How to Avoid Cabin Fever With Your Kids in Winter
Words Megan Gordon
Feeling cooped up is an inevitable part of the winter months. The days are short and dark, and our typical trips to the beach or neighborhood playground are often thwarted by less-than-desirable weather. So it’s easy to fall into a rut, and last year we found ourselves spending more time staring at one another indoors than we would have liked. So here are a few ways to beat the blues this season, baby in tow.
1. Get Outside Whenever You Can
In the dead of winter when the sun comes out in the middle of the day, I’ll occasionally try to leave work early to get in a quick walk before the opportunity fades (in Seattle, we take it when we can get it). So while it’s not always part of the day’s plan, getting outside and moving really helps lift my spirits – and the fresh air and change of scenery is always good for our little guy. Having a stroller with a generous canopy is great for those unusually (rare) bright winter days. What’s nice is too is we can actually close and open our stroller with one hand which makes it easy to get outside while trying to balance a baby, a diaper bag, and a much-needed coffee at the same time.
2. Mid-Day Stories or Games
We’re lucky enough to live in a very baby-friendly city with lots of community activities and resources. When the weather isn’t great, our library network has story hour every day of the week, and a handful of indoor community centers have some kind of baby play time or baby gym. This has been a great way for us to get out of the house when it’s raining (thanks to the rain cover—which doesn’t smell like a shower curtain because it’s PVC-free!), meet other parents that live relatively close by, and expose our son to new baby friends and toys. I always grab him a snack and bring along a sippy cup for mid-day refueling.
3. Plan a Day Trip
Come winter, many of the outdoor activities we love to do on the weekends are no longer a reality. So we’ve started to plan doable day trips to have something to look forward to come the weekend: driving an hour to visit a favorite bakery or checking out a new-to-us part of the state to get lunch and walk around are always good options. Our stroller has all these storage options to stow everything we could need for a day away, from grocery bags to toys, water bottles and sippy cups, and a convenient little pouch for my phone and keys.
4. Baking, Cooking or Crafting
It’s not realistic to be out and about all the time, so I try to think up indoor activities at home to shake up the routine. Our little guy is too young to really help me bake or cook, but I give him his own whisk and wooden spoon and let him taste the batter. I’m looking forward to the coming months when he can be a bit more involved in the kitchen and we can make something together.
5. Occasionally Embrace Technology
Every parent I know has differing opinions on screen time, and while our baby is too young to watch a video, I’m not totally sure this would be my go-to in the first place. I will say, however, that when we’re stuck indoors with an hour to kill before bedtime, I love Facetiming friends or grandparents with our son—they like to see him, and he responds and interacts well with new faces.
What other ways do you avoid cabin fever with your kiddos during winter months?