Spring Fever: Staying the Course


Kids riding their scooters outside during the spring. It’s officially spring. The birds are chirping, the grass is green, and cute little animals are digging through our fresh new gardens. There is that carefree vibe in the air, and everyone is looking for an excuse to be outside. The kids are catching a case of spring fever.

It’s almost too easy to prioritize sunshine over housework and our kids may feel the same regarding homework and chores. After being cooped up all winter, who can blame them? The winter months force us to settle into a routine where we do the same things for so long that we eventually feel like we are in a rut. The chores never seem to end between shoveling snow and repeatedly picking up our kiddos’ wet jackets and snow boots off the floor as the coat hooks remain unoccupied.

You may even notice that meals are on rotation and are all comfort foods that leave us feeling full and sleepy. Even our grocery bills go up because going out to dinner isn’t as appealing as on a warm night in June.

The sky is a deep velvet when the clock strikes 4:00 p.m. You’ve most likely yawned at least 16 times before dinner, questioning why you’re so tired. The cold weather will do that to you, and all you want to do is snuggle up with your favorite fleece blanket and a cup of tea. Unfortunately, the show has to go on, and dinner, homework, and laundry are staples of the nightly routine.

Fast forward to spring, and our routines have become a breath of fresh air. However, with that comes the unintentional, more relaxed parenting style that can get out of control if we allow it to.

You’ll most likely find that the morning routine is pretty much the same as last season, except waking up to daylight instead of darkness, which, in my opinion, is a welcome change. Getting the kids ready and going to school is business as usual. The problem lies in the afternoon hours. As soon as 3 p.m. rolls around, you can expect your little ones to exit the bus only to hop on their bike or do a backpack drop before jetting back out the door.

This is to be expected when the weather warms up, and spring fever hits. This can quickly turn into a bad habit that will become harder to break if not addressed early on. The longer the playtime, the less chance your kids will be motivated to tackle their homework, especially if it becomes a daily occurrence.

Once this happens, boundaries must be established. Try setting up a schedule where your kids can play outside before homework twice a week. Give them a certain amount of time; if they go over that time, there will be a consequence.

This will introduce a slightly less restrictive rule delegation while controlling the situation. Your child will know that if they don’t follow the rules and complete the task you are requesting, they will lose the opportunity to enjoy time outdoors with neighborhood friends.

Based on their follow-through and willingness to listen, you can slowly build on this and introduce more time. The earlier you start, the better because kids focus less on school as the year winds down. They begin to have tunnel vision and count the days until summer, which promises even more freedom with camp, sports, vacations, and everything in between.

Another strategy worth trying is good old-fashioned empathy. Let your kids know that just as they are anxious to finish their school day and enjoy the sunshine, you are, too. Explain how you have responsibilities, and as much as you want to lay out in the backyard with your shades and Kindle, the daily routine of life still goes on, and we need to prioritize to reap the benefits.

As the seasons change, make time to embrace the little things like orange sunsets and the sound of the ice cream truck rolling by, but also keep your little ones heads out of the clouds and in the books for the next two months. There is still more to do before we can fully let go and detach from everyday life, but the result will be sunny!

Do your kids have spring fever? How do you get them to stay the course?


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