Saturday, December 20, 2014

Notes From A Daycare Provider: Getting Through Winter

Last week we were treated to a 40 degree day, which means the kids went crazy running around the backyard. There was no fighting over toys, no being told not to run (it was obviously encouraged), and there was no drama. It instantly made me miss the days of summer. I would simply open the back door and let the kids run and play. Sure I had activities for them to do outside, but for the most part, they came up with their own fun.

They made up the game "fishing for kids" (which also started our ban on jump ropes). They came up with a new way to play tag so that the little kids could play too. There was swimming, slip n slides and sprinklers. There were fruit pops to cool them down. There was happy laughing and very little pent up energy. Naps were amazing because the kids were worn out and not sick (like they are a good part of the winter). It made the days not quite so long. Even rough days weren't as rough as they seem in the colder months.

January is the toughest month of the year. The kids tend to get off of their schedules during the holidays, then they are cooped up without a way to get fresh air, energy builds inside of them, and no matter how many toy rotations I do, the toys seem like old news. Everyone is irritable and getting along is the least of the kiddos concerns in the middle of winter.

As much as I hate winter, it doesn't stop it from coming. I've got my ways to beat the winter blues with the kiddos, the most important being exercise time. If you'd like to see a group of 2-4 year olds doing jumping jacks, spinning in circles, balancing on a balance beam, doing somersaults, hopping, playing ring around the rosy, etc. come to my house every day where we have at least a half hour of exercise before nap times. This really helps expel their pent up energy. They're also allowed to yell, scream, use outside voices for 5 minutes of this time.

Other things that help get us through the winter: new toys, games, healthy food, a regular schedule, sensory activities, and bringing some of our summer fun inside with the water table, ball pit, and even some games of basketball and baseball have been known to be played in my living room.

While I plan on pulling out all of the tricks up my sleeve this winter, I'm counting down the days until sunshine, little pools, popsicles, and tans are part of our daily routine.

Need some more ideas of how to beat the winter blues with your little one(s). Check out this post from last winter: