A few weeks ago, I received a great question from Barb on the Julieverse Facebook page about behavior at school during the winter months. I find that kids truly do experience the winter blahs or winter blues and it does affect both their behavior and their educational learning.
I have a question for you as a former teacher. I’ve noticed that my kids act out in different ways at school this time of year. It’s becoming a recurring pattern with all of them. Is this normal? Did you find as a teacher that kids struggled a bit during January and February? Thanks! –Barb, A Life in Balance
YES!! This is a hard time of year for everyone, Barb. The kids are stuck inside so much of the day and can’t get their energy out and, as we well know, creativity and energy use in the curriculum are being cut left and right. (Sorry… darn soapbox slipped under my feet AGAIN). I’d ask the teachers what’s being done to help the kids regain focus and transition from one activity to another. What you’ll want to hear about is movement and logic activities that will give the kids a second to use their brains and bodies differently. Some great activities for classroom use are listed below.
Beating the winter blues at home
There are also things you can do at home to help your kids with their in-school behavior during the cold, dark winter. Ideas include
- shop for brighter colored clothes, school supplies, and room accessories;
- enrolling your kids in a gym or sport program that will encourage them to use their energy after school (swimming, basketball, indoor track, gymnastics or just gym classes in general are all easily accessible);
- playing movement games with them (even on the wii or xBox–I jump in and play Just Dance with my kids a few times a week to get everyone moving)
- playing outside as much as possible (this includes walking home fromthe bus, rather than being picked up in the car–even in the cold!);
- because the sun is the best opportunity to get Vitamin D, you can offer your kids Vitamin D supplements (I’d talk to your doctor, first!). There are a variety of Vitamin D supplements for children, including Smartypants Gummy Vitamins with Omega 3 Fish Oil and Vitamin D, 120 Count.
Also, remember that for everyone (kids and adults, alike), this time of year, and it’s darkness, are difficult times in general. Depression reaches higher rates — in fact there’s a clinical term for this: Seasonal Affective Disorder which often begins in the teen years. So definitely keep your eyes on your kids (here’s a list of symptoms) and talk to them about what’s going on. If your concern continues, be sure to take your kids to their doctor for futher help.
Ideas to beat the winter blues at school
- transition movement: have the class get up and move between lessons and activities, even if it’s a quick circle around the classroom
- learning while moving: I used to have my kids learn their spelling words while performing jumping jacks or stretching
- get outside! Again, the cold won’t hurt anyone, so bundle up and take the kids out to the playground for 5-10 minutes each day
- go on a hallway walk or run an errand: sometimes an individual child just needs to move, so have a stack of “important errands” that kids can run when the need to get out — sometimes it’s as simple as delivering a note to another teacher
- take a break: my son’s third grade teacher takes a quick break and lets the kids play and move. Sometimes they’ll play a round of Scattergories (sidenote: this is a great teacher gift!), other times they’ll find partners who have things in common “if your favorite subject at school is reading, walk to the back corner.”
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you. Image credit: Clare Bloomfield.
© 2013, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.