It didn’t take long for my children to unwrap their Christmas gifts this year and although our celebrations are not centered around the presents, I still felt a sense of disappointment. Possibly because the unwrapping took less then 10 minutes but the prep and selection of said presents took months. Don’t get me wrong, my kids were delighted with my choices for them and days later are still playing throughly with them. Christmas day itself was just as we had planned.
Yet as I sit here a few days later, on a morning that started out as -18, I can’t help but think…now what? Both November and December are filled with fun and excitement. Cookies to bake, Sibley lights to see, packages to wrap and family to celebrate with. However, once the Christmas celebrations and then New Years parties are over we are left to “endure” the rest of the gray, cold winter days before warmth returns to the Minnesota “tundra.” As a mom that means a LOT of days filled with “bored” and “hyper” kids.
Instead of just enduring, (and to head of some of the “stuck inside doldrums”) I want to encourage you to plan for and enjoy the next few months. How do we do this and what are some ideas?
How do we do this?
- Plan what is fun and relaxing for your family and then SCHEDULE it! That’s it!
I have made “fun” a goal for myself and for our family for the past two years because I’m the type of mom who sees all the stuff that needs done first, which leaves very little time to enjoy family time. Thus, I had to purposely make it a goal for myself and our family.
How do we accomplish this?
This is the best part!
First, schedule a family meeting and discuss with everyone their “winter bucket list.” Some of the kid’s ideas are obviously going to be too outlandish but you may be surprised at some of their ideas. No matter what is said, write it all down.
Next, have a planning date with your SO. Those ideas that are great but need more time put in your monthly calendar with the rule that they take priority (outside of emergencies or events outside your control I.e. a sledding party but the temperature is -20 etc.).
Finally, as moms we are the primary scheduler and determiner of what happens in the home on a daily basis. Now is when we can figure out the nitty gritties of fun/boredom/doldrum busters for our family. How can we give ourselves and our family something to look forward to each week?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Winter “getaway”- my husband and I choose not to get the kids any birthday gifts or a lot of Christmas gifts but instead go away for 2 nights in the cold winter. We’ve been to the Owatonna Holiday Inn (they have FREE meal tickets to the in-hotal restaurant), last year we went to Crayola Exploration at MOA, this year we got a good deal for a stay at WI Dells. The point isn’t to spend a lot. It’s to get out of the house and do something fun. An overnight at a hotel in Mankato with a great/fun pool is just as exciting as traveling somewhere.
- Special movie nights: my husband and I have been introducing our kids to the Star Wars series just in time to go see the new one that came out in December. This kids are enduring the weather because they are excited for the big night! Look ahead and plan for a new movie release.
- “Spontaneous” trip to something fun in town: Mankato has a LOT of fun places to go to especially in winter: Bounce Town, Cine Grand Mankato 4, Children’s Museum of SO MN etc. Local gymnastic companies hold “open gym” nights, which can be very affordable for families.
- Enroll in a winter class. My daughter and I took a “mommy and me” canvas painting class through our local community ed. It was so much fun!
- Some mom’s like to schedule chores (Wednesday is wash day etc.). Why not have “day of the week” for favorite activities like library trips or the Children’s museum.
- Kid’s day: Assign your kid’s to one day during winter where they get to pick the menu, activities, etc. for the day.
- Game nights. Kids love games and so did we when we were their age. Find that love again. Get a few of your favorites and introduce them to your kids. My kid’s have discovered Uno, Battleship, and recently checkers. This is a great indoor activity and it’s something they can do together.
- Books. Change it up and introduce books on CD or download the apps Audible or Epic. Audible lets you buy books through Amazon and listen to them through Audible. The “The Read-Aloud Revival” blog always posts the latest deals on kid’s books. Epic is a rental type app that lets you listen to books at a monthly fee of $7. My kid’s have been enjoying the life of Laura Ingalls in “Winter in the Big Woods.” We tend to utilize this especially in the car during
- Do some of the things you wanted to do during the Christmas season. Did you want to drive around and see the neighbors Christmas lights? Spread some holiday cheer by completing random acts of kindness? Build gingerbread houses? No need to cram these things into one month!
Now remember, the goal of scheduling activities and fun is to have fun! The purpose is to help with winter boredom and depression, not cause stress and anxiety in mom or overload your schedule. If some of these ideas are more work then fun, skip them. The point is to create fun for Your family, not copy the “Jones” or in this case the Andrews. What activities can you plan to add fun to your winter, create memories with your family and won’t make you crazy? That’s up to you to decide, just do the deciding and scheduling now!