For some of us it’s already spring, the rest of you are still waiting but it is guaranteed to arrive eventually. It’s a beautiful sunny day outside my window so I’m going to share some thoughts about kids in the spring.
I’m sitting here at my desk staring at the computer screen. At least I’m pretending to be staring at the screen so that I can fool myself into believing that I’m working. Really I’m gazing out the window.
My office is in my home and has a view of the river, the bridges and the town where I live. I am up on the eighteenth floor and the outlook is astonishing. I love my vista over the city but in the spring it is more distracting than any other time of the year. I look down on the flowers, the growing grass and the pedestrians in their sweaters and light jackets rather than coats. Now, I live on the west coast so often the view includes the range of rain hats and umbrellas.
It’s not unusual that children, like me, are restless, daydreaming and driving their parents to distraction in the spring. While parents notice the changes in their children they often attribute it to misbehavior. But it’s spring fever and it’s real. Many of us find ourselves in the garden, on the golf courses and at the ballpark. And that’s normal and healthy. In our community there are always news stories every year about how many adults skip out of work on opening day at baseball’s Nat Bailey Stadium. There they are in their suits with their cell phones and hot dogs.
There are some typical child behaviors we see in the spring.
• Light at Bedtime
Every child is different but certainly as soon as it is light outside children want to stay up later. Instead of getting angry, parents can first realize that this is a reasonable reaction. When I was little my mother would recite the poem, Bed In Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson about a child who hates to go to bed when it is still light outside. The poem let me know that she understood my feelings. Mind you, I still had to go to bed.
For children who really have a problem with the light, consider darker curtains. Older kids may be willing to wear an eyeshade.
Daydreaming is not all bad. Remember lying on the grass looking at the clouds and discussing the shapes? Instead of discouraging your children, join them. We do a lot of talking about how children watch too much TV and don’t engage in creative play. Well, use this daydreaming time of year to teach your children how to let their minds roam and wander. It won’t hurt we adults either.
Spring is also a time when children want to spend time outdoors. Again, join them. Go for walks and see the new flowers, baby ducks and bird’s nests. Go to the park and play on the swings or toss around a baseball.
If you encourage outdoors play by joining in, your children will benefit by having fun with you while they get needed fresh air and exercise.
Kids always benefit from outdoor play. If your kids are normally reluctant to play outdoors use Spring fever as a chance to start a new habit. Put on old clothes and let them run, play get dirty and just have a great time.
Some people get very silly in the spring. If you are one of these, go ahead. It won’t hurt your children to see you being silly. If you child is one of these then have fun. Turn regular activities into games, laugh and joke while you pick up the toys. The world will not fall apart because a job is not done seriously.
Of course life must go on and children, like adults, can’t use the onset of spring as a chance to avoid homework, piano practice and chores. But, when you acknowledge your child’s spring fever, when you make room for her need to daydream, and to be outside, to play, then your child will be much more willing and able to take on the regular tasks.
Sarah is shy, Jared is bossy and Pat is Easy-Going.
What do we need to know about different temperaments?
One thing we learn about kids is that every child is unique and different. My mini guide e-book, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments addresses some of the temperaments we see in our kids.
I looked at my two children who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a textbook example of different.
But, now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking.
The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments. The guide is available on my website.
How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?
I offer keynotes and workshops, and have written books, have ongoing newspaper columns, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
I look forward to working with you for your professional development, workplace wellness or parenting education event.