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“Remedies” for Spring Fever



If your child's personality seems to change at this time of year, try not to worry. In spring, a child’s fancy turns to pushing limits and boundaries. The same process that incites spring flowers into what Rilke called “blooming most recklessly” propels children’s instincts for expansion. In the past, people called these surges of energy “spring fever.” Wasn’t it nice when there was a  positive name for it?


At school, when teachers remark “My class was wild today!” it’s a sure sign that the surging spring energy has been hard to contain. Increased physical activity outdoors is an also an age-old remedy for spring fever. Children also need encouragement to run, to climb, and to gambol like newborn lambs and to wear themselves out. How wonderful that we have them working in our school gardens.


Every year, spring in preschool means that a few children will start talking about marrying each other and giggle. Inevitably, a little boy will urinate behind a tree. A whole class will start pushing the boundaries and it can seem like they’ve forgotten about the rules. After reminding themselves that this is only a “seasonal disorder,” teachers have to summon their creativity to provide new projects and challenges to channel the forces of growth exploding within their students.


You may find yourself noticing the budding of new behaviors at home. Sometimes we can take advantage of these times by offering children more responsibility and assign them more challenging roles. Enlist their help with spring cleaning.


Springtime is also a period when we can reflect on limits and engage our children in creating new guidelines that correspond with their spurts of new awareness and growth. Again, because of the time change, children need more sleep than we think.


You too can relish in the energy of spring. Mark Twain once wrote about the condition. “It’s spring fever . . . and when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what you want, but it fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so.” Remember the wonder of spring times you experienced as a child and renew yourself as the world around you is made new.

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