Please welcome our newest columnist, Kendra Souza, who also blogs at Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily. Kendra will be writing about spending time with family, and she is fabulous!
Last Monday the world famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow, forecasting another six weeks of winter. Make no mistake ladies: Winter is indeed upon us. We’ve already experienced two full week s of snow days, and there may be more where that came from. With the decrease in temperature outside, the amount of time spent together inside increases. It is this ‘together time’ which is both the biggest trial and blessing of the winter season. In my own attempts to make it through these frigid months while maintaining a peaceful household, (or somewhat peaceful household), these are the tricks that have brought me the most luck:
1. Service with a Smile
It seems that it is a slightly more difficult to bicker when we are busy lending a helping hand. The possibilities here are endless: Most neighbors love to receive some freshly baked cookies, the dogs at the humane society love to be walked and played with, and there are many elderly friends and neighbors in the community who would do well with help shoveling the walk or even a short visit. Even within our own homes there are many opportunities to serve and it benefits everyone in the house when children are taught to help meet the needs of others and more importantly, think of someone other than themselves.
2. Let the Games Begin
We love to play games at our house! Pictureka, Monopoly, Memory, you name it! Games provide many opportunities to learn how to be a good winner, a good loser and how to take turns and cooperate and follow rules. A small warning here: With all of their good points, games can also cause conflict. If you think that World War III might break out over the latest round of Clue, you might want to leave Mrs. White in the kitchen with the lead pipe and find another activity.
3. Get Moving
Even in freezing temperatures, it is important to go outside and get some exercise. (Even if you have to stay inside, it is important to get some exercise!) I admit that I have made my children run laps from the house to the mailbox, do thirty jumping jacks, and run the laps again. When it is really cold, and there is no snow to play in, we sometimes go to the mall and circle the perimeter, counting everything in the store windows that is green, or shiny. Skiing, bowling, and sledding are also wonderful activities and if you have access to an indoor pool, I would use it!
4. Get Lost in a Book
My kids love the public library! We have visited the Watauga County Library and the Blowing Rock library and both have wonderful librarians willing to help you find what you need. They also put out a calendar every month that lists activities, story times and other events.
5. I Believe in Quiet Time
Shortly after lunch, while my youngest is taking her nap, I strictly enforce what I call quiet time. Everyone must retire to a room of their choice where they spend the next 45 minutes alone reading, drawing, writing, or what ever quiet activity they choose. This forty five minutes is sacred as it gives the kids a break from each other and the Mommy a small break from everyone.
In short, I do feel like the winter is the best time to make many warm memories. We are new to the area and I would love to hear how you are coping with your cabin fever. Give me your best tips!