No, I don’t mean the air temperature is giving them frosty cheeks. I mean are they going stir crazy and getting a little “moody” from being stuck inside?
The holidays are of course tons of fun for children. The lights, toys, presents, parties – it is, after all, the most wonderful time of year. But starting in January, kids often feel a big let down as life returns to a routine of school, homework, the winter blahs, and one big case of the “ordinary’s”. Especially when the weather turns frigid and outside activities come to a halt. Here are a few simple things that I do to keep my little man feeling happy and healthy.
– We talk about his feelings. It might sound corny but it works. I ask him simple things like how he is doing, is he bummed that he has to go back to school, is he bored to tears because he can’t really play outside. Sometimes simply letting your child verbalize their feelings let’s them get “out of their head” and moving along. Talking is always a good thing.
– I come up with a few easy and special activities. We might have game night, or Taco Tuesday (and he makes the tacos), or we eat dinner by candlelight. It doesn’t have to be a major production but you would be amazed at how happy a kid gets when they have something to look forward to.
– I get him to think about others who might be less fortunate. Places like Goodwill stores experience a dramatic drop off in donations after the holidays. This is the perfect time to give away a few old toys, especially now that they are no longer faves and since Santa just filled the house with new goodies. Thinking of others is a great way to build your child’s confidence by putting the emphasis on other people – and it teaches them to be thankful for the good in their lives.
– We spend a lot of time on the floor! That’s right, it’s pretty simple. We get on the floor and I become a part of his world. He does whatever he wants and I just follow along. Also, a good tickling session always puts a smile on our faces and fills the room with laughs. Talk about great bonding time! The point is to give your child undivided attention and be involved on their level… literally.
– We make every effort to get active… even if it is indoors. Something as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood or playing hide and seek around the house. Just get moving. I actually put a climbing rope in my sons room a few months ago (best $12 I have ever spent). Plus, the additional physical activity lessens the amount of time he watches TV or plays on a device. Good, old-fashioned fresh air and exercise, even in short bursts, is always a winning combo.
– I watch what he eats. I am really lucky in the fact that my son has great eating habits but still, when he is stuck inside he is like any other boy and he wants a bunch of snacks. A kid hopped up on sugar may seem like a good way to brighten their mood but, trust me, you don’t want to go there! Instead slice up the apples, get out the sugar free popsicles, or start popping popcorn. And get them involved. Teaching a few kitchen skills is another great way to beat the boredom.
– I make him part of my world. When I have errands to run (no matter how simple or small), I take him along. We will head to Home Depot or the grocery, and then maybe the drug store, and usually stop somewhere for lunch. Again, the bonding time is fantastic and the added bonus is that it keeps your children engaged in society and helps with their social skills.
No doubt about it – cold weather stinks and can be depressing but with some effort, you can easily keep your little ones in a good mood and probably help yourself beat the wintertime blues at the same time!