As we approach the end of fall and head into winter, I can not help but think of how to keep children busy inside and myself sane.  After  the COVID season, we might already be dreading another season of being at the home especially if your house is bustling with children. Here are ten tried and true ways that I have. been doing for over twenty years to keep sane during the winter months!

Projects & Progress – Dedicate at least fifteen minutes to a long-term project.  Whether it is cleaning out a bathroom drawer or going through a bedroom closet upstairs, as you clean think of others who might benefit from what you do not need any longer.  Nothing is better than when a new toy comes into the house to keep the three years old occupied!  Besides, when you sort out, share, and donate your house will feel more orderly.  February is also a great month to look at Pinterest and set some goals for spring projects; consider planning a garden or updating your landscaping. 

Mommy Treats – I have a secret, during difficult time in my life, I allow myself to buy myself flowers, chocolate, drive-through coffee, or just a small, token of my appreciation to myself. A Mom Treats are good to have on hand! These small treats can even include picking up a candybar just because… 

Sweat Out the Winter Blues – The winter months are a great time to join a gym and get out of the house. I choose to go to the gym BEFORE the kids wake up and my husband is still at home or head to my basement to get my workout in. Gym time is even more fun when you go with a friend!

Create Order in Your Home This month I cleaned out my bedroom which had become a “drop and go” spot of the house, especially for clean laundry! This past weekend my husband and I worked together to clean out our closets, organize our dressers, and committed to creating a cozy and relaxing get-away. I highly recommend reclaiming your bedroom as your personal space. 

Learn a New Skill – What do you want to learn? Is there a hobby, skill, or goal you have set for this stage in life? Each day dedicate 15 minutes to learning something new. When you are learning it makes for better conversations at the dinner table. Sharing exciting new hobbies with your family teaches them that nobody is too old to learn new tricks! 

Grow in Your faith – What faith goals do you have in your life? Consider starting your day in quiet prayer and getting up before your family! Morning prayer will guide your day in a way that is so much more peaceful! I have found that morning prayer is the key to a great day! I also have inspirational books at my bedside and a journal in my purse to record the inspirations of the Holy Spirit throughout my day!

Create A Mom Tribe   You need friends to help you get through long days! Build alliances, swap or share afternoons watching kids so you can run errands, go to appointments or focus on a project.  When you are hosting, use that time when your child is entertained to get some light cleaning or cooking done while you visit with your friend.  When my one friend comes over we recently matched my huge basket of socks and I try to help her when I go to her house.  Invite friends and family into your circle and share how you are honestly doing. If you are feeling lonely, remind friends and family to call, visit and think of you during these long months! It is easy to drudge through your day and forget to connect with others but God wants to bless us with relationships! Consider setting up a weekly playgroup for a couple of hours, invite a new friend over for coffee or set up a weekly swap with another parent to make time just for you.

Rotation Play Time – Whether you have one or a house full of children, during the winter months, consider rotating your play throughout the house. From an afternoon bathtime to a mini-fort in the family room, we would cycle through the house. However, the secret to this strategy is to clean up as you go so you don’t fall behind!  Here are a few of my children’s favorite winter activities when they were young: pouring water in the kitchen sink, playing with shaving cream in the bathtub, homemade pretzel dough in the kitchen, blocks in the family room, floor puzzle in the front room, beads and crafts in the laundry room. I love to have balloons on hand and blow them up for a few hours of fun! One winter, I even made hopscotch with painter’s tape right on my kitchen floor! 

Fresh Air-  Get up and go for a walk or run or sit and enjoy a little fresh air, but make sure to air yourself out every day! While living in Austria as a college student during a semester abroad, I noticed that even during the winter months families would air out their homes.  How often do we need to not only air out our house but get fresh air ourselves? If you are feeling cranky or irritated… air yourself out!

Spice it Up – What are you cooking? Has your meal rotation gotten a little stale?  Challenge yourself to prepare one new dish a week. During The winter months it is a great time to focus on having family meals and enjoying dinner by candlelight at least once a week! I pick up extra magazines and cookbooks so to be inspired and learn how to cook new dishes! 

 May the Lord bless you with a deep faith life, a loving family and loyal and kind friends. May these winter months be a blessed time in your life and a season of growth!