Afraid cabin fever will drive you crazy this winter? Here are 7 things you can do to help your kids–and you–survive cabin fever during the colder months of the year!
Guest post by Hal and Melanie Young of Raising Real Men
When a damp, cold breeze blew across the football field the other night, I shuddered. Winter was coming!
See, we have six sons – and two little girls. I love football season. The boys are so peaceful when they’re playing football. They spend several hours a week exercising like mad and using up all their excess testosterone whacking into other people’s boys. <grin> It’s great, but it’s almost over.
So, how can we keep them from getting cabin fever when winter comes?
1. Get Them Up
Moms come up to us at conferences all the time, “I just don’t know what to do! My son just poops out halfway through his schoolwork. I try to tell him, ‘Come on son, we just have three more subjects to go, then we can take a break!’”
We always ask, “How’s that working for you?” It usually isn’t. Listen, folks: Sometimes, it takes all their energy to sit still and they have nothing left to learn with! Instead, get them up and get them active!
2. Get Them Moving
A surefire sign of cabin fever in our guys is that constant pesting that’s not angry, but just bored – trying to get a rise out of their siblings for entertainment. Our solution? “Give me ten on the stairs!” Somehow the frantic activity of running up and down the steps seems to sap all that annoying stuff right out of them! Push-ups, mini-trampolines, and jumping jacks work great, too.
Getting enough exercise is especially important with those challenging nine to twelve year olds. They’re so full of hormones and energy, they seem to be looking for conflict! That may be why our Boot Camp 9-12 for parents is so popular – we all struggle when they’re that age!
3. Go Outside Anyway
I know, I know. When you have a bunch of young children it seems like it takes way more energy to get them ready to go out than they could possibly spend out there. Been there. It’s important, though. They need time to run and play and pretend – even when the weather’s cold and snowy. Sometimes even in the rain. Even if it means another load of laundry. And if you want to get a little outside time, too? Take everyone for an invigorating walk!
4. Get to Work
One great cure for cabin fever and the “I’m bored…” stuff is to get everyone up working on a big project. Have a race-the-clock clean-up: spend fifteen minutes cleaning as hard and fast as possible in one room before switching to another room. Promise a break and snack after three rooms or maybe a movie or special treat if all the rooms get done!
5. Get Enough Vitamin D
One reason for droopiness in the winter can be a lack of vitamin D. Be sure everyone is getting enough from being outside without sunscreen, getting it in their diets (salmon, tuna, liver, cheese, egg yolks, fortified milk, mainly), or taking supplements (D3 is the one we use). It’ll help everyone’s immune system and mood, in my experience.
6. Get Out of the Rut
Do something different than you usually do. Take a field trip. Have an indoor picnic. Pretend you are on Noah’s Ark for the day. Or, one of our favorites: Build the biggest sheet and chair fort ever – then cuddle up and read inside.
7. Use Your Imagination
Reading a great story is a go-to for us. Gather everyone around and read aloud an adventure like The Swiss Family Robinson to transport you to a sunny land.
Did you know Theodore Roosevelt wrote a book for kids? He did and it’s a favorite here: Hero Tales from American History. We added sound effects to this one, because history’s way better with cannon fire. Don’t forget to read your own childhood favorites to your children, too!
Cabin fever doesn’t have to drive us crazy, instead it can motivate us to change things up and make our homes more loving and fun for all of us – mom, too!
What do you do when everyone is going crazy from cabin fever?
Hal & Melanie Young are the authors of Raising Real Men, the 2011 Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year, and the parents of six real sons and two real daughters. They lead a life of adventure traveling the country with their family speaking about raising boys, homeschooling, marriage, and family life. Read their blog, follow them on Facebook, or ask them to speak.