Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Helping your child beat the winter blues

Did you know Canada.. we have a guest post today from Trudy Abood, on how to help your child beat the winter blues.

When we think of children in the wintertime, we usually conjure up images of kids tobogganing, snow ball fights, snow angels, and building snowmen. Warm fuzzy feeling things like sipping hot cocoa by the fire also come to mind.

But unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Oftentimes it's too cold or wet to play outside, and families are too busy too sit down and relax long enough to enjoy some rest and relaxation. The kids end up sitting around the house, watching TV, playing video games, complaining about how bored they are, even of all their fancy new Christmas presents. This, by the way, could be part of the reason the rest of the winter seems so dull. All those fantastic gifts and yummy food, the sights and sounds, and the getting together drops suddenly away to the cold, grey days and long, dark nights.



Watch out for Seasonal Affective Disorder

If any of this sounds familiar, your child could be developing symptoms of what is know in adults as Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's been shown to occur in about 1 in 20 adults who live in regions which experience major seasonal shifts. While not as serious, SAD is a form of depression, and if you have concerns they should be addressed. For more info on SAD, click here.

What is important is to not take a day of feeling bored and down in the dumps and slap a label on it. More often than not it could just be a lack of energy or inspiration. People of all ages tend to move around less in the winter, and by doing so we tend to shut down a little. The same thing happens in kids. They maybe aren't quite as creative as usual when it comes to inventing ways to keep occupied. There are a few ways you can help.

The two biggies that go hand in hand are diet and exercise. I'm not talking about protein shakes and a workout, here, just good old fashioned nutrition and some steady active play. Be sure to keep the fruits and veggies readily available for snacks, as well as adding them to meals. They're full of all kinds of nutrients to help boost energy and keep the brain buzzing along.

Finding things to do

As for staying active, outdoor play when possible is obviously the best. But when the weather won't permit, encourage active indoor games like charades, or hide and seek. Anything to keep them moving a little bit helps. Another good way to keep kids active, if they're old enough, is having them help out with chores. Offering a slightly larger than usual incentive on one hand can get them moving, but also by having something exciting to look forward too you're helping to keep the mind active.


If possible, contact parents of other children and organize a group activity of some kind. Social interaction has been shown to improve activity levels and spark interest in new things. Whether it's a bunch of kids tobogganing or simply inside playing a board game, being around others helps to stimulate the mind and pass the time.

There are all kinds of ways to keep your kids active both mentally and physically in the cold winter months. For more tips, check around the web and ask other parents what kinds of things they do to keep their children busy. There's a chance you may benefit from a little interaction yourself!


About the author; Trudy is the VP of GourmetGiftBaskets.com, one of the top suppliers of quality gift baskets. She is a mom of 2 boys, one of which founded GGB and the other is also VP at the company. She formally owned Chalifour's Flowers in Manchester, NH; the largest flower shop in the state.

15 comments:

  1. We always try and keep the kiddos busy with DIY activities or baking A LOT in the Winter. We also do sleep over with cousins and have lots of play dates. What a great post!

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  2. Wow! You know, I never really thought about children having SAD! This is such a great post! Thanks for sharing!

    Little One is kept busy with DIY activities, baking, crafts, etc. We have play dates with her friends too. We go sledding with her friends and their parents. We live on a farm, so there's always something for her to do and have fun with! Even if it is bugging our barn cats and our dog! LOL!

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  3. I'm reading this post and all I'm thinking is I WISH my kids would stop moving, like ever. They're still little though. I think the whole too much video games/TV sluggish thing doesn't come until they're older.

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  4. Sure it can be harder to get going during the dark winter month! but even just 20-30 min. outdoors can boost the energy level. Thanks for the good ideas for activities :)

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  5. These are great ideas, I tend to put my eldest in swimming or dance during the winter. Definitely things outdoors when it's nice enough. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  6. Thanks for this post guys - really good tips. It's really important to keep an eye on young ones for signs of mental illness of any sort!! If it's caught early, the likelihood of a more normal life and proper management is much higher.

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  7. Some great tips! This winter has been very hard with the lack of snow!

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  8. I think it is so important to realize that our kids are also affected by the seasonal blues. Good tip and great post.

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  9. Thanks for posting about this. I have read a little about it lately, and it's great to see some tips to help!

    SASS
    http://www.talesofmommyhood.blogspot.com/2012/02/winterlude-fun.html

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  10. Sadly SAD affects so many, young and old. These are some great tips that can really help. I know that there are certain "sun" lamps that help as well but I think keeping healthy year round is a great way to fight it.

    SASS
    http://www.facesbyfarah.com/2012/02/homemade-granola-bars-fast-easy-healthy.html

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  11. I've already stopped by this post, but wanted to say hi because I'm here again :) Thanks so much for pariticpating in SASS this week!

    ~SASS (host)
    http://www.multitestingmommy.com/2012/02/nows-your-chance-to-sass-back-with_10.html

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  12. Thanks for the post! I think it's very important to keep your kids engaged by being outside, especially in the winter. Admittedly, I'm not the best at building snowmen but I sure try hard, lol.

    Even with all the video games and electronic stuff, we try to get out at least once a day to beat the winter blues.

    Thanks again!

    Visiting from SASS
    http://canadiandad.com/dads-kids-video-games-and-animal-awareness/

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  13. It's good advice for adults as well as for children! I think it's too easy for adults to get stuck in a rut indoors, so going outside is a good idea for us as well!

    Thanks!



    (Visiting from SASS)

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  14. Until reading this it somehow never occurred to me that kid's could get hit by S.A.D. months too. Great article. Thanks! - SASS

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  15. Keeping active during the winter can be so difficult with the snowsuits, cold weather and darkness it can bring everyone down.

    Thanks for participating in SASS this week!

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