Anxiety Be Gone! 6 Ways to Survive Holiday Stress
To help plan ahead, we sat down with nationally recognized parenting expert and pediatrician, Dr. Lauren Rosen Crosby of La Peer Pediatrics in Beverly Hills, CA. Dr. Crosby is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a clinical instructor for the UCLA School of Medicine, serves as a Pediatric Expert for Fox News’ Studio 11 L.A., and is a busy mom raising two teenage boys. If anyone knows a thing or two about managing busy schedules, stress, and staying healthy, it's most definitely Dr. Crosby.
Start to prepare now: “It's best to try to plan ahead, anticipating your child’s needs and bringing familiarity with you,” says Crosby. “I don’t just mean a pacifier or one favorite toy but multiple small items. For my youngest son I did my best to recreate his crib in hotels and at grandma’s house, including his sheets and his mobile. I would turn the music playing mobile on after I put him into bed just like I did at home every night after story time. It really helped.”
Vaccinations and medications: “Make sure vaccines are up to date at least a month before a trip so there is time for the shot to take effect. Remember to bring any medications with you on the trip that a child could need such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or anything else you might require at 2 in the morning when you are in a strange town,” says Crosby.
While on holiday, remember the three “R’s – Rest, Relaxation, and Routine: “Split vacation days in half with a break in the middle of at least an hour, that can help with fatigue and make sure everyone gets a break, some rest, food and fluids”
“I am a big proponent of routines for kids. They provide a structured background for their days and prevent the anxiety of not knowing what is going on,” explains Crosby. “With travel, the schedule can go out the window, some kids are able to handle that, others not as well. If you know your child needs routine, try to develop an easy new one when away--even if it's a morning schedule that includes breakfast and getting dressed in a similar order. And try to keep a bedtime routine. This I feel is especially important. Kids need sleep or they get cranky and their immune systems can suffer predisposing them to illness.”
Include kid-friendly activities: “When sightseeing don’t expect a child to be as interested in a museum as you. Schedule in park time or find a place they would also enjoy. This can be used to negotiate with a child. “After this, we’ll go to the park.” Or have some “reward” in your back pocket so to speak, such as a treat they would love. You can even link the treat to a vacation spot to find out where places are that have “the best” ice cream, park, or children’s museum.”
Soothing sick kids and stressed parents: “It is not uncommon for me to get a phone call during winter break from a family who is out of town and their child becomes ill. It may be something relatively minor, but sometimes I must advise them to see a doctor to make sure the child doesn’t need further care. Illness in general--even a cold in a small child--can really throw them off, and if they are not in their usual environment, it can be harder for them. They won’t eat or sleep as well which then makes them cranky and hard to deal with. I recommend remedies to soothe them depending on the illness, and I always remind the parents that it is more important for a child to be hydrated than to eat. Making the child feel comfortable, especially if some familiar favorite objects are around, can help get them through.”
Transitioning back to normalcy once the break is over: “Once you return from a trip, get your old routine into full swing as soon as possible. If the child was up late and/or cannot adjust to a time change, you may need to gradually back the bedtime up so that it gets back to normal within a week or so.”
Wishing you all safe, healthy and happy holidays from The Nanny Doctor!
By Lindsay Heller
Dr. Lindsay Heller, Psy.D., is a mother of two sweet girls. When she’s not playing “tea party,” she’s a professional nanny consultant known as The Nanny Doctor. She blogs, tweets, and facebooks endless nanny wisdom. Check her out on TheNannyDoctor.com and her Twitter @thenannydoctor.