Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

6 Tips to Prevent Exhausted and Overactive Kids During the Holidays

posted by Linda Mintle

Here is a great question from a parent who wants help with young kids during the holiday season:

Q: Every holiday season, we travel to see relatives, eat too many sweets and are exhausted because the kids miss naps and get to bed late. Consequently, our toddlers behave badly during this time of year. It seems like all we do is discipline them. What can we do to help our two little ones with their behavior during this hectic time?

A: You’ve already pointed out the problem—disruption of routine, poor nutrition and sleep. Add the hype of the holidays and you have over-stimulated, sugar crazed, sleepless kids who will act out more than usual. But with a little prevention, you can minimize their inappropriate behavior.

Here is how: 1) Routines and rituals: Try to keep as many going as you can. Even when you travel, insist on a regular bedtime. Take their favorite toy, stuffed animal or blanket for reassurance and familiarity. I f possible, make naps a priority and plan around them. Whatever you can do to approximate their normal schedule will help.

2) Choose TV and videos carefully. Pick shows and videos that are calming and present the true meaning of the holiday.  If you can record shows, bypass commercials so that the constant barrage of toys is minimized. Limit time in front of screens and take your kids out to exercise and work off some of their excitement and energy.

3) Insist on healthy eating despite the extra snacks. Prepare meals versus grabbing fast food on the run. Allow special treats but monitor how many are consumed.

4) Inform your kids regarding activities. Tell them where you are going and what is expected in terms of their behavior. Ahead of time, discuss rewards for appropriate behavior rather than waiting to discipline for acting out.

5) Keep as many family traditions as possible as these are comforting to children.

6) Laugh as a family. The more fun and laughter in a home, the less stressed everyone will be. Notice that all of these tips focus on keeping routines, eating well and getting rest—three known ways to help a child with his or her behavior. If you provide these basics, the extra stress of the holidays will go better for all of you.

10 Tips For Healthy Holiday Travel

posted by Linda Mintle

For years, I spend 15 hours one way traveling in a car from Virginia to Michigan to be with family during Thanksgiving. I dreaded the long trip, but wouldn’t miss being with family during the holidays.

If you are like me, you may be boarding a plane, sitting in a car, train or some other form of transportation for hours on end to get to and from your destination.

Dr. Luis Navarro of the Vein Treatment Center in New York City wants you to travel in comfort. A Diplomat with the American Board of Phlebology, Dr. Navarro offers tips to avoid the risk of poor circulation and vein pain that often accompanies  long travel times.

Here are his 10 tips for optimizing the circulatory system during travel:

AVOID PROLONGED PERIODS OF SITTING AND STANDING: Walk up and down the plane/train every 1-2 hours, when possible, for 5-10 minutes

GET EXERCISE: ankle and lower leg exercises, such as ankle rotations

WEAR GRADUATED COMPRESSION STOCKING: Wear stockings, preferably knee highs with open toe, 15-25mm/hg or 20-30mm/hg

STAY HYDRATED: Double your water intake when traveling

AVOID ALCOHOL: Alcohol dehydrates so avoiding alcohol a few days before taking a long trip would be a good idea

AVOID CAFFEINE:  Avoid caffeine while traveling to help prevent poor circulation.

AVOID CROSSING YOUR LEGS. Leg crossing constricts veins and increases venous pressure.

WEAR LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING.  Tight garments can restrict the flow of blood to and from the legs.

ELEVATE YOUR FEET.  Raise your feet 6 to 12 inches above your heart whenever possible to assist circulation.

CONSIDER DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS.  Vitamins C and E act as antioxidants, which are good for circulation.  Flavonoids, butcher’s broom, and Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (HCE50) improve venous circulation and decrease symptoms of venous disease.

Thanks Doc, now we can all relax a little and enjoy the turkey!

What? My Dog Needs a Flu Shot?

posted by Linda Mintle

I have an adorable four-year-old black miniature poodle. There are times I have to travel and need to take her to doggie day care. We actually have a really great place to board her for a day. But here is the problem. Now, the boarding places are requiring a canine flu shot in order to board.

OK, I know my 90-year-old dad needs a flu shot, but my dog?  I am reluctant. She just had a rabies shot and still has a big knot on her shoulder that hasn’t completely healed.

So I asked my vet. She said there is no canine flu outbreak in our area, but if I want to board my pet, many places are now requiring the shot.

According to the CDC, dog flu is “a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a specific Type A influenza virus referred to as a “canine influenza virus.” This is a disease of dogs, not of humans.” The virus was first observed in horses and has now spread to dogs. It is highly contagious and spreading rapidly in some parts of the country. Symptoms include cough, runny nose, and fever. A small percentage of dogs can develop severe disease, but very few dogs actually die from the virus.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends the vaccine if your dog is in frequent contact with other dogs. Dogs at risk are those that board, go to day care, shelters or travel. People who handle an infected dog can transmit the virus to another dog, but the virus does not transmit from dog to people.

The vaccine is given in a pair of shots weeks apart. Each shot is anywhere from $25.00 to $50.00 and there is no local drug store offering them for free or at a discount.

So to vaccinate or not? That is the question. The decision should probably take into account where you live (is there an outbreak) and how much your dog interacts with other dogs.

For me, I am forgoing the vaccine. Not convinced my dog needs it or that it is good to pump her full of a number of vaccines. This does mean, however, that I have to be created with my dog care!

What will you do?

A Thanksgiving Exercise for Your Family

posted by Linda Mintle

If you have children, you want them to be thankful and not take the blessings of this life for granted. One mom writes and asks how to help her children be thankful this Thanksgiving season. Try these two family activities,

Q: This holiday season my husband and I want to focus on things we are thankful for but it seems our children just take everything for granted. They are so focused on getting what they want based on what they see on TV and in the stores. We would like to change that and take their attention away from material things and put it on to more important things. Any suggestions?

A: First of all, I applaud you for being aware of this issue. You are talking about creating a thankful heart or an attitude of gratitude in a child. This is something you must teach in our culture as media promotes getting rather than giving. Consider the ads you see and hear. Many of them begin with the phrase, “You deserve…” This promulgates an attitude of entitlement. Kids are taught to want more, rather than be content with what they have. Thus, parents have to constantly go against these messages, teaching as scripture admonishes to be content with much or little.

Fortunately, you have the Thanksgiving season to jump start your quest to be more thankful. Here is an idea for your family. Make a gratitude box out of an old shoe box. Decorate the box with the kids and cut a slit in the top. Every day from now until Thanksgiving, have each person in the family write down something he/she is thankful for and put it in the box. At your Thanksgiving celebration, read the notes out loud. After Thanksgiving, you can change the box decorations for each season or holiday and continue the activity once a week instead of daily. An activity like this will intentionally foster gratitude.

Another idea is this: When you say your prayers at night, have each person in the family go around the circle and say something that they are thankful for that day. Your children may initial choose material things but will gradually focus on things of eternal value as you and your husband model those responses.

Feel free to post your ideas as to how to help our children be more thankful.

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