With dwindling daylight and the inevitable bad weather, winter can be tough, but for parents it can be a particularly trying season. With darkness drawing in and poor weather preventing outdoor activities what can parents do to keep the kids occupied?
We all know how restless children become cooped up inside. Extensive computer game playing and endless hours of television may seem like an easy option, but it is useful to have some alternative options up your sleeve. Why not consider these healthy alternatives?
Swimming is a great way to ensure your children get enough exercise and, most importantly, it isn’t weather reliant. Rediscover your local leisure centre where your children can expend excess energy, develop a positive attitude towards exercise and feel the benefits both mentally and physically.
Baking and Cooking
If you find your children are fussy about what they eat, help them to become more familiar with what goes into their meals by enlisting their help in the kitchen. Combining everyday tasks with entertaining the kids is a good way to spend quality time with your children and get the chores done. You never know, you might learn something new yourself.
The popularity of talent show programs, such as X Factor, has led children to take a greater interest in music than previous generations. Capitalise on this trend by offering your children the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.
Encouraging your children to try a variety of hobbies while young provides them with the opportunity to explore their abilities. Keeping them stimulated is important for mental development and encouraging them to learn an instrument will stand them in good stead in the future.
The thought of buying a musical instrument may deter some. However, it needn’t be expensive. It is possible to rent many musical instruments. The benefit is that if the interest is just a passing phase that drops off within six weeks you haven’t lost anything. There are even free Youtube tutorials online you could begin with, avoiding the cost of a teacher until you are convinced your child has a genuine commitment to learning.
Winter is a particular good time to encourage this hobby, as the opportunity to be outside is limited. Although, for the sake of your sanity, it might not be advisable to encourage them to play the drums unless you have a separate building to absorb the sound.
With the rising popularity of websites, such as Etsy, crafts are having a renaissance. Christmas comes around far too quickly and these days enormous pressure is put on parents to spend money. As the nights draw in, why not get the kids set up around the kitchen table and make Christmas tree decorations together? Alternatively, just encouraging them to draw or paint regularly may help them to develop a talent early if you regularly invest the time to encourage them to explore and experiment with materials and techniques. No matter what the weather is, this is an activity the whole family can participate in.
Don’t let the season beat you. These are just a few simple suggestions but the options are limitless for indoor activities to keep your children away from the television, engaged and continuing to learn outside of the school gates.
Lucy Sarsen is a social media blogger, parent of three and member of Mumsnet. She lives in Brighton and spends her time taming her brood with creative ideas, researching childhood development techniques and writing about the challenges facing the modern parent. Although not necessarily perfect for winter, her purchase of a trampoline from www.jumpking.eu really helped to get the kids interested in fitness.