Getting Our Children (and Ourselves) Through Winter Boredom–Part 1

Getting Our Children (and Ourselves) Through Winter Boredom--Part 1
Megan Demianiuk, MS, LMFT
Feeling cooped up? Do the winter chills, sniffles, sneezes, and scratchy throats have you feeling down and maybe a little irritable? Well, if you’re feeling that way, then it’s likely that your children probably are, too! This time of year is often tough. The excitement of the Christmas season is over, and we’re left with the long haul of the cold weather, mundane schedules, and frequent illnesses. It’s easy to become short with family members and lose patience with little ones who seem to push parents to the limit. Young children in particular don’t have the vocabulary or mental maturity to express themselves, and they tend to act out or misbehave in attempts to communicate how they feel.

If you notice some of these behaviors in yourself and your children, it is time to fight those winter lows! Sometimes we need to literally force ourselves to get up, get moving, and get adventurous! It will not only help your little ones make it through these cold winter months, but it will help you, too!

 

Try some new and creative things to beat winter boredom:

·  Make forts with blankets

·  Read books in the dark with flashlights

·  Have a picnic inside

·  Look at old photo albums

·  Play hide & go seek

·  Play with Play-Doh (purchased or homemade)

·  Make collages with old magazine pictures

·  Visit your local library or museum

·  Play pretend zoo with stuffed animals

·  Paint with washable watercolors

·  Borrow an exercise video from the library and do it with your children

·  Play “Simon says”

·  Make homemade pizza

·  Play blind-folded “guess this food”

·  Have a dance party

·  Visit a nursing home (if everyone is healthy at home)

·  Visit a pet store (almost like a fun, indoor, free “zoo”)

·  Take a walk in the mall

·  Play at a McDonald’s Playland

·  With your children, pick out old, unused books, clothes, and toys, then donate those items to charity. This not only helps them learn about giving to others, but you also benefit by making room for all the new stuff they got for Christmas.

·  Cook with your children

· Write snail mail letters together to send to loved ones (maybe include a quick “thank-you” for all those Christmas gifts)

·  Go bowling

·  Take a winter adventure walk

·  Build a snowman; go sledding or ice skating

·  Build (or buy) a bird feeder and watch for backyard visitors

 

It’s important to note that unending feelings of the “winter blues” that sap your energy and make you feel moody shouldn’t be shrugged off. You may be experiencing something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (also called SAD). It is a type of depression that affects a person during the same season each year, usually beginning in September or October and ending in April or May. If you get depressed in the winter but feel much better in spring and summer, you may have SAD and should seek help. Please call 800.438.1772 to find the nearest Christian Family Counseling office or click here to view our office locations. We also offer counseling via secure video in several states or through our Member Assistance Program. If you’d like to request an appointment, please click here.

 

Come back next month to learn more about this seasonal mood disorder. We will look at SAD more closely.