Ah, winter. The season of snowball fights, sledding races, skiing and snowboarding, building snowmen in the front yard, hot cocoa with marshmallows, warm sweaters, cozy blankets and flannel sheets. Oh yeah, and….
Especially if you have kids who are used to running off all their pent-up energy outside and have now been confined within the same four walls for weeks on end.
I’ve learned a few things in the last couple of months about how to keep both myself and my toddler from succumbing to cabin fever as this winter seems to drag on and on and on. Today I’m sharing some simple strategies that can help you and your child to beat the winter blahs!
7 Tips to Survive Winter with a Toddler
1. Get Outside as Much as You Can
Fresh air picks up your mood like nothing else. If there’s freezing rain or sleet, we stay inside, but otherwise we try to spend at least a little time outside every day. Even if it’s so dangerously cold that we can only stay outside safely for ten minutes at a time, those ten minutes do us so much good.
So make it a priority to get outside a little bit every day. And when the weather is pretty decent, go out and enjoy it while it lasts: go sledding, build a snowman, go ice skating at an outdoor rink, or just take a walk around your neighborhood.
2. Get Away from the House
Seeing something other than the same four walls for a couple of hours can give you a real boost. Even if you can’t spend a lot of time outside, there are other ways to get change of scenery. Here are a few ideas:
- the library (Bonus: bring home some books to enjoy later.)
- shopping (You don’t necessarily have to buy anything, just wander the aisles and “window” shop.)
- art or science museums
- indoor play areas
- eating out (Bonus: enjoy a meal you didn’t have to prepare.)
- play date at a friend’s house
What are your favorite places to go with your kids in the winter?
3. Play Music and Dance
No matter how gray and miserable the day, turning on some upbeat music can create a cheerful atmosphere in your house. Especially if it leads to an impromptu dance party! I like to play a mix of different kinds of music when we’re home. I’m a huge fan of instrumental music myself, but Little Buddy is partial to the Bee-Gees (lol). Fun fact: we are still playing our music on a stereo system that my husband has had for over twenty years. It has a CD player AND dual cassette decks. Envy me. But I’m guessing most of you use technology from the twenty-first century, so you have a lot more variety at your fingertips.
4. Cook or Bake Together
There’s a reason we associate comfort foods with wintertime. Baking a batch of cookies or cooking a big pot of stew together can help warm up the coldest days and create some wonderful memories too. We have this Guidecraft Kitchen Helper so that our toddler can safely join us at the counter to help cook. Even if my son isn’t interested in cooking on a certain day, I’ll pull his stand up to the counter so he can color while I put dinner together.
5. Build a fort.
Throw some sheets or blankets over a few large pieces of furniture, drag some pillows, stuffed animals, and books inside, and spend some time all cozied up inside your new fort. Pretend that you’re camping and let them eat their (not-too-messy) snack inside so you can have a picnic too.
6. Try a New Craft or Activity.
This is a great time of year to bust out your Pinterest inspiration and try a new craft with your little one. Check out my Toddler Activities board on Pinterest for lots of great ideas. Something as simple as flying paper airplanes or playing with homemade play dough can make a dreary day go by faster.
7. Use Screen Time Strategically.
I know, I know, toddlers aren’t supposed too get much screen time (or any, depending on who you ask.) But let’s face it, few things are cozier on a cold winter afternoon than cuddling up with your little on on the couch watching their favorite movie or show. (Curious George, Daniel Tiger, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs are all favorites around here.)
I hope these tips help you and your little ones beat cabin fever! For more tips on surviving winter, check out my post about 7 Things That Are Saving Me This Winter (2018). And remember, spring is right around the corner. (Even if it really doesn’t seem like it…)
Do you have any tips for surviving winter with kids? Any great craft ideas or music recommendations? I’d love to hear your suggestions!