Do Your Kids Have Spring Fever? [AUDIO]
It's that time of year again. The flowers are beginning to bloom, the birds are chirping, the temperatures are going up along with the energy level of many of our children.
But 'spring fever' doesn't have to cause problems in the house or at school.
"Don't fight it," said Dr. Steven Tobias, Director of the Center for Child and Family Development in Morristown. "Kids need to go out and play. They need unstructured free play opportunities. When the weather gets warmer, the outdoors become very inviting. Of course, we want to keep them focused and we want them to get their school work done, but they do need time to get outside to play, explore, ride bikes, hang out with other kids and to just be kids."
Having schedules, structure and routine is very important to keep this extra energy from getting out of hand.
"Giving kids the time they need to get out and play is important. I would not discourage that impulse in kids. As long as you have rules and routines at home that are firmly established and consistently enforced, children will adapt. When they push limits, it's because they are inconsistent. By having rules consistently enforced, they'll adapt and they'll stop pushing them once they know that it is just the way it is," said Dr. Tobias.
Children like routine. In fact, they thrive on it.
"Having specific times for them to do their homework, go out and play, come in and have dinner is important. The more you can set up schedules and follow through with routines, the more they will respond. It helps them feel secure as well," said Dr. Tobias. "It should be the same in the classroom. It's ok for teachers to give them a break once in a while."
"It's important for them to get out and get that energy out to help them focus better in the classroom. You have to have a healthy respect for human nature and it's perfectly normal for a child to want to get outside and run around."