Winter months can be a challenging time for all of us, especially parents. With snow on the ground, freezing temperatures, and children cooped up inside, it can be a hard task to come up with activities to fight that cabin fever. Kids can become bored, challenging behaviors can increase, and their mental health may be negatively impacted.
So, how do we combat these negative feelings that typically come up in the winter? According to the American Psychological Association, several studies have shown that exercise benefits childhood mental health, behavior, attention, academic performance, and cognitive development.
Here are 4 ways to keep your kids busy and active to prioritize their (and your) mental health this winter:
- Kids Yoga on YouTube. This can be a quick, free, and easy way to get your kids up and moving, while still in the comfort of your home. By using a phone, tablet, or even a tv, you can pull up a kid’s yoga video, let a pre-recorded yoga instructor guide you and your child, and instantly turn your living room into a zen studio.
- Create an obstacle course. By using objects already in your house, you can create an obstacle course for you and your child. Try using couch cushions to jump over, or as something to stand on when “the floor is lava.” Paper plates can be used as disks to be thrown at a target. For an added challenge, try timing each other to beat your best personal time.
- Have a dance party. Sometimes everyone just needs to dance it out! Increase your child’s engagement by allowing them to help create a “dance party playlist” that the whole family can listen to.
- Active Family Game Time. Lead your family in classic games like charades, hide-and-seek, or Simon Says. These games all get the kids moving and, bonus points: practice skills like following directions, too, in fun ways for everyone.
You can also try to focus on encouraging toys that promote activity; and, if possible, avoid excess screen time or sedentary toys. Not only can this be a time for your children to have fun at home, but it can also serve as quality family time. Most importantly, have fun with it!
Caitlin Cuomo, MA, NCC
Reference: American Psychological Association. (2020, April 24). How and why to get children moving now.https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/children-exercise-strategies