The holidays are here! Parents typically love the fact that they get to spend more time with their kids. However, if your child has food sensitivities, the holidays can bring forth a whole set of anxieties. “Will my child be exposed to something that they won’t tolerate?” “Will they get to enjoy the same type of food the others kids do?” So grab a cup of tea and read some of the easy, parent discovered solutions below.
1. Create Delicious Gluten Free Options for the Holidays
According to the CDC, food sensitivities among children has increased by 50% between and approximately 18 million people are sensitive to gluten. Ten years ago, families who ate gluten-free were lucky if they could find a way to make gluten free flour recipes that did not taste like cardboard. However, with fabulous Gluten-Free Conversion Charts like this available from Gygi’s blog, making traditional holiday meals taste delicious is a breeze. Creating gluten free options, whether you are hosting the holiday fun or just bringing a few dishes, is a great way to insure your entire family enjoys the holiday meal.
2. Damage Control: A list of allies to manage dietary infractions.
Holiday meals with all the tasty temptations can be challenging, so we’ve created a list of allies to avoid irritating symptoms when your child eats something they shouldn’t including gluten or dairy.
Preventative Maintenance of Dietary Infractions
- To decrease food sensitivities over time: Give the recommended dose by weight of Liver Life®, twice a day for a minimum of 3 months.
- To increase hydrochloric acid for healthy digestion: Give 6-10 drops of Artemisia & Clove™ prior to or during meals.
Give Immediately After Dietary Infraction
- To prevent absorption of food that your child is sensitive to: Give 2-3 capsules of activated charcoal. If given before, during or after a dietary infraction, activated charcoal can avoid irritating symptoms.
- To mitigate irritations after a dietary infraction: Give 3 droppers of Loving Energy™ to balance the histamine response in the body.
3. Minimize Sugar and Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Holiday excess isn’t just for cocktail parties. Kids are eating their fair share of sweets and other grandparent-offered treats. If you’re not hosting, it can be tricky to have control over what they’re eating. Good thing it’s just a meal or two. If you are hosting–or are headed to a potluck feast–choosing organic will help minimize exposure to pesticide residues, genetically modified ingredients, and hormones and antibiotics in that roast. Keep kids intake of things like candy canes and pies to a minimum–synthetic food dyes have been linked to everything from allergies to hyperactivity, and sugar can be toxic, too.
- Replace Conventional Sodas with Healthier Options
- When Exposed to Sugar and Artificial Ingredients, use some of the following:
- Pines barley grass balances healthy blood sugar, moistens the colon and cleans the blood, bringing oxygen to the brain. Mix it in juice or milk (Green Monster Juice).
- Vitamin C (2,000 mg) maintains healthy immune function, neutralizes toxins and assists with bowel motility.
- George’s Aloe Vera Juice decreases gut irritations, and keeps the bowels moving daily. This particular brand tastes just like water so the kids love it.
4. Managing Behaviors
Sensory overload is very common this time of year. Crowded malls, crowded homes, holiday festivities and the overall anxiety of the holiday season. If it is difficult for adults, imagine how a child who may be sensory sensitive may be feeling; sights and sounds have the potential to produce physical pain.
Strategies can be put into place to prevent sensory overload such as; taking breaks, having a “quiet” room or space when things get too overwhelming. However, in the case of an overload, here are easy ways to help your child get through it.
- Reassure your child that everything is okay and remove them from the high sensory situation.
- Allow your child a few moments to release the anxiety in a place where he/she feels safe.
- Physical release in the form of massage, joint compressions or exercise may be helpful.
- A snack or drink may be needed as some “meltdowns” may be related to a drop in blood sugar, hunger or dehydration.
- A nap may also be helpful, as the tasks that take place during the holidays will often increase stress levels.
- Talk to your child to prepare them for what will be taking place, and discuss different coping strategies they can use that is appropriate for the situation.
Finally, do not worry what others around you may say. If you need assistance, ask for help. The important thing is providing your child with what they need to be safe and feel well again.
5. Items to Bring to Keep Your Kids Entertained Without Electronic Gadgetry
Paper and pencil please! These sure-fire games require little – paper and pencils – while delivering full entertainment impact courtesy of Today’s Parent. When kids are a younger age, play tic-tac-toe. As your children’s skills increase, add other, more challenging games. This list is also good for the next time you’re waiting at the dentist’s office, in an airport or in the car.
- Categories – Draw a grid on a piece of paper – a square filled with smaller squares. The number of squares can vary, depending on the attention span of your child. Down the left side, put some letters of the alphabet (for example, you could spell out a child’s name: LISA). Across the top, write categories – for example, girls’ names, boys’ names, animals, colours, cars, places. You can make this harder or easier by changing the categories. Players take turns writing in words that fit the category and start with the letter in the left-hand column. (Next to the letter L, in this example, you might have Laura, Liam, lion, lavender, Lexus and Labrador.) Give extra points for words that nobody else thought of. Click here for a printable Categories template in a PDF format.
- Battleship – For two players. Here’s another popular game you can play without the official version. All you need is graph paper. Each player needs two grids. Label each grid by writing numbers across the top and letters down the side, so that the squares are easily identified as A8 or F5. One grid will be for locating your own ships, the other for recording shots against your opponent’s ships. Each player places three or four “ships” on his grid, then let the guessing begin. The first person to sink all the other person’s ships wins. Click here for a printable Battleship template in a PDF format.
