It’s mid-March right now and it’s snowing outside as I am writing this because: Ohio. I thought I saw a glimpse of spring a few weeks ago. It was beautiful, sunny, and temps were in the 60s and 70s! Then the next day Mother Nature laughed in our faces and the weather dropped 30 degrees and it snowed.
We are not the poster family for fun winter activities. Okay, I’ll admit it, I don’t encourage my kids to go out in the snow because I don’t want to freeze my butt off and they are too little to be out there alone (ages 5 and 2). My husband is awesome about hanging out with them in the freezing weather, but I prefer preparing the after-outing cocoa with extra marshmallows.
Even if we were the family who went tubing or sledding on a whim, everyone eventually returns to their close quarters. So, we are anxiously awaiting the return of warm weather. But right now, we’re in the long stretch before birds are chirping and morning frost turns into dew, so how do you keep your kids from antagonizing each other in close quarters?
- Create something edible together. I love to bake and I am nearly criminal when it comes to indulging my kids’ requests for treats (I have a major sweet tooth, so I imagine they do too). Even if you buy the boxed brownie or cake mix from the store, you have a task everyone can play a part in. Nothing can top the team element of working together to get something (delicious) done. Everyone gets a chance to stir, pour, and gently crack an egg or two (my two year olds can be overzealous). Watching the stand mixer go round and round is nearly hypnotic for my two-year old twins. They are occupied and we all get something yummy to eat. It’s a win-win.
- Relax my house rules on screen time. After a long day at work, I just want to chill on the couch too. I used to be all about limiting screen time. In the warmer months, I get home from work and take the girls outside to explore the neighborhood before dinner, but before daylight savings time it is cold & dark pretty early. This is the perfect recipe for a movie night cuddled up on the couch with my cuties. How many times can I watch Frozen or Kung Fu Panda? Apparently endlessly.
- Distract the kids with things I need to get done. Grown-up activities are fun for kids (they don’t realize cleaning is not my favorite activity)! Some days I really just need to vacuum or get laundry done, so I enlist their help. Giving them a task (like pulling their laundry baskets into the hallway to “help” sort dark and lights) is a good time. My oldest loves having the job of using the stain stick too. Also, this task has a “team” element where they need to work together to get the laundry loaded. There is enough laundry for everyone to have a chance to do something.
- Give your kids an incentive to help out around the house. Being indoors means I notice just how much more I could organize and tidy my home. The dust bunnies are staring at me, and I cannot go outside to avoid them! My 5-year-old loves cleaning windows (there are plenty of small hand prints to get rid of), and wiping baseboards with baby wipes to earn money for her piggy bank. Additionally, being cooped up in the house highlights how badly her room needs to be tidied up. I have offered incentives to be earned if she puts her menagerie of stuffed animals away. Moreover, the copious amounts of random toys she loves to keep on her bed need to stay organized in order to keep her earned toy. She’s busy keeping her room clean, and I get a neater home. There’s no down side.
- Go out for a long brunch. On the weekends, we cannot sit in the house the whole day, so we make an outing out of a meal. I am calling breakfast brunch here because we rarely get everyone out the door before 10am, and my kids need to eat when they wake up around 6:30am. For us, brunch is really breakfast part two. We find a restaurant we like and feel comfortable lingering in. Diner style restaurants or kid-family-friendly restaurants are great. We have been frequenting TGIF’s quite a bit, there’s a lot to look at on the walls and it occupies the girls nicely. There’s no rush to eat and get out the door, so we take our time and enjoy the meal out, which I do not have to clean up! Also, this is a great way to practice good table and restaurant manners with the kiddos at a less busy time in the restaurant with the after breakfast but before lunch crowd.
- Embrace the winter weather by incorporating Hygge. Hygge what?! Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is “feeling cozy” and how the population of Denmark handles long winters. Hygge plays a part in why Denmark is rated the happiest country in the world! I learned about this from one of my favorite local yoga instructors and bloggers, Julie Hicks. You can read more about Juli Hicks and Hygge here.