The holidays can be a time of great joy and stress especially when you have a child at home with special medical needs. A little planning ahead can help make the holidays go smoothly.
1. Check your medical supplies early December to be sure you have enough on hand. Holiday closures, longer mailing times, and bad weather can cause delays in getting mail-order medications in a timely manner.
2. Make sure your prescriptions are up to date from your doctor well before the holidays. Many people take extra vacation time over the holidays and that includes our medical professionals.
3. Have a list of emergency contact numbers handy in the event that your doctor is out of town. We keep a list of local urgent care facilities plus our pediatrician's numbers handy.
4. Review medical emergency procedures with extended family members ahead of time. For health issues like food allergies or diabetes, it's important to be sure that several adult family members are aware of how to respond. In the chaos of holiday events, mistakes can easily happen.
5. Have a discussion with your child about the proper care and "ground rules" of his or her medical condition before the holidays. With all of the temptations around at this time of year, it can be especially difficult for children to adhere to medical requirements. Health issues like food allergies or diabetes can be particularly challenging.
6. Take good care of yourself. Remember the importance of example. Children, especially younger ones, will pick up on your stress and reflect it back at you which generally makes matters worse. If you are feeling stressed, take a moment to pop into the bathroom for a few deep breaths and a glass of cold water. You'll feel a lot better and you'll be modeling a healthy way to handle stress to your children.
Lisa C. Greene is the mother of two children with cystic fibrosis, a certified parent coach, parenting educator, and public speaker. She is also the co-author with Foster Cline, MD of the award-winning Love and Logic® book “Parenting Children with Health Issues.” For free audio, articles and other resources, visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com.