TIP of the WEEK: Beating the Winter Blues

January 24, 2014


The winter months can be a difficult time for all of us but for a child or adult with PWS the boredom and isolation of winter can be grueling. Less sunlight, cold weather and the lack of special events such as holidays and get togethers keeps us inside and less social and this can lead to boredom at best and seasonal depression at worst. Here are some ways to beat the winter blahs:
Plan at least one social event between February and March. This can be anything from an extended family dinner, a basement dance party for the kids or any get together that requires some planning and a change in the day to day routine. Let your child help in the planning and use a calendar to count down the days. This gives them and you something to focus on and look forward to.
Make a winter reading list. If your child can read encourage them to do so often and make this a part of their daily routine. If your child can’t read, use audio books. These can be downloaded free through your local public library. Reading to your child is also an option but audio books will allow your child to independently spend their downtime. Avoid activities that require you to be directly involved all of the time because doing so teaches your child to depend on others for their entertainment and this is unrealistic especially as they get older. If your child is careful with books then your public library is a great option. If they are not then online stores such as Amazon have very inexpensive used books to purchase.
Winter is a great time to do indoor projects like redecorating. Get your child involved in redesigning their bedroom or play area. Go online, pick themes and plan. The idea is to get them invested and interested in making their room their own and the project itself gives you and them something to break the monotony.
Winter is a great time to plan your spring activities such as gardening. Use this time to plan, order seeds, start seedlings and design your spring garden. Kids and adults with PWS are typically very good at this kind of a project because it requires a concrete and spatial thought process, something they are most often quite good at.
The bottom line is to create light and hope during a time of the year that many struggle through. Plan activities. Use books instead of tv as much as you can as this will allow for greater use of their imagination and less time to zone out. Plan fun indoor activities that everyone can look forward to. And when the temperature isn’t too unbearably cold, go outside! Winter is a beautiful time to explore nature and participate in outdoor activities.
We would love to hear some of your ideas for beating the winter blues…


Patrice Carroll is Latham Centers’ world-renowned Prader-Willi Syndrome specialist. She works with Latham Centers’ residents with PWS, their families and consultants, continuously learning and teaching about PWS best practices. 


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