Winter can be difficult for many reasons, but cabin fever and illness are two things that may cause the most discomfort for families with little ones. Here are a few ways to get through the season with your sanity.
Stock your medicine cabinet now so you’re sure to have what you need when illness strikes-both for children and adults. There’s nothing worse than waking up to an infant with a fever at 2 a.m. and not having the proper medication on hand. Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Vicks Vapor Rub, and Johnson’s Vapor Bath are the products that I always keep on hand for my own kids. I also keep Ibuprofen, Nyquil, and cough drops for us grown-ups. Be sure you have proper dosing charts to ensure you are giving your children the appropriate medication and in the proper amount. Consult your pediatrician if you have any questions.
If you are going to be stuck inside for sickness or bad weather, have a few indoor activities on hand that you can pull out for entertainment. To beat boredom and burn some energy play Chinese jump rope or go bowling with a set of kid-sized bowling pins. Or you can break the rules a bit and turn the bed into a bounce house. My son loves doing belly flops on the pillows of our king sized bed, and after 15 minutes he’s really worked up a sweat. We also turn the couch cushions into obstacles on the floor and jump, run, and climb our way around the living room.
Low key activities like arts and crafts or games are better suited for sick days. Keep a variety of crafting supplies on hand such as construction paper, glue, sequins or gems, stickers, stamps, pom-poms, clay, and crayons. Just having a few basics can lead to some of the best projects. My son and I, on a whim, turned a baby wipes box into a treasure chest. It was his pride and joy for weeks. We also have a few easy games that can be played multiple ways – decks of cards, Dominoes, Yahtzee! Shaking the dice in the Yahtzee cup keeps my 3-year-old busy for a good 20 minutes. It’s really just a matter of how long you are able to tolerate the sound of clattering dice. And Dominoes are great for introducing basic math, playing matching games, or even building a small house.
Have a few go to destinations that you can turn to when you really just need to get out. Do you have a mall nearby with an indoor tot lot? Check your area for nature centers with indoor discovery zones. Even local libraries often have a play area in their children’s sections. These activities are often free. Take field trips together to explore what your community has to offer indoors. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.