5 Tips for Surviving the Dog Days of Winter
We’ve all heard the expression “the dog days of summer,” those long, hot days when all you want to do is lie around and become one with the swimming pool. I’m here to propose that winter, too, has its “dog days!” The long, gloomy, frigid days as we inch slowly closer to spring tend to seem much longer than 24 hours. And with temperatures hovering around the “arctic” range, I find myself sinking further and further into my couch cushions.
As moms, these days come with the extra challenge of being more or less trapped in a confined space with one or more children – children who have had less fresh air and physical activity than might be ideal. The term “climbing the walls” comes to mind as I consider a typical indoor winter day with my little ones! Here are some tricks I’ve discovered along the way that just might help make those dog days seem a little more bearable, and maybe even FUN!
- Invest in an indoor swing or slide. There are lots of options on the market, depending on your child’s age and interests! A small toddler slide or indoor swing can provide hours of entertainment for even the most active kids. In our house, we’ve tripled up: my daughter has an aerial silk swing hanging in her bedroom, my youngest son has a traditional swing hanging in his doorway, and we’ve had our little Fisher Price slide in the living room since my eldest was a baby.
- Reward your kids – and yourself! If there is a particular time of day you andyour little ones find extra challenging, set up a small reward for when that time of day has passed! For example, if lunchtime is a struggle, make sure to follow it up each day with your little one’s favorite treat or activity. Buy yourself your favorite candy and save it for those times when you feel like your tank is close to empty, and it will give you a little boost to get through the next phase of the day.
- Break your day into chunks. Commit to certain activities at certain times of the day. For example, morning could be puzzle/movie time, and the afternoon could be craft and free play time! Relegating different activities to certain times of the day will keep them from getting stale and boring.
- Try some online videos. I know it may seem off-putting to suggest screen time, but a little screen time paired with some indoor exercise can be just the thing to boost your little one’s mood! There are lots of safe, wonderful options on YouTube, and GoNoodle is a huge favorite of ours! They encourage fun movement even within a small space
- Give yourself some grace. Some days are just HARD. If you find yourself putting on back-to-back Disney movies and finally sipping your cold coffee in relative quiet, that is a successful day. There is no such thing as a perfect mom! Social media may say otherwise, but seeing a snapshot hardly conveys all that goes into a full day of hands-on parenthood. If you need to tap out and let Elsa and Anna take care of things for a while, that is valid, and you are STILL a good mom.
Hang in there, mama! Spring is coming, and soon you’ll be chasing butterflies and laughing under the sun again. This, too, shall pass.”