Help Keep Your Family Healthy This Holiday Season With These Expert Tips

Pediatric health experts at Connecticut Children’s share information on the most common health challenges  around the holidays.
Pediatric health experts at Connecticut Children’s share information on the most common health challenges around the holidays.
11/20/23 - By Jessica Laird

The holidays are the season of joy, but colder temps, travel, big gatherings, and seasonal bugs can make it tough to keep your family’s physical and mental health in check. That’s why the pediatric health experts at Connecticut Children’s reached out to us to share information on the most common winter health challenges among children, from understanding flu and RSV symptoms to tips on how seasonal blues can affect children.

Read on to see their insights on how to keep your family healthier through the holidays and cold winter months. And, for more straight-forward, age-appropriate, expert advice, you can visit Connecticut Childrens’ Growing Healthy Blog.

Know how to spot the signs of RSV and flu

RSV and the flu are two different respiratory viruses that share a number of similar symptoms. This holiday season, keep an eye out for fever and cough, which are both indications that your kiddo could be fighting one of these common fall and winter bugs. Some other specific symptoms may help you differentiate between the two and find the best treatment option.

RSV and flu symptoms and when to seek care

Learn how to keep the winter blues at bay

Shorter days and colder weather can really impact kids’ moods and health habits–and ours too! Building healthy habits are an important factor in keeping winter blues away. Cooking together is a meaningful way to connect, as well as providing a healthy meal. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and resisting the urge to stay under the covers on chilly winter mornings can also keep kids on the right track.

Read five ways to keep kids happy and healthy this winter

Brush up on healthy food portions for kids

When school breaks and celebrations make it a bit harder to stick to your usual routine, knowing age-appropriate portion sizes is one way to help ensure your child is getting a well-balanced diet. Learn how to eyeball standard portions of common foods and follow recommendations to get all five food groups onto your kiddo’s plate.

These familiar items will help you remember portion sizes

Know the signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in kids

While less sunlight can affect anybody’s mood, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious form of depression that can impact kids. SAD follows a seasonal pattern, with symptoms of depression appearing in the fall and winter, and dissipating more in the spring and summer. It can be hard to tell whether your child’s symptoms are due to SAD or other stressors, but your pediatrician can help differentiate.

See the list of common SAD symptoms

Try a cold-weather fitness challenge to stay active

Did you know that all kids should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day to help keep their hearts strong and healthy? When temperatures drop, it can be easy to let exercise fall by the wayside, but a fitness challenge is a fun way to keep kids moving. From bundling up for a winter hike to making time for an indoor dance party, there are so many ways to stay active all season long.

Ideas for finding and sticking with a winter exercise routine

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician for support

If you’re concerned about your child’s physical or mental health–or you’d like some additional resources–go ahead and make an appointment. If you’re in need of a pediatrician, schedule a virtual video visit with an expert at Connecticut Children’s or book an in-person appointment at the location closest to home.

For more timely health and safety tips, visit the Connecticut Children's blog. Connecticut Children’s is the only health system in Connecticut 100% dedicated to kids. That means high-quality care across more than 30 pediatric specialties in 40+ locations throughout Connecticut, Western New York and Western Massachusetts. One team on a mission to improve access to healthcare from before birth and into adulthood. One team pushing the limits with breakthrough research and community partnerships so we can help you focus on what matters most: your family’s wellness journey. When you choose Connecticut Children’s, you can expect care Beyond Imagination.

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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