Even before the last piece of pumpkin pie has been consumed (and let’s be honest – these days, it’s more like – before the last piece of Halloween candy is handed out), it seems like holiday preparations are underway. But the reality of the holidays can be very different than the marshmallow world singers croon about.
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
There’s no doubt that the giving spirit of the season can lead to feeling financial pressure. The gift wish lists kids have written out are often filled with expensive items like video game consoles, tablets and more. But, rather than compromise your household budget, how do you help kids understand what’s realistic while still ensuring it’s another holiday for the memory books.
Holiday shopping is once again upon us—as your kids make their lists and write their letters to Santa, could the type of gifts they receive affect their brain development, not to mention how home life will be for everyone in the months ahead?
“Yes”, says Dr. Marcia Slattery, UW Health Professor of Child/Adolescent Psychiatry and Pediatrics. “A child’s brain goes through massive developmental changes throughout childhood and adolescence, and the type and variety of experiences a child has can influence the pathways and connections in the brain”.
Parents should keep this in mind as they set out on the challenge of holiday shopping for their children. The goal: selecting gifts that are fun, enjoyable AND promote healthy brain development.
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.
For a pediatrician from California, Wisconsin winters are one thing I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. If your family does decide to venture out into the cold, here are a few important things to keep in mind.
Keep your infants and children warm by dressing them in layers. How do you know if your baby is warm enough? Generally, a good rule of thumb for older babies and children is to dress in one more layer than what an adult would need for adequate warmth.