Every Christmas season, there is nothing like seeing family and friends share in the fun, food, and presents. This year though, more and more people have been tightening their belts with everything from Christmas Eve and Christmas day menus to presents. So it is especially important to take note of all the things we can do to save a buck or two.
Funnily enough, this is not relegated to food and gifts only. There are so many things we can do to avoid unnecessary expenses that are not really related only to the Christmas season. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but in the Philippines, the couple of months leading to Christmas are usually the coldest in the year. And because of this, people tend to stay indoors more and up getting sick more often because of the increased time in close quarters. We can save a lot from medicines and doctors visits if we just pay attention and plan ahead. Here are some tips to help avoid health-related expenses during the Christmas season.
Get your kids’ vaccines updated
If you have an infant, this tip might be an unnecessary one for you. This is because infants have a regular list of vaccines they need to be given in the first 12 months of life. But if you have a toddler or preschooler, you might want to rethink some traditional plans. Before, it would be enough to have one or two chicken pox vaccines between the infant year to the eighteenth. These days, a lot of pediatricians recommend another shot in between due to the mutation of the chicken pox strain. Sounds scary, true. But a shot will allay fears. Thankfully, my son and daughter are really good about shots. A simple distraction and a promise of a lollipop is enough to ensure a cry-free session at the doctor.
Make sure you get your kids checked while you’re at the doctors
Since you’re at your doctor’s anyway, it would be a good idea to do an overall check-up. Get their eyes, ears, throat, tummy, weight, and height checked. Not only is this one way to make sure they are in tip-top shape before the Holidays, but it also keeps YOU updated as to how your kids are growing. Since I don’t need to visit the doctor ever three months anymore and really only see her bi-annually or if the kids are really sick (which, thankfully, has been very rare), I use these visits to keep track of their growth in general. It is also a great time to do it since I have the info every end of the year –for the start of the next year- and every mid-year- for comparison.
Teach the kids the value of cleanliness and being organic
I live in a tropical country so we have wet and humid weather all the time. For kids, this means a lot of rainwater and mud. While I am all for the kids building a natural immunity to dirt, I also am very mindful of the millions of diseases you can get from being carelessly dirty. I try to avoid such serious illnesses like Typhoid fever and Hepatitis from teaching my kids to always wash their hands after using the bathroom and before every meal. They bathe three times a day, especially before they go to bed as they need to wash away all the dirt and grime collected over the day. Some people don’t think this is necessary, but I believe otherwise, especially in a tropical country.
I try to avoid other less serious illnesses like skin rashes or diarrhea by monitoring closely what they eat. This is a tough one since Christmas time is all about caroling and parties for kids and both activities naturally come with food. I just stick to my one rule and it has served me well, so far. As much as possible, the kids can eat food prepared with as little additives as possible. So if we are eating at someone else’s house, I stay away from food from the can or cooked with MSG, and any and all sodas. Of course, there is no keeping the kids away from chips and candy so I allow this within reason. A deal with the kids usually works. They can have a handful of 1 kind of chip (choices screened by moi) and 2 pieces of candy per house, and as much juice as they want as long as they drink the same amount of water (which I bring from home). This has gotten me through this season, food-allergy free.
On the whole I try to keep them to drinking fresh fruit juices but I do also take the bottled ones if the fruits just can’t be had here- like grape or strawberry or peach juice all of which are very tough or expensive to come by.
In my country, good healthy care is not free so you really have to pay attention to what the kids are exposed to and to their vaccine records not only to keep them consistently healthy but also to keep yourself from drowning in medical expenses otherwise. I hope these simple tips are helpful, even a bit.
How do you keep your kids healthy?