During this time of year everyone seems to be getting restless. When will winter end? When can we get these kids (and ourselves) outside? It’s frustrating because the sun is luring us outside but the temperatures (for the most part) hinder the long jaunts we crave. This game Mother Nature plays will continue for another month or so. While it does, enjoy the list of ways to fight cabin fever. I have complied a list both for you and your kids and then one just for the stay at home parent that needs acknowledgment as well!
Five Ways to Fight Cabin Fever for You and Your Children
1. Create a long term project
A project is a wonderful way to engage children, learn about something, and pass the long and cold months away. Our project started when we began watching Little Einstein. The children go off on a rocket ship and away our minds went! My children were enthralled. We went to the library and took out books about outer space, looked up spaceships on the Internet and created a plan to make our very own rocket ship! We began to collect cardboard boxes and aluminum foil. We are now in the throws of creating a rocket ship! This is not something that can be done in a week’s time. We work on it when we can and put it down when we have other things to do.
2. Use your local library as a huge resource
I sometimes feel as though our library is our saving grace. Not only do they have a treasure trove of books and Disney movies but there are many programs that libraries offer to help engage your child. I find that we are at the library at least once a week. My children love to go through the books and choose which ones they will take home. They often make friends with other children and look at books together. On rare occasions I am even able to sit back relax and read a bit myself while my children are engaged.
3. Plan a local indoor outing
Though children activities are limited throughout the winter months there are inventive field trips that can be put together. Check out your local museums (often libraries have free passes), find a kid friendly cafe with a children’s play space, going to the mall (I love to walk into soap or candle stores and allow them to smell all the amazing soaps /candles, we have even been known to take a trip to our local pet shop.
4. Art, art and more art
Both my children respond to art. We have a whole cabinet filled with art supplies and small projects that can create hours of fun. You don’t always have to have a guiding project with specific directions, often just allowing the children to create and explore the supplies is enough. We also have an art basket with more basic supplies accessible at all times so that they can create art whenever the mood inspires them. Some cheap and fun supplies are: paint, sculpting clay or play dough, stickers, stamps, glue, scissors and paper.
5. Allow your children’s imagination to guide your way
I vividly remember creating alternate worlds for myself when I was younger. I would spend what seemed like hours setting up the scene for my dolls. To me that was more significant than actually playing with the dolls themselves. I now see aspects of this imagination in my children. Imagination is something that must be cultivated and I am eager to see where my children’s will take them. Encouraging your child’s idea can turn into a whole activity. The other day we created a tent world where we brought a handmade glowing light, pillows and read books while pretending to be ‘camping’ outside; the afternoon flew!
Five Ways to Fight Cabin Fever Just for You
1. Do something special for yourself daily
I know that during nap time, no matter how short it is each day I make myself a fresh cup of tea and light a candle. I make it my adult time where NO children are allowed (until they wake up that is!) Other ways to make it special is to have a treat, read your favorite book, do some yoga, or sit literally in silence.
2. Create a daily goal
No matter how small the task is, creating a daily goal for yourself gives you something to reach for. I often feel more accomplished when I have completed my goal and those days usually turn out a lot more productive and enjoyable than those when I do not. My goals are small and vary based on the type of day I have ahead. Some goals I set are baking something nutritious, organizing something that’s a mess, cleaning the bathrooms, doing the laundry, anything that allows our home to be in a better position than it was the day before.
3. Keep your mind active
I am an avid reader. I love stimulating my mind, learning something new and being transformed into the book I am reading. I often wake up a half hour early so that I can have a bit of time to read. I know reading isn’t for everyone but there are many ways to keep your mind active such as writing, surfing the web (for educational articles), listening to classical music, engaging in a stimulating conversation during a play date (this means non- mommy talk!)
4. Keep your body active
When the weather is cold it is hard to keep very active. I know I am the worst at getting moving when the weather is bad! However I always feel a million times better when I do something active (and the children will too!). If it’s not possible to get outside for a walk or a run then it is important to keep active indoors. I have a fit bit that helps me to keep a goal of how many steps I take each day, I look at it daily and challenge myself to do more the next. Other great indoor ways to stay active is creating a stretching routine, five minute yoga, having a dance party in your living room (my kids always love that!)
5. Create a long term project
Having a long term project to work on often gives me a purpose. It differs from a day to day goal because it should be something you can put down for a couple of days if you need to. At the moment I am working on a photography project. It is slow going but I know that when I get an extra second or a day when we stay home completely I can pick it up and continue on. There are countless projects just waiting for you. Whether it is for home improvement, interior design, artistic, gardening (now would be the time to start for summer results), cooking / baking.
Written by Nicole Rowley