Q: How do I manage the challenges of “spring fever” many children are feeling right now?
We have certainly experienced a LONG winter. Spring, although a time of growth and awakening, is also a time for restlessness for many children. Understanding the developmental cycles of children and indicators of growth during seasonal changes can better prepare you for the onslaught of increased energy observed (during a pandemic, no less!) in most classrooms and at home.
Since 1949, the month of May has been considered Mental Health Month. “Spring Fever” once coined by psychologist reflects the surge of energy many feel after a sedentary winter mostly inside. Longer days and more sunlight produce an adjustment of melatonin which affects mood changes and sleep patterns. Like a hive of bees, young learners struggle to work when all they want to do is buzz around, socialize and explore. As an eighth-grade teacher, one can imagine how difficult it was to accomplish a day’s objectives when it was warm and sunny outside.
Remembering the priority of wellbeing by seeking practical ways to manage and improve mental health for yourself and the children you care for is key. Here are few examples of how this can be accomplished:
- Decrease pressures. Limit the demands of deadlines and the push for plowing through assignments.
- Balance emotions. Some days there may be a surge of good feelings and some of bad. This is normal. Allowing children to feel them balances their emotions appropriately.
- Talk less/Listen more. Rapid hormonal development occurs in multiple ways during this time. Giving children the floor to share more is a positive way to embrace that growth. Even when venting frustrations.
- Increase sensory stimulation. Have a day to feel the grass between toes, see the colors in nature and listen to the song of the birds in the trees. This allows them to embrace the awakening happening all around.
- Enjoy the sun! Take learning outside and don’t be ashamed to make a deal, bargaining work completion for play time is an easy way to lighten up.