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Start a New Family Holiday Tradition Together

With all the energy and attention that goes into making the holiday season bright, how do I keep family at the top of my list?


“Everyone runs in different directions preparing for the holidays, making it challenging to find time to connect as a family. However, it's important to build in some opportunities for relaxation and family togetherness,” says Helene Sheena, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Whether it’s spending an afternoon baking holiday cookies with the kids or putting out the decorations, it’s the time together that we cherish and remember.”

Dr. Sheena says that even the most mundane tasks can become fun when you do them together. She suggests these simple tips to help make it easier to create “family time.”

  • Family time doesn't necessarily mean that everyone is together at exactly the same time. Pair up with whichever family member isn’t already involved in an activity.
  • Think quality, not quantity. Expecting to find 30 minutes of “alone time” with each family member may not be practical. The key is to focus on each one, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, without cell phones, TVs or other electronic distractions.
  • Take time to enjoy a family meal and share the high points and struggles of the day or upcoming plans.
  • Involve the entire family in holiday shopping, wrapping gifts and cooking.
  • Take advantage of cooler weather to spend time outside. Walk the dog together, play catch or put on helmets and go for a neighborhood bike ride.

“It doesn’t matter whether you plan special activities or spend unstructured time with family, as long as you’re doing it together,” concludes Dr. Sheena, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Tanglewood Clinic.​

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Helene Sheena, MD, FAAP

​I believe that monitoring childhood developmental goals, stressing the importance of breastfeeding and addressing childhood obesity are key aspects of pediatric patient care.​​