Weather Changes Affect Children’s Behavior


by on April 16, 2013

in Parenting, Parenting Kids, Parenting Teens

When my girls were school-age the topic of weather and our children’s behavior came up in my Parents Anonymous group. The facilitator said, “Any time there is a weather change you can expect the kids’ behavior to change.” Several teachers and daycare professionals agree.

Weather to behavior— what can you expect? When it is raining or stormy (also cloudy or no sunshine) you may see more arguments, picking at each other, crankiness, fighting, yelling, ill-tempered, noisy and chaotic or acting up and acting out behaviors that are impulse-control related. Teachers and childcare professionals say the kids are louder than normal and there is a sense of depression to accompany the dark, dreary weather. Electricity in the air or thunder magnifies any of these behaviors. Wind produces very energetic behavior— it’s not that the children are “bad,” it is just the increase in activity. When there is snowfall they go “haywire” and want to go outdoors. Pent up energy may sway the balance to drive kids outdoors (Snow + Kid = Fun). Alternately you get “cabin fever” with snow days and kids stuck inside.

There have been more than a few studies that shows a clear correlation between weather and behavior as far back as 1898 when Edwin G. Dexter studied kids in several Denver, Colorado schools. Using over 600 corporal punishment cases he found the weather to be a key factor. In studies in 1977 and later, scientific data pointed to the drop in barometric pressure as the culprit.

Dr. Maria Simonson of Johns Hopkins noted that a falling barometer results in an atmosphere that pushes down on the body and constricting capillaries that causes a reduction of oxygen to the brain, possibly resulting in children’s behavior changes. Children’s brains are still developing and that may also play into the negative behaviors as well.

My uncle was a sheriff’s deputy for many years then served diligently as a magistrate. He dreaded the week of the full moon saying, “The jails will be full and the crazies come out of the woodwork.” There was an increase in domestic violence, fights, shootings, public drunkenness, petty crime and yes, the jails would be packed to the brim. Science shows increases in negative behaviors peak at two days prior to the full moon. Nursing homes and hospital emergency rooms also report an increase in activity and there is a peak in childbirth around the full moon events. The full moon affects the oceans’ tides, why not the fluids in the body? My mother planned and planted her gardens every year “by the moon” and her harvests were quite bountiful. The evidence is insurmountable!

My lawyer-wannabe children would have loved being armed with this information. While understanding made me a little more patient, I couldn’t go around with a barometer strapped to my wrist. On those days when it seemed like everyone has lost their mind I’d look up in the sky at dusk and wonder.

Jackie Ramirez has been a volunteer with Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc. for more than twenty years, giving and getting support. Jackie writes these ‘Reminders’ for parents who attend the online support groups. The groups are found at www.pa-of-nj.org every Wednesday 9 p.m. and Thursday 12 Noon. To receive the ‘Reminder,’ send her an e-mail at: ParentRap@gmail.com. Website: www.JackieSaulmonRamirez.com

Lance McDonald April 17, 2013 at 11:26 pm

I think weather does indeed have an affect on not only children’s behavior but adults to. That’s why they say people up north, where the sun doesn’t shine very often, have very bad moods.
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Jackie Ramirez April 18, 2013 at 4:39 am

You could be right Lance. Children have less impulse control than adults; adults are more experienced at controlling our actions and emotions than children. I don’t have statistics on depression and mood but SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) was first noted in areas with less daylight like Alaska and Canada. I have an article that mentions a special light that is used to offset the effect: http://jackiesaulmonramirez.com/2013/03/17/depression-actions-you-can-take-to-feel-better/

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