Like most families, the Christmas holidays for us are all about catching up with friends and family, festive events, warm weather, outdoor activities, and the delightful absence of ‘routine.

It has been our experience that the eight to ten week period that our boys are at home can also be a time of emotional highs and lows; from the excitement of seeing friends, to the accumulative effects of too many late nights, to the Christmas treats and sugar over-loads that come in all manner of packaging: ice-creams, soft-drinks and lollies, to name a few.

Invariably the highs are followed by lows that take hold after the blood sugar levels plummet or the chemical stimuli are exhausted. By mid January, mothers are complaining that they just cant wait to get their tired, weary, immune-challenged children back into school routine. From all accounts, the holiday period seems to have a bitter-sweet effect on all family members.

Is this an inevitable by-product of the Christmas holidays? Should parents simply throw their hands up and concede that their kids are going to be cranky come January? Not necessarily. We can maintain a more chipper attitude over the festive season by considering our survival tactics before the holidays start, and by following a few simple tips.

Tips For Preserving Your Familys Health and Sanity

1. Beware the Effects of Sugar.
As guardians of our children (and guardians of our personal sanity), we do well to remember that every action has a “direct effect” and a “ripple effect”. A direct effect means that the impact of the choice is apparent fairly quickly, while the ripple effect takes longer to surface due to its accumulative nature, and also tends to require much more energy and focus to resolve.

Nowhere is this more obvious than with the effects of sugar in the diet. If children eat lollies and ice-creams laced with chemical flavourings and additives, then the direct effect will be increased hyperactivity, over-excitement and volatility of mood. As parents, if we do not expect this consequence, we may unfairly judge and curse our children for their behaviour.

The ripple effect of consistently eating refined or junk food is that it taxes the bodys constitution. Regular sugar consumption is known to depress immunity, with research indicating that as little as six teaspoons a day can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system by 25%. If your child frequently suffers colds and runny noses, checking their daily intake of sugar may offer some answers. Excess sugar consumption will also predispose children to yeast imbalances such as Candida, which is known to have wide-reaching health ramifications for adults and children alike.

The best idea is to offer these junk items in moderation. Even though the festive season is often seen as a license to enjoy ‘sugar on mass, you can always store or throw away the excess.

Plan ahead and refrain from offering your child treats prior to an event where they will be required to sit still. Alternatively, take lollies with you when going to the park, on a picnic, to the beach or the local swimming pool – an environment where one extra ‘chemically-possessed loud child is not likely to offend or cause embarrassment.

If the ripple effect takes hold and you find your childs immune system depleted, consult a naturopath or Chinese Medicine practitioners, who are both highly skilled at helping to rebuild digestive strength.

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