Let’s face it, this time of the year is rough. It’s rough for us as parents and it’s rough on our kids. We’re stuck inside most days, it’s dark by 5:15 and the energy that our kiddos build up all day has nowhere to go. We are begging for bedtime just so we can have a little bit of a break. There isn’t a major break in school until April and by then our kids are exhausted. They’ve been working hard and are now anticipating the end of the school year, but we aren’t there quite yet. Our goal is to keep the peace, make it through the winter, survive the snow/RTI days and get ready for the time to spring forward, the weather to warm up and the end of the school year to come. Needless to say, it’s a difficult season.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to make it through the winter meltdown. These are things that we try to do around our house or ideas friends have given that help make the long winter days a little more enjoyable.
There is nothing we love more than turning on music and dancing around the house! It’s so much fun and the kids are getting out a lot of built-up energy. Take turns choosing songs and turn the volume up. You’ll be amazed at how much this can bring your family together.
We used to play this game with my daughter while we were making dinner – for every sight word she read correctly she got to add an ingredient to whatever we were making or baking that night. It helped us get through words quickly and she got to help with dinner. Cooking is also an excellent way to incorporate math without much complaining from your child.
Have a night each week where you pick a game to play as a family. Some personal favorites of ours are Guess Who and Zingo. Charades, scavenger hunts, hide and seek and cards are all great games that can be played around the house with little preparation.
One of my good friends has a movie night with her kids once a week. The kids choose dinner – usually something easy or take out – and a pick movie they’ve been wanting to watch. What a fun night in with memories made in the process!
Puzzles & Crafts
Crafts can be as easy or as complicated as you make them. Pinterest is your friend and you can find easy things to make with your kids using things that are right around your house. Puzzles are great, not only do they help your kids’ focus and have an end goal, but they can include everyone. Amazon sells a puzzle mat that rolls up so that you can continually work on a puzzle and it’s not always in the way.
Educational Games/iPad Time
Then, of course, there’s the trusty iPad. Our kids love iPad time and so do we because it’s easy and it keeps them quiet, in one place. But then comes the parent guilt. You feel guilty that your kid has spent hours on a device and you feel like you should be doing more with them. We’ve started an exchange program at our house. If our daughter does 20 minutes of an educational game (ask your child’s teacher, which programs they use at school) we give her 15 minutes of free time. It makes us feel a little less guilty, our daughter is learning and working, and in return she gets what she wants – time on the iPad.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you make it through the winter meltdown and onto sunnier days. Don’t feel guilty about what you have to do to make it through. All of us parents are just doing our best to make it through long work days, long school days, and short daylight hours.