It is the end of January, the time of year when the winter blahs can settle in for parents as well as children. Especially this year, when the monster flu season is upon us, taking out entire families for days, even weeks at a time. Even if your family has avoided the flu (and congrats if you have), you can be dragged down by more mundane issues: The days are short, the weather is cold (certainly for those of us on the East Coast and in the Midwest), and there are miles of school year to go before summer vacation. You are supposed to be encouraging an antsy son or daughter to stay focused these days, but you are tempted to complain along with them. What’s a parent to do?

Several sites around the internet offer tips and resources for staying alert and involved, and/or interesting articles to distract you from the blahs. Here are just a few to get you started:

Five Hot Homework Tips for Parents, found here, is a provocatively titled article from the US Department of Education. The 5 “hot” tips include some relatively novel ones, like the suggestion that you work alongside your children in a reading or math activity while they are doing their homework to model focused behavior, or that you spend time helping your child learn time management while they are studying. But even more helpful is the link at the bottom of these five tips to a longer and more comprehensive list of homework tips for parents. Take a few minutes to scroll around this entire DOE site; there are lots of interesting and resourceful articles for parents.

Moms Team: The Trusted Source for Sports Parents, found here, is a very impressive collection of information for parents with sports-minded children. It offers advice and information on many and varied aspects of the world of children’s sports, including health and safety, nutrition, successful sports parenting (with a sub-section for single parents), extensive information on a large variety of sports, and there is even a “Team Moms/Coaches Channel” designed to help coaches and parent volunteers do a good job with their teams. Worthwhile browsing, even if your child isn’t a serious sports enthusiast.

Help For Children Who Procrastinate: Who among us hasn’t battled a bout of procrastination, especially this time of year? (Good for you if you haven’t, but trust me, you are in the minority.) Helping your children get an early start on developing methods of fighting procrastination is a gift that will keep on giving. While the article found here addresses procrastination in children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), the advice is good for all children who are having trouble staying focused. (And it can help easily distracted parents as well!)

15 Best Family Vacations in the U.S.: One way to beat the blahs is to start planning your next vacation. U.S. News and World Report offers a list of recommended family vacations, found here. This list includes explanations of why each place is included, and the top things to do there. Even if none of the fifteen appeal to you, it is likely to inspire you to think of places that will.

GCP readers, how do you stave off the parental winter blahs?? Send in your suggestions!!!