known to weaken the immune system. Try to keep your toddler’s sugar intake to a minimum surrounding the days of merrymaking. Ample Rest: Adhere to naps and bedtimes to allow for optimum rest for your children. Keep outside trips to a minimum when the social calendar is full. A few things that can be done to limit public exposure are shop online for gifts, share grocery shopping with a friend or run errands while appropriate child care is at home with your little ones. Eat well: Lots of fruits packed with Vitamin C (any berries, especially strawberries, citrus fruits) and veggies. SuperFoods for Babies and Children by Annabel Karmel is an excellent resource for healthful meals and is available at Parmly Billings Library. Party Time! At the bash be on your guard for well-meaning, unhealthy, cheek pinchers. Ask the excited baby coddler to first wash her hands. If confrontation is difficult for you, avoid. When Auntie is headed your way with open arms and a Kleenex falling from her pocket, avoid eye contact and head for the bathroom or hand off Junior to a healthy person. Wash your child’s hands frequently; after dinner, while playing with other children, and post grandmother cuddles-especially if your child is a thumb sucker. Post Party Upon returning home, march all children to the bath for a bubbly scrub down. When disinfection is complete dress your little ones in their snowflake pajamas and give them some warm tea to drink in their sippy cups. Peppermint and chamomile teas are harmless for toddlers. If you are looking for a tea to remedy a specific ailment visit Boston Harbor at 1028 Broadwater and ask the educated staff what would be beneficial for your specific situation and child. Here you can also purchase your own teas to take home or ask them to whip you up a lovely concoction to give to your children. Be sure to share the age of your child as this makes a difference in teas recommended. For the next few days, avoid sweets and try to stay home to rest. Invasion of the Citadel When the germs have breached your little one’s system do the following for a natural, swift recovery: Rest: Lots of naps, rest, movies, books, cuddling and warm baths. Fluids: Fill sippy cups with warm water and small amounts of lemon and honey (honey only for those over one year) or tea. A little honey is known to loosen mucus in the respiratory system. Dairy products create mucus. Juice with added sugar actually will work against the immune system. If juice is the preferred drink, look for juice that has no added sugar and a high percentage of Vitamin C. If you are nursing, nurse away! The antibodies in mother’s milk are priceless. Fresh Air: Bundle up your baby or toddler and take a short walk around the block. Whether riding or toddling, the fresh air will begin to rid the body of particles that float around our winterized homes. Avoid this if your child is battling a high fever. Massage: One of the jobs of the lymph system, the lesser-known circulatory system, is to carry wastes out of the body. Administering a gentle lymphatic massage to your child’s neck and head will give a sluggish lymphatic system a jump start. Videos as to how to administer such a massage can be found by typing lymphatic massage into the search engine on www.youtube.com. A great resource explaining the benefits of various massages can be found at www.nuturingconnection.com. Missing out on holiday fun can be torturous! Hydration, ample rest, an onslaught of healthy food and seclusion from unhealthy friends are a few small things to do to keep your little ones well. May your children be healthy, your heart overflowing, and your social calendar full this holiday season. SFM Johanna Kennedy resides in Billings with her husband and two daughters anxiously awaiting a third child. She divides her time between the honorable jobs of house wife, mom, potty trainer, counselor, teacher, friend and a self-proclaimed aspiring writer.