NDSU Extension Service - Sargent County

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Finding the Silver Lining in Winter

Finding the Silver Lining in Winter  1/20/17Winter weather gets used as an excuse for not doing lots of things.  However, it can also be engaging because it provides opportunities to do some other things instead.

To show enthusiasm and excitement about the adventure of discovery and the joy of lifelong learning is one of the privileges and responsibilities of being the parent, grandparent, or other caring adult in a child’s life.  That kind of enthusiasm is contagious, and it’s worth catching! 

My husband and I were with our grandkids last weekend.  I had started working on this news column before leaving the office on Friday night, so while we were with our grandkids I tapped into some of the ideas described below.  Yes, a good time was had by all!  Hopefully you find the same to be true for you!

* Toddlers and preschoolers like imitation and physical movement, so simple indoor or outdoor obstacle courses are a ton of fun.  Re-discover the kid in you and have fun going through it with the kiddos!  Use everyone’s imagination to make up a story that goes with the obstacle course. Let it be an imaginary jungle, bear hunt, or other adventure.  Make it come alive by using sounds or songs as you make your way through it.   

“Fun Family Activities for Children 3 to 5,” has lots of ideas for this age group.  It is a free book, available from NDSU Parent Resource Centers (https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pen)

* Elementary-age kids also need physical activity. Go outside for even a short while when that’s possible. Just putting on all of those layers of winter clothing is good exercise! If going outdoors is out of the question, dance or exercise indoors.  Try yoga as a way to get calm and stretch at the same time. It has no age minimums or maximums, and the adult doesn’t have to be the leader.  If the kids have learned yoga in school, ask them to lead, or check the internet for some yoga moves and music.

* Middle school students might enjoy having a look at your life when you were their age. Take out the old photo albums and talk about the people and places you discover between the pages. Sharing your younger self can be a great connecting, conversing and learning time with your children.

* Be the reader you want your kids to be. When your child sees you reading for leisure, it will be much easier to convince them it is important.  Turn off the screens and sit down to read a book.  Alternatively, chapter books can be read aloud, with pauses for discussion of what was read. 

* Dedicate a set amount of time for reading each evening.  Start small with a goal of just ten minutes so you can be successful.  Increase or exceed the targeted goal as you get into this good habit. 

* Talk to your high school-age kids about what you and they are reading. Try reading the same books and comparing thoughts from each of your age perspectives.

For more information, visit the Children, Family and Finances section of the NDSU Extension Service website at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/cff , or contact your county extension office.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/winter-winter-time-lettering-cold-643263/   (downloaded 1/24/17)

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