When I was 10 years old, we had a crazy snowstorm in our neck of the woods. Drifts were piled several feet high and we were quite literally snowed in at our house for seven full days.
As a kid, it was magical. But as a parent? It was apparently a special brand of torture.
I can still remember my mom talking about how badly she was feeling cabin fever. I also distinctly remember wondering what the problem was. What could possibly be better than getting to stay home and lounge around in our pajamas eating snacks and making a mess of the house for a week straight?
Now that I’m a parent myself, I get it. Oh boy, do I EVER get it.
Being a mom—especially a stay-at-home mom—in the middle of winter can be tough.
There’s no taking your kids outdoors to run around and spend some energy.
There are no long walks to get fresh air and a change of scenery.
There’s no driving places, because it’s unsafe to be out on the roads if it’s not absolutely necessary.
There’s just sitting in a house. With kids. And noise. And mess. And pure chaos.
It doesn’t take long for you to start feeling trapped, lonely, and moody, and honestly? A little bit insane.
So for the moms like me who have been feeling serious cabin fever, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite ideas for busting the winter blues and helping you survive until springtime.
+Create Your Own Summer
This one takes a little bit of imagination but is totally doable.
Grab some beach towels, put on your swimsuit and shades, ask Alexa to play something tropical, mix up some homemade snow cones, and have a beach party right in the middle of your living room.
+Craft, Craft, Then Craft Some More
I cannot stress this one enough. Crafting is messy, it’s true, but it also has this inexplicable way of calming everyone. Lay garbage bags out on the kitchen table, throw some old shirts over your kids’ clothes and let them paint. Get a roll of easel paper to set out on the floor and let them color (for some reason, coloring is more fun on giant paper). Set a bunch of random whatevers out with a bottle of glue and tell them to create a robot.
Don’t have a bunch of craft stuff lying around your house? I’m a big fan of the We Craft Box because it comes with all the materials my kids need to create something cute, which means I don’t have to plan anything. WINNING.
Get them going on their crafts, then sit back with a cup of coffee and breathe, mama.
+Story Time in a Blanket Fort
This one is a personal favorite of mine mostly because it’s a calming activity and requires minimal effort on my part. Throw a few blankets over the dining room table to make a little cave underneath, then grab snacks and listen to your kids’ favorite books on Audible from inside the fort. When we do this, sometimes I join in, and sometimes I use the time to get a few things done (or just relax) while they’re quietly entertained.
+Practice a New Skill
Learn to draw a new animal with your kids.
Try a new cookie recipe (and taste test them until the whole batch is gone. Whoops.)
Give that DIY project you’ve had your eye on a try.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just think of a skill you’ve been wanting to learn (whether silly or practical) and do it. YouTube has a wealth of tutorials that will walk you through just about anything you can think of. Doing something new gets our minds working in a different way and gets us out of our routine, everyday slump.
+Get Those Bodies Moving Indoors
If the weather is too crummy to go outside and run around, find ways to get moving indoors. It’s a win/win, as it’ll make you feel more endorphin-high and less trapped, and it’ll wear your kids out so that maybe they’ll go to bed earlier and give you some much-needed alone time.
My kids are obsessed with taking the cushions off of the couch and running/jumping/catapulting from them like maniacs. In the summer I try to preserve those poor cushions, but once I’m all cabin-fevered out in the middle of winter, they’re fair game. It’s good exercise for the kids, and honestly kind of entertaining for me.
If we want to do something a little more structured as a family, I’ll download a free workout video from Amazon Prime (we have the Fire TV, so this is way more convenient than looking elsewhere) and we all do a workout together in the middle of the living room. Dance videos are a favorite in this family. I’m pretty sure we look ridiculous, but hey—we’re all moving and laughing, and that’s good enough for me.
+Make a Movie Theater
Get cozy on the couch, pull the blinds, turn off the lights, grab a few snacks, and call it a movie theater. Sneak a nap while your kids’ eyes are glued to the screen, or scroll through your phone a bit and unwind. The point is, just relax. Your kids brains won’t rot from an afternoon movie marathon, but your sanity might benefit an awful lot from it.
+Read this Book
No explanation really needed here. This book is packed full of way more ideas than we could ever share in this article. Take a look!
The winter blues are serious, mamas, but we can and will make it through. Springtime is just around the corner—hang on!
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