How to Battle the Daycare Winter Blues in 4 Easy Ways

Your kiddos have the daycare winter blues.

It’s February. So when you look outside, you can see the ground a veritable frozen wasteland of mud and asphalt-covered slush. The sky is some gloomy nondescript color of gray that could only be described as Yuck. Inside, your Little’s feel it. You feel it. Every Yuck winter day, you chug your 3rd cup of too-cool coffee, while the kids bicker and battle and tattle. You have the Daycare Winter Blues.

How to beat the daycare winter blues in 5 easy ways

How to Battle the Daycare Winter Blues in 4 Easy Ways

1. Go Outside

How to battle the daycare winter blues in 4 easy ways
Bundled up and ready to play outdoors!

Yes, it is cold and gloomy as balls (yes I said that) outside. Yes, it will take more time to get them ready to go out then you will actually spend outside. BUT! It’s fresh air. There’s some vitamin D happening behind those cloud-covered rays. There is actually a school of thought in places like Stockholm that the cold air is beneficial to children, and its a regularly practice to leave your (bundled) kid out to nap in freezing temperatures.

Not only will the activity of getting ready to go outside (which is ALSO a terrific chance to practice practical life skills!) busy your bored and angst-y Littles, but a little fresh air and space to run will certainly help them beat those daycare winter blues, at least for the afternoon. And don’t worry they’ll get cold and want to go in after 15 minutes in the Yuck every bit as much as you do.

2. Change up the toys

This is in part, a post for another day but I don’t have ALL the daycare toys and activities available to my Littles . I like to rotate toys out when the kids get bored. You’ll know it’s time when they start fighting among themselves and tattling incessantly. That’s a pretty good indicator that your kids have the daycare winter blues, and need some help.

Not to compare children to zoo animals, but if the shoe fits… I had an uncle who worked for a zoo, who told me that they had to regularly put new items in the cages for the animals for enrichment. If not, the animals go stir crazy, they lose feathers and fur, pick at each other, get depressed… sound familiar? So take away and box up some stuff they  see regularly but don’t play with often, and pull out some new toys. Don’t just put it on a shelf. Put it front and center for when they wake up from nap, or better yet- let them WATCH you dig up new toys to put out. It will be like Christmas morning all over again.

how to battle the daycare winter blues in 4 easy ways

3. Change up the layout of the playroom

This kind of goes hand-in hand with number two, but bear with me. The reason kids (and their caregivers) get so restless during the daycare winter blues is because they are BORED. They need change and fresh and fun!! What a better way to change things up then to create a new atmosphere in their play area (where they spend SO much time, EVERY day, since outside is not as much of an option)? Drag around bookshelves, tables, pillows. Have the kids help you. This is their space too, let them suggest ideas of where to put things! Make it a fun, collaborative effort, and the Littles just may find their new space exciting and fresh again.

4. Get your kids MOVING

Kids need to move. They need to jump and yell and dance and wiggle. Movement is not only important for kids to work their energy out, but it is vital to their brain development. It’s hard, cooped up inside, and so the daycare winter blues settle in. Playing games, allowing some leniency for rough or fast play, pillow fights, are all excellent ways to work some movement in to your day. However my two favorite ways to carry out movement into your kids daily routine are dance parties and kids yoga.

Hello, YouTube!

how to battle the daycare winter blues in 4 easy ways
Cosmic Kids Yoga

While I do try to limit my kids TV, particularly during the winter season, YouTube is my best friend for getting the kids to move! We LOVE to dance to the playlists I created for them. Laurie Berkner, Jim Gill, and Jack Hartman’s 100 by 1’s are some of our favorites!

And the Yoga isn’t your mama’s slow, even paced yoga. My kids ADORE Cosmic Kids Yoga. We stream it for free, straight from YouTube. She tells a story and moves her body into various yoga positions as she talks, and the kids follow along. It’s fabulous for practicing listening skills, following direction, and of course, moving their bodies! I did find that the kids were more likely to stick with the story line if I followed along and did it with them. After all, kids don’t care if you look silly!

