As hard as the winter is on us as parents and educators, I always try to remember that our kiddos are also going through a complete change in routine and entertainment. First of all, they literally have to put 15 things on their little bodies in order to even TRY and play outside (that is if it is warm enough). Not only do they have to zip, flip, tie, strap, and tuck in their items, they have to keep track of it all at school and try to shove it into tiny little lockers. After all of the gear comes the RULES….all of the new rules about how to play, where to play, what to eat and not eat, where they can go and not go and they have to figure out the difference between home rules and school rules. Then comes the DARK. It’s dark at dinner-time and it’s dark in the morning. As much as we miss the sun and daylight, they miss it TEN fold. The nights of playing outside until 6:00 are gone and they are cooped up inside. On top of all of this, they are dealing with adults who are dealing with winter and the cold. They are cold, over-dressed, booger filled, coughing, sneezing, ANTSY, EXCITED, little people. In my moments of trying to get 21 people ready for outside and finding boots, hats, mittens and library books in the morning before taking my own kids to daycare, scraping my car, finding my own boots etc. etc. I try to remember how their worlds have CHANGED! I believe that there are some EASY, FUN, and worth-while things we can do to keep the winter blues at bay!
- Take the stress out of morning routine time by having your kiddo pack and prep all of their materials and clothes for the morning!! (they will feel proud and it will be ready!)
- Make messes in the house that you would never have to in the summer or fall (because they could be outside) in the winter and let them keep it up—-for like 2 days…(this one is hard for me, but TOTALLY worth the GIANT messy fort in my lower-level 🙂
- Include kiddos in the nightly “work” now that they can’t be out riding bikes….let them help prep-dinner(yes this makes for longer prep, but that also gets you closer to bedtime!)….have them do dishes, help fold and put away laundry….help shovel…unload all of the dvds and book shelves and put them back in order in a new way! Kids just like to be busy and feel like they are doing something important …we forget as adults that those jobs look different for them!
- Go old school and get out board games, new card games, puzzles with too many pieces and play!!! (Monopoly is good for like 3 different nights!)
- Read—-read in funny places like the bath, under the covers with a flashlight, in your fort, to the animals, upside down…..
I am trying to change my thinking about the winter and embrace the fact that I get to be with my kids differently and play differently due to the weather. Just like we dress for the weather we need to stimulate our little ones differently during the different weather! I would love to have you comment below things that you do to “survive” or enjoy the wonderful winter season!