Children are naturally even more excited over the holidays; all the lights, the parties, the gifts and, of course, the treats!  This is a time, though, when kids tend to get sick.

Here are some simple tips to keep your kids healthy this month:

1.Keep to routines as much as possible

In between parties and get-togethers, try to maintain your child’s sleep schedule and usual eating times. Regularity is important to keep our stress management and immune systems working well. Getting enough sleep is key for proper immune function and helps to stabilize moods.

2.Bring along healthy high-protein snacks

Does your child ever get ‘hangry’? How uncomfortable that is for everyone involved, your child included. Consuming a lot of sugar often leads to a blood sugar rollercoaster ride that ends in ‘hangry-town’.

If you know that there is a dessert table, plates of cookies and bowls of candy at the grandparents, ensure that your child has a protein and fat-rich snack beforehand. Protein and fats take longer to metabolize, so they blunt the effect of all the sweets so abundant at this time of year. Think chicken drumsticks, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, pepperoni sticks, nuts, seeds, even cheese if tolerated.

3.Make outside play a priority

At social gatherings, it’s tempting to stay indoors especially in these frigid winter months. Encourage the entire family to do an activity outdoors. That way, your kids will burn off energy, making the rest of the day easier.

4.Avoid the peer pressure to say “yes” to everything

The holidays are a wonderful time to catch up with family and friends. By being selective in accepting social invitations, you can help your child regulate their nervous and immune systems. Having down time offers you a different opportunity to connect with your kids as well as check in to see how they are doing.

If December 25 is a jam-packed day for your family, think about having December 26 as a ‘home day’. Or limit the number of social engagements to no more than 2 per day. Or, beforehand, set a time limit of how long you’re going to stay at a party.

5.Consider having an immune system “first-aid kit”

Besides eating well, moving often and sleeping long, taking some specific immune support gives you some immune insurance, so to speak. Elderberry-zinc lozenges and Vitamin C gummies are examples of  this. Plus don’t forget to take some Vitamin D in these dark winter months to bolster your immune function. You can check with your naturopath on frequency and dosages.

Most importantly, make sure to take care of your own health. We all want to make the holidays magical for the children in our lives. If you’re stressed out or sick with a raging cold, your children will feel the effects of your stress.