In the winter months, it is so easy for us moms to find ourselves stuck in a pattern of monotony.
The cold weather keeps us inside with our energetic kids. The early darkness makes us tired and our kids restless. The comfort food causes us to feel bloated, and the leftover holiday candy keeps the kids bouncing off the walls. The excessive hand washing requires an amount of lotion that just isn’t ever enough for our dry skin. The germs everywhere have us chasing our kids with hand sanitizer or simply avoid crowded places all together.
Many moms dread the cold, dry winter.
I live in the Northeast, where winters usually last from mid-November to mid-March. This is a long time indoors with little ones.
At my house, we’ve watched Tangled about a hundred times since mid-December. We’ve colored the pages of countless Paw Patrol and Trolls coloring books. We’ve painted pictures, made crafts, and done our daily chores. We’ve even spent time watching videos on the iPad.
And don’t even get me started on Baby Shark.
I constantly find myself asking the question: How can I break up the monotony with fun, entertaining ideas that engage both me and my kids?
As a mom that’s suffered with seasonal depression, I try to avoid falling into the dreaded winter slump. I’ve made more effort to try new things, and I’ll let you in on a few of the ones that have helped us avoid cabin fever this winter.
Invest in a Box of Craft Supplies
This year, Lily is finally at an age where she can manipulate more small items. She can glue, paint, mold, and sculpt, with supervision and some assistance of course. And the best part is that she LOVES to engage in these art activities.
On the days where I have more energy, I enjoy getting out the craft box and watching her brain at work. I recently invested in some great craft supplies, like pipe cleaners, foam stickers, pom poms, feathers, stencils, and sequins.
Lily loves working with different art supplies, so it’s a win-win for everyone. She excitedly runs to her spot at the table anytime I tell her it’s time to make crafts. Her smile makes the mess worth it.
And when she runs to show Daddy her newest creation as he walks in the door, she’s beaming with pride. And I feel like it was an afternoon well-spent with my girl.
Go to the Library
One of the toughest parts about breaking up a boring routine in the winter is finding indoor entertainment that doesn’t break the bank. This is a challenge for moms.
Recently, the girls and I trekked through the cold to visit our community library.
And, boy, was I pleasantly surprised.
The local children’s library not only has plenty of books, but it also has puppets, blocks, countless manipulatives, stuffed animals, and more. Lily was rolling around on the foam mats and building huge towers made of alphabet blocks. It was fun to sit back and watch her play and explore new things. .
We talked with the librarian, who helped me understand more resources for moms just like me who are also looking to get out of the house and engage my kids. They told me about toddler reading sessions and gave me a calendar of ideas and activities to help instill reading in my kids as they grow.
Many libraries offer free educational programs and resources for everyone in the family, no matter the age. Libraries offer book clubs, reading parties, puppet shows, craft sessions, and much more.
You can search for libraries close to your home by clicking here and typing in your location.
And while you’re there with the kids, you can even check out a book of your own.
The library is a great place to go when you need to get out of the house but don’t want to burn a hole through your pocket. And when you’re there, you just might meet other moms just like you.
Visit a Relative
Visiting relatives that are also home during the day is not only beneficial for your kids, but also for you. This gives you time with other adults. Catching up with relatives while they play with your kids will help to keep all of you engaged. Talk to some of your relatives to see if they have open mornings or afternoons and try to work something out for both of your schedules.
This will also help your kids have a stronger bond with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
It’s great if they have children too, because then the kids can all play while the adults talk. Moms need time around other adults, too. In fact, we usually crave it.
Organize a Playdate
Because both moms and kids benefit from playdates, they are a fantastic way to cure the winter blues. Meet up with other moms that are fighting the same battle as you and looking to get out of the house. The kids can burn their energy as you chat about whatever you want. This has both physical and social benefits for your kids.
Either meet at your house or their house. And don’t stress out about cleaning. Other moms understand. Most likely, her house is just as messy as yours anyways.
As a brand new stay-at-home mom adjusting to this new transition, this is something I’ve tried to do with my kids recently. It helps me and them at the same time!
And one of the best parts about playdates is that you’ll likely carry home tired kids. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to get to the dishes and laundry while they rest when you get home.
Plan a Weekend Family Activity
One of the things that helps me battle through the winter is to plan things that we can look forward to. When my husband and I plan family events on the weekend, everyone can get excited about this time.
Bonding time with the family is critical, and these outings, no matter how small, help us stay close amidst the chaos of everyday life.
Some of our frequent trips involve bundling up for walks in the park, trips to Home Depot (we love house projects), visiting family, and getting lunch or dinner at a restaurant.
Also, when we have something fun planned, I can also tell Lily to help reinforce her behavior during the week. When she knows she has something fun coming up, she tends to straighten up her act in order to get those privileges.
Play in the Snow
If you are one of the brave moms out there, you might bundle your kids and take them outside to play in the snow. Building snowmen, pulling them on the sled, catching snowflakes, and making snow angels will surely create memories that will last. Their smiles may even have you into feeling warm and fuzzy for a little while.
These simple moments may even have you wondering why you usually spend most of the winter complaining. In fact, you may even look around and realize how beautiful it can truly be.
Schedule Some Me-time
Many moms, including myself, who are cooped up with little humans all day can start to get a little stir-crazy. I’ve fallen victim to this a few times. I’ve learned the hard way that I need to carve time out of the day to take care of myself.
This can be as simple as taking a shower, painting my nails, or even just scrolling through social media. After dinner is cleaned up, ask your husband to hang out with the kids for a little while and go upstairs and relax by yourself.
You’ve had a long day too.
One thing that works for me is taking the dog for a walk after we put the kids down to sleep for the night. It’s peaceful outside. This helps me escape the house, even just for a short time, and have some time for myself. The fresh air also helps me clear my mind.
The dog sure doesn’t mind either.
The simple truth is that the winter can drive moms crazy. But, there are ways to combat cabin fever and stay positive.
Just remember, it’s only one season out of the year. Challenge yourself to break up the monotony, get out of the house, and try something new this winter. Enlist new friends. Build your mom network. Schedule small events. Take care of yourself.
Before you know it, you’ll realize the coats are getting lighter, and the days are getting warmer once again.