Ahhhh, the dog days of… winter! Yes, the winter blues are upon us. No matter where you might live (unless you are reading this in Key West), it is probably cold, and gloomy, and dreary, and – if you’re a kid – BORING! As I write this, here in Nashville it is 35 degrees, dark, and rainy at 10 in the morning. My son has a bad case of the “want to wear shorts, climb a tree, go to the pool, and feel the sun” flu. Here is how to help your children beat the winter blues.
4 Fun Ideas To Help Kids Beat The Winter Blues
Well , like any good parent, I don’t want him droopy and sad all day so it is time to come up with a plan. Here are some cool ideas to heat up a cold day.
1 – LET THEM RUN IN THE HOUSE!
Remember when you were always told not to run in the house? I do just the opposite. I tell my son and his friends to take off their shoes and have at it! Go up and down the stairs, slide across the hardwood floors, run circles around the furniture. Yes, it might get a little annoying but trust me, it does wonders for their mood and it gets out a LOT of energy.
2 – GOT A HOME PROJECT ON THE “TO DO” LIST? HIRE THE KID!
Outside of the normal responsibilities and chores, I always have stuff around the house that needs done. This is the perfect time to teach some skills and some lessons about earning money. Everything from folding laundry to to cleaning the fridge to some big projects. I had a small bath that I wanted painted and I ‘hired” my son. Even at seven years old he did a great job at taping trim, laying out drop cloths, and even painting in the tough to get to spots like behind the toilet. It kept him busy for hours, he earned a few bucks, he had fun getting paint on his “painter clothes” and, most importantly, it gave him a sense of accomplishment.
3 – TURN THE GARAGE INTO A DANCE HALL/FITNESS CENTER/ART STUDIO…
Pull the car out of the garage and turn that space into whatever the occasion calls for! Our garage has been everything from a place for Nerf basketball, to a music pounding dance club, to the perfect spot for sidewalk chalk. I have even “outlined” the shape of the car on the floor and then gave my son the task of “drawing and filling in” the rest of the car once it was moved. You can also make a chalk four square court or try other garage activities. Staying active helps lift your spirits.
The garage is a great place to let them loose. You don’t care as much about the noise and the mess out there. Just make sure to remove any tools or garage items that could potentially be a hazard.
4 – GET OUTSIDE!
Whatever happened to kids playing outside no matter what the weather? Seriously? When I was young, my mom put me in whatever appropriate clothing and sent me out in the rain or the snow… and I had a blast. Now kids don’t want to step outside if it is sprinkling and below 50 degrees. They all think they are going to melt. Yes, they are our kids and yes, they are all made of perfect sugar cubes but I am still convinced that rain will not melt them! They have been reading about “Wimpy Kid” so much that they are becoming wimpy!
Parents, do little Johnny a favor. Put him in six layers of moisture wicking clothes, give him a hat, scarf, gloves, and duck boots, send him out into the frozen tundra and tell him to pretend he is exploring the Arctic! Send little Katie into the rain and tell her that it is just like what kids do living in London! Simply promise your little ones hot chocolate and a warm bath when they get back inside and it will be liberating! Plus, there is nothing better than a healthy dose of endorphins and fresh air to whisk away the winter blahs!
Feeling The Winter Blues For Real?
A short spell with the winter blues may be nothing to worry about, but feeling sad and falling into a depression as winter approaches every year likely signals something more is going on. It could be seasonal affective disorder SAD, which keeps many people feeling down in the cold, dark parts of the year.
True SAD symptoms show up as summer cools into autumn and get worse as winter settles in. It strikes women more commonly than men, and people living north of the 37th parallel– around the latitude of San Francisco– suffer more often from its effects. Symptoms closely resemble signs of depression, including low energy, little desire to spend time with others, consuming too many carbohydrates and gaining weight, sleeping too much or feeling sick like a mild case of flu.
As with any health concern, getting the right nutrition and exercise makes a major difference, even with seasonal depression. Avoid the winter blues by making sure your diet includes enough vitamin D, which is lacking when sunlight is low. Get outside and exercise to break yourself out of the fatigue, low energy and foul moods that SAD can bring. Make sure you consult a doctor if you or your child have any concerns about fighting the winter blues on an ongoing basis.
A good combination of breathing pure air, getting into the light, and taking care of your diet and exercise regime can make every winter brighter and healthier.
I hope these ideas help you do something different that will help with how to beat the winter blues. What are your favorite “bad weather” keep busy ideas? Share them with me because I think little man is getting bored and about to come back in the house!
Rob Youngblood is an Emmy Award Winning TV Host, Passionate and Inspiring Speaker, Communication Coach, and A Guy Who Talks for a Living! Learn more about him at youngbloodonthecoast.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.