Hopefully these 4 simple tips will help your daycare children (and you!) beat those awful daycare winter blues! What are some ways you help your kids overcome this restless time of year? What are the biggest tip offs and behaviors that you notice in your Littles?

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Lauren Lewis is no stranger to childcare development, having spent over 10 years as a nanny or family childcare provider. She’s the wife of a travel geek, mother of two vivacious children, and has an amazing talent for trailing lost things behind her a la Hansel and Gretyl. Her varied background in writing, child development, marketing, and enthusiasm for mess-making provided the perfect foundation for The Playground Chronicles. Her life is full of busy, crazy and LOUD. It is full of love and hope, ups and downs. And coffee, always lots of coffee- but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

More information and her work can be found at www.the-playground-chronicles.com

21 Comments

  1. Stacy- Taylor411

    February 23, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    These are great ideas. I would have never thought to move the playroom around.

    1. Lauren Lewis

      February 24, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Thank You! I do it ALL. THE. TIME. I’m not sure how much of it is my need for it to be “perfect” and constantly improving, or if its just my own boredom because I get tired of looking at the same space all the time.

  2. Rosemary

    February 23, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Yes! I love all these suggestions. We’ve had nice weather for the last week with 60+ degree weather. Now we’re expecting a ton of snow for the weekend. Whomp whomp!

    1. Lauren Lewis

      February 24, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Where are you at? We are experiencing the same thing here in Central Indiana. (Lucky me, we are going on vacation next week!)

      1. Rosemary

        February 25, 2017 at 4:05 am

        I’m in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. We’re pretty close by! We’ve been to Indianapolis a couple of times. Love it there! This weather is so crazy. It just started to snow tonight. So sad.

        1. Lauren Lewis

          March 13, 2017 at 12:47 am

          Oh yes! You have it worse for sure! Lakefront wind is no joke!

  3. Jenna@athomewithkids.com

    February 24, 2017 at 2:57 am

    These are great ideas! I will be using them for my kids at home too! Thank you!

  4. Shann Eva

    February 24, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Such great ideas! We definitely get the winter blues here in WI, so these are all great to break-up our routine. I love rotating toys, and need to work on the playroom. That’s crazy that they take naps out in the cold in Sweden, though 🙂

    1. Lauren Lewis

      February 24, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Thank You! I thought the thing about sweden was interesting too!! Rotating toys is my lifeline for battling boredom!

  5. Jasmine Hewitt

    February 24, 2017 at 5:11 am

    These are great ideas, I need to get my son into cosmic kids yoga

    1. Lauren Lewis

      February 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      I’m telling you- It’s amazing!

  6. Tina

    February 24, 2017 at 6:38 am

    We have a dance party! When my kids have reached their limit of being cooped up, I know because they all become $#&t@$$es – like all 4 of them at the exact same moment. It’s like they planned to turn on me. So I crank up the music and we have a dance party. They get some energy out, and as an added bonus, if they’re still whining /screaming/fighting, the music covers the sound!

    1. Lauren Lewis

      February 24, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      We LOVE dance parties! You are hilarious (and so accurate! hahaha!)

  7. Jacqui

    February 25, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    I love using youtube for my kids and dance. They have an awesome clean up song that works great to get my oldest motivated. I actually used to work in a child care facility and these could be used there as well. Not just in-home.

  8. Miles and Ellie

    February 26, 2017 at 5:16 am

    These are really great tips! We do our best to get outside every day! I can’t imagine staying couped up inside all the time.

    1. Lauren Lewis

      March 13, 2017 at 12:47 am

      It’s rough! Good for you!

  9. Inez

    March 1, 2017 at 7:40 am

    These ideas are awesome! I am going to change the room around and definitely going to check out your playlists. We love youtube for music and dancing, too!

    1. Lauren Lewis

      March 13, 2017 at 12:46 am

      Thank you! It really helps revitalize a playroom, to move things around. ❤️

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