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The Hood Magazine

Fighting the Winter Blues

Jan 27, 2022 06:35PM ● By Jacqui Bonrud, M.A., BCBA, LBA, Behavior Care Specialists

By: Jacqui Bonrud, M.A., BCBA, LBA, Behavior Care Specialists  

Being stuck in the house all winter doesn’t sound like the best of times and preparing yourself and your child to do something different or to change their routine can be daunting and almost seem impossible. Changes in routine, weather, and overall unpredictability can be hard for your child. Here are some helpful tips to get you through those long winter days: 

  • Find an activity that peaks your child’s interest. This could include:  

  • Playing outside in the snow 

  • Going to an indoor gym where they can run around freely (e.g., trampoline park, sensory gym, indoor swimming pool) 

  • Indoor home activities: Making a fort, creating a “movie theatre”, baking, crafts, sensory play 

  • Don’t force an unfamiliar activity  

  • Instead: prepare your child for the activity ahead of time 

  • This could be through the use of visuals or shaping 

  • Shaping is taking small steps towards an overarching goal – if your child struggles with putting on their winter gear then start with one step at a time (i.e., only putting on their boots) and then allow them to take off their winter clothing until your child is fully ready and able to handle all the winter clothing to play outside 

  • Have your child be included in the activities and respect if they give you a signal, they aren’t ready for a certain activity 

  • You can do this through use of preference assessments (i.e., having your child pick through a variety of activities/items) 

  • Teaching them to state “no” or “all done” or use a picture card when an unpreferred activity is presented  

 

Overall, finding something for you and your child to engage in together in long, cold winter months is difficult especially when the weather includes negative degrees! Changing an activity can be a necessity, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. Preparing your child ahead of time through use of visuals, freedom in picking activities, and respecting their wishes if they are not ready for a new activity can all be helpful in fighting those winter blues!