It’s that time of the year when most of us are knee deep in winter. Some of us love it, others wish it would just go away. Even our kids who love winter will sometimes become tired of it, but most of the time burning off excess energy in the snow is just what they (and we) need so that they could learn better. Exceptional Kids are no different. Yes, they have sensory issues which may make playing outside challenging (extra clothing, cold, winter, texture of snow etc) or they may love it so much that they don’t want to come back inside. Regardless though, it is a great way to jump start their little systems to learn better and handle things like stress better. This week has been carnival week for week at school, and I have seen him in a better place emotionally, albeit a little more on the tired side. We are working on getting him to bed earlier at night which is challenging, but I have notice him more relaxed with handling stress than during a week with less physical activity.
Over the weekend I took him to a local carnival in our neighborhood and noticed the same thing. The movement helped him with listening and having less behavior issues. Why not take advantage of the beauty of winter, playing in the snow, making snowmen, sledding? Ok, I know most of us adults dread the clearing of snow, the traffic going to work or running errands etc. but look up at what it could offer our kids and let’s use it to their advantage. What are some games that can help your Exceptional Kids burn off steam? Here are a few:
- Making snow castles: This could be as simple as putting a sand bucket on the snow and pressing down. Works on fine motor skill and is fun!
- Snow angels: A lot of kids who are hyposensitive would LOVE the idea of lying down in snow and moving vigorously. It will give their bodies the feedback they need, as well as a beautiful work of art in the snow at the end, their angel!
- Sledding: At first parents could pull them in the sled and once they are comfortable, they could start sledding down small hills.
- Snowman building: This is a tricky one for kids with attention issues and fine motor difficulties. But with an adult’s help this could be a great bonding experience. Social skills and talking could be practiced along with physical skills of building
- Ice sculpture: Michael LOVED chipping away at the snow with a pick. This would be for older children who can be trusted with a sharp pick. He was told he could build or destroy. He chose to destroy parts of an ice sculpture already up at our carnival and enjoyed the motion of picking away at the ice and forming something else.
These are just basic examples of what kids can do outside. It’s a great way to stimulate early learning and help them balance body and mind. This is especially helpful for those learners who learn better with movement.
Exceptional Parents, what do you find help your Exceptional Children learn best? What tricks do you use? The important thing is, as always, to go with the flow for your child, and to make sure that they have healthy ways to regulate their bodies and minds. Once you have the formula down, it will be amazing to see how kids will respond to learning in new environments. Until next time.
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