Winter 2023: What to do with children when darkness falls at five?

Science and Health

Winter is nearing, and with it comes the end of Daylight Savings Time.

On October 28-29 at 2:00 AM, the clocks will be set back one hour.

While this grants us an extra hour of sleep, the change can bring about feelings of stress or depression for many. This is particularly true for parents of young children who often spend their evenings in the playground until darkness falls.

However, during winter, darkness sets in as early as 5:00 p.m., leaving playgrounds empty and parents searching for indoor activities to keep their children entertained.

The recent tragic events in the south have only heightened the gloomy atmosphere, further affecting the mood of both parents and children. Though these circumstances are beyond our control, there are numerous activities that can be enjoyed indoors and outdoors, even during the early evening hours, that also contribute to a child’s development. Here are five options:

1. Let them help with the housework

Involve your children in household chores, such as helping prepare dinner by cutting lettuce into small pieces or squeezing lemon juice for salad dressing. Other tasks like dusting tables and low shelves or taking laundry out of the machine or dryer can also empower children and make them feel more capable. These activities also strengthen their shoulder girdle and fingers, improve manual coordination between their right and left hands, and enhance fine and gross motor skills.

2. Build them a tent under the table

Create a shelter or tent using a sheet or blanket under the dining room table. Inside, you can read together, play with dolls, assemble Lego, or even engage in a game of hide and seek with younger children. Hiding within the tent creates a calming environment, fosters imaginative play, and develops the child’s play abilities.



3. Take advantage of the time for joint exercise

Lay out a mattress on the floor and play yoga cards, where each person takes turns performing a yoga pose that others must imitate. You can also play rhythmic songs in the background and dance together or try a “wheelbarrow” game, where you hold the child’s feet while they walk on their hands. This activity brings joy to the child while strengthening their shoulder girdle and core muscles.

4. Dough or clay for a more relaxing feeling

Engage in creative games with modeling clay. Take the dough or clay out of the drawer and create different shapes and figures together. The act of kneading and rolling itself promotes a sense of regulation and calmness.

5. Flow with the early darkness – and prepare flashlights

Take advantage of the remaining pleasant days before the rain arrives by spending time in the garden while there is still daylight. When it gets dark, return home with small glowing lanterns.

The journey with the illuminated lanterns will captivate the child’s interest and provide immense pleasure. As we transition into winter, spending more time at home with family is essential. Take this opportunity to enjoy board games, shared dinners, and other home and family entertainment, accompanied by a cup of tea or delicious, indulgent chocolate — fun and heartwarming.

By engaging children in various activities and making the most of their time together, parents can create a warm and fulfilling winter experience for the whole family.