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 Battle the Daycare Winter Blues in 4 Easy Ways
1. Go Outside
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.
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.
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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