- Hangman – Most people know how to play the traditional version of Hangman. But what about kids who aren’t yet master spellers? One variation suitable for pre-writers: Play it like 20 Questions – think of something, and have the child think of yes-or-no questions to guess what it is. Each time the child gets a no answer, add another part to the Hangman figure. Click here for a printable Hangman template in a PDF format.
- Dots and Squares – Begin by drawing a grid of dots on the paper. Using lined paper or graph paper can make this a little easier. The first person draws a line connecting two dots beside each other. The second player then draws another line to connect another two dots. The goal is to be the person who draws the last side of a square. Then you put your initials inside the square (or some other abbreviation to claim your square). In some versions of this game, if you complete a square you get another turn. The player with the most squares when all the squares are drawn is the winner. Click here for a printable Dots and Squares template in a PDF format.
- These games can be made from items found around the house or only require little bodies:
- Card games – Card games are great for challenging young minds and creating hours of indoor fun. Grab a box of cards and check out our favorite traditional card games.
- Puzzles – Exercise those creative, cognitive and problem-solving muscles with a good puzzle.
- Freeze! – Choose some favorite tunes and turn up the volume. Ask your kids to dance until the music stops. When it does, they have to freeze in whatever position they find themselves in.
- Hide and Seek – In this classic game, one person (“It”) covers his or her eyes and counts aloud while the other players hide. When “It” is finished counting, he or she begins looking for the hiders. The last hider to be found is the next “It”.
- Hot Potato – Ask the kids to sit on the floor in a circle. Turn on some music and have them pass the potato (a bean bag or soft ball) around the circle as fast as they can. When the music stops, the player holding the potato leaves the circle. Keep going until only one player is left and wins the game.
- Indoor basketball – You can’t be too little for this version of basketball. All you need is a bucket and a rolled up sock (or a small, light ball). Each player takes a turn at throwing the sock-ball into the bucket. When a player scores a bucket, he or she takes a step back and throws again until missing. The player who shoots the ball in the bucket from the farthest distance wins.
- Bubbles – You don’t have to go outside to enjoy bubbles. For this game, you need a plate and straw for each player, some dishwashing soap and water. Place a dime-size drop of dish soap at the centre of each plate. Pour a little water onto the plate and gently mix with the dish soap until some suds start to form. Have the kids place the straw in the suds and blow very gently. Watch as massive bubbles start to form. To make this competitive, see who blows the biggest, and longest-lasting, bubble.
6. Synapses in the Brain and Sleep!
In a study at Northwestern University Medical Center, scientists followed the sleep patterns of 510 kids between 2 and 5 years old. The study showed that less sleep at night results in more behavioral problems and mood disturbances during the day. It also directly impacts your child’s ability to perform their best in math.
As your child’s brain is processing the sights, sounds and thoughts from their regular busy day, the synapses become saturated. When these synapses are saturated, REM sleep is needed to clear them so they can take in more information. Sleep allows the brain to reset for the next day and sensory systems require REM sleep for early development. Turning off the computer to reboot is similar to what our brain does while we sleep. Electrical signals in the hippocampus actually reverse direction, a process that refreshes the synapses in the brain for the onslaught of information to come the next day. When this doesn’t happen, children experience sensory overload!
Recent research has found that kids with neurodevelopmental issues have enlarged hippocampus and more synapses in their brain. The perfect storm for sensory overload.
So How Much Sleep Does A Child Need? While every child is slightly different in terms of how much sleep they need, most require the following to be fully rested:
- Infants – 14 to 15 hours
- Toddlers – 12 to 14 hours
- Pre School – 11 to 13 hours
- School Age – 10 to 11 hours
- Teenagers – 8.5 to 9.5 hours
What To Do if Your Child Fights Sleep: In a study at Northwestern University Medical Center, scientists followed the sleep patterns of 510 kids between 2 and 5 years old. The study shows that less sleep at night results in more behavioral problems during the day as well as mood disturbances. In many cases, sleep deprivation in children can be resolved with changes to the environment and habits surrounding bedtime.
- Limit caffeinated drinks – Don’t give after 2pm. Regular use of caffeine can result in sleep deprivation. Research shows drinking caffeinated drinks before 2pm is less likely to cause disrupted sleep patterns.
- TV and electronic devices – 2 hours before bedtime to support restful sleep.
- Early to Bed. Going to bed early between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. works best for babies and kids through school age.
- Use Sleep Masks – A sleep mask is not only fun for the kids, but it helps to block out all the light. A completely blackened room supports deep sleep. Research indicates that light “switches off” your natural sleep chemicals. Even a tiny amount of light can disrupt sleep.
- Exercise – Due to modern conveniences, many kids are not outside running around like they used to – using up energy. If this is true for your child, create a ritual of 30-60 minutes of activity before dinner each night.
- NDF calm – Give first thing in the morning to support healthy liver, replenish adrenal energy adrenal and remove environmental toxins. Kids with adrenal imbalances often have imbalances in cortisol making it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night.
About Us: Together, Bioray, Generation Rescue, and Healthy Child Healthy World are collaborating to provide information, offer solutions and be a support system for parents passionate about raising kids with a healthy mind, body and spirit.