Saturday, 20 April 2019

In Celebration of Seasonal Changes

Raindrops on roses and bright sunshine in your backyards are no more your favourite things once you become a parent. While young lovers may be happy with the spring in the air all a parent can associate it with is your young one’s watery eyes, rashes, wheezing and mosquito-infested diseases that come with springtime allergies. Most kids get excited about the warm temperatures and sunshine that come after long, cold winters and fall prey to the seasonal allergies. Unfortunately, parents can’t do much about plants and trees releasing pollen into the air. While this natural flowering process gives rise to all the beautiful vegetation that makes spring such a wonderful time, it can also be quite miserable for kids with allergies. Understanding the difficulties of seasonal changes can help parents devise strategies to make every seasonal change a moment for celebration.

Understand the symptoms

The best thing parents can do during allergy season is look for the allergy symptoms, which can change from year to year, and do their best to minimize their effects.
Be on the lookout for sneezing, clear nasal drainage, fatigue, an itchy nose or mouth, and watering, red or itchy eyes. These are the telltale signs of any seasonal allergies. Some children may have more subtle symptoms, such as snoring at night or a more nasal-sounding voice.

Here are some general tips to fight the seasonal allergies:

Pollens are most prevalent early in the morning between 5-10 a.m. Minimize your child’s outdoor activities during this time.

Encourage children to wash feet, hands and face whenever they come home from school/play.

Assist them to change clothes after playing or working outside too.

Children can take a shower/ clean-up before bed to help prevent pollen from interfering with sleep.

Be sure to start some home remedies/medications as prescribed in case of regular allergies.

Celebrate the Seasonal Changes

Once you learn to keep your children away from these allergies, seasonal changes can actually be an enjoyable process every year. Nature has its way of nudging us to notice the seasonal changes in the world around us on a regular basis. Whether it is the presence or absence of certain birds, the smell of a jasmine in early spring or the blissful sound of the first cuckoo/koel; all of these send us the message that those long, lazy days of summer are not far away.

The changing environment offers an incredible opportunity for improving the scientific spirit of  inquiry in children. So, why limit that inquiry to one chapter/subject at school when, in fact, the opportunity to learn about, notice, anticipate, observe and record change can be made available to them every single day?  Inquiring into the environment is SO much better as an ongoing experience. On a regular basis, take your kids OUTSIDE to observe and record what they see, hear and smell. Take time to record, to photograph, to draw – and simply to BE in the outdoors.

Here are some activities which can help you celebrate the seasonal changes:

Artwork with Natural things: Nature can be a great source of art materials. Find a large stick on your way and turn it into a walking stick for your next hike. Decorate it with any arts and crafts supplies you may have. You can also try using pebbles, stones, dry colorful leaves and other elements of nature.

Bird Watching: Assist children to find out the birds – what species are found in your neighbourhood? Does it change over the year? Which birds look like they are native? What are their habits? Where do they prefer to hang out? Why?

Play Online Games: Interactive online games can prompt awareness of the changing seasons while also providing the opportunity to practice math and literacy skills. See if your kids like online activities, including games that use animated characters to highlight the qualities of a season.

Reading Books: Choosing books that highlight different aspects of the current season is a way to learn and celebrate the season, while also reinforcing the importance of reading. Talk to your kids about the similarities they noticed between the books they read and their neighbourhood as the days pass over the year.

Record through Selfies Corners: Encourage your kids to get to know nature in their neighbourhood. Have them track the way that places change over a year through their selfies, photographs pasted in diaries or journals.

Trip to Forests and Parks: Take advantage of the relatively mild weather by enjoying the great outdoors at a local park or forest preserve. Exploring Sacred Forests and National Parks can enrich children’s understanding of nature, while reinforcing a healthy and active lifestyle. Walk around a park, or your neighborhood, with your kids to foster an awareness of the changing colors.

The subtle, cyclical pattern of seasonal change is endlessly intriguing and strangely comforting. 

Help them to marvel aloud about Mother Nature and her wonders.

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