Helping Your Kids Beat the Winter Blues

As a recovering cold weather curmudgeon, I’ve often experienced the winter blues. Winter blues are feelings of sadness, tiredness, and lack of motivation during the darkest, coldest months. Difficulty sleeping and trouble getting up again in the morning often go along with winter blues too. 

The winter blues are not the same as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADD), which is a clinical diagnosis that may require more than lifestyle changes to treat. I’m not a medical professional, so this list is just some tips to make winter more fun for your family (you can see our full disclaimer at If you suspect you or a family member needs professional attention, you should seek it out. 

Fortunately for most of us, feeling down in winter is due to lack of sunlight, inactivity, and the aftermath of the holidays. It’s also true that kids are not exempt from these effects on their dispositions. We can all take a few simple steps to perk up without having to wait for spring. 

Get Some Sun

Humans need sunlight. It gives us vitamin D and helps our bodies regulate our circadian rhythm. Between the short hours of daylight and lots of cloud cover, we get precious little sun on our faces. Some people can go days without seeing or feeling natural light. 

Luckily, kids in school get some recess time during the day and have classrooms with windows. Keeping curtains open at home fills the house with natural light. If you have windows in your workplace, then let the sun in whenever possible.

Planning to spend time outside when the weather permits helps you get some sunshine and physical activity.

Stay Active

Get outside as much as you can in winter. Since that’s not always possible, you can plan other ways to keep your bodies moving through the coldest time of year. We recently joined our local YMCA and signed the kids up for swimming lessons. We are hitting the gym, too. 

If a monthly membership is not something you’re interested in, you can stay active at home. There are hundreds of free videos on YouTube from HIIT training, walk-in-place programs, yoga, Pilates, and more. You can find anything to suit your fitness level. Getting the whole family involved will be fun for all.

Eat Healthy

We should eat well all year, of course. But it is especially important when we are coming down off the Christmas sugar high. I know that by the time the holidays are over, I’m ready to lighten our daily diet. We still enjoy treats, comfort foods, and desserts often enough. Lately, though, I’ve found that simple fresh fruits and veggies go well with meals and kids love them. Chopping up some carrot sticks or slicing apples makes for an easy side on busy weeknights anyway. 

Get Enough Sleep

Young children need 10-12 hours of sleep each night. Having a bedtime routine helps. Teens tend to experience a shift in their sleep rhythm where they fall asleep later and wake later in the morning. If you can accommodate this shift, that’s great. If not, then a bedtime routine that limits screens and caffeine after a certain hour is good for helping them get 8-10 hours each night. 

Enjoy Time Together

You can ease winter blues by enjoying family time. This can take almost any form. Our family enjoys board games and doing puzzles together. We also like to host parties. You can do those things, enjoy a funny movie with popcorn, do art projects, read aloud together, assemble Legos, and more. Your imagination is the limit. The point is to have fun together and laugh. It will keep everyone’s mood up through the doldrums of winter. 

I hope this list inspires you to try some enjoyable and healthy activities. Show us all your winter fun by tagging us @trailfamilylife on Instagram. 

Categories Family activities, Health and fitness, resource, WinterTags , ,

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