So, we have all undergone a massive change over the last week together… yes, that’s right: DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME. The time of year when darkness becomes even darker… when we feel ready for bed at 5:30pm… and when our children are itching to still play, but we are crammed indoors (well, at least those of us in the Northeast region of the US) due to the darkness and soon-to-come freezing temperatures.
It’s really not that bad though… honestly.
A few years ago I remember a woman I met at a “new mom’s group” in Portland, Maine talk about how she was going to “embrace winter”. That phrase totally hit me. How incredible!
At the time, being a new mom meant feeling very, very tired with a child under the age of 1 year. However, it also meant I had the precious opportunity to rediscover what it means to PLAY. I’m pretty sure our winter adventures that first year of my son’s life consisted of walks along the ocean on mild days, and short snowshoe hikes through the woods with friends in Maine.
Fast forward two years and my son is now 3.5 years old. Tonight, in between writing this blog post and making a snack for my son, we noticed it was snowing outside for the first time this month. Seeing my son’s eyes light up when he heard me say “it’s snowing outside” makes winter seem not-so-bad. Aside from being cold, snowy and at times a pain with all the shoveling… winter is also a very magical time. I feel as though my whole being takes time to actually rest in the winter. All summer long we are busy: swimming, camping, playing… it’s a very active, social time of year. Wintertime in the Northeast basically means that your friends are going to hibernate for months, and you will see them again in the spring (kidding, sort of). It also means that change is upon us.
The transition from light to dark; warm to cold; energetic to tired… we are all undergoing these same changes physically, mentally and emotionally. Even our children. Their bodies are readjusting to the change just as much as we are. The other day leaving school with my son at 3:30pm, he said to me: “I’m not ready for bed yet.” So, we had a little chat about what daylight savings meant and I reassured him that he still had plenty of time to play when we got home.
So… back to my point about embracing winter… it’s really our attitude that affects how we live. And our attitude, as a parent or caregiver, in turn affects our children, and so on. Why not totally rejoice in the fact that we have a cold winter upon us and resolve that it will be a fantastic one?!
Here are some tips and activities to try out when the winter days are feeling endless:
–Get outside early in the day. The temperature is typically a bit warmer mid-day and there is more sunlight. Soaking in some natural Vitamin D is definitely important, as well as getting plenty of fresh air to keep you and your family healthy.
–Go on a winter scavenger hunt. Make a list of things you think you might find outside and see how many you can find. You can even try to collect some items, or make a book when you get home about what you saw. Perhaps consider starting a WINTER ADVENTURE JOURNAL to record your fun times?
–Have a dance party. Plain and simple. When the weather is too cold to get outside, or too dark in the evening, crank some of your favorite tunes and enjoy with the whole family!
Visit friends. Talk to friends about having a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly get together for some home cooked food and fun for the whole family. It can be hard with children getting sick at different times, but don’t give up. Making time for friends always lifts my spirit and it is SO nice to talk to other adults and just relax.
–Try something new. I don’t know what things have been of interest to you, but consider making time for one of them this winter. Learning to cook new recipes, taking a dance class, working on a business idea… whatever it may be… give it a shot. Even waking up each morning and writing down one thing you are grateful for may completely shift your mind from the negative to the positive. Try it!
There are obviously many resources out there that provide endless ideas for fun for both children and adults. I am simply just trying to get you to begin thinking outside of the box. The transition from Autumn to Winter can be peaceful and enjoyable. Your children have a natural enthusiasm and excitement for all that the world offers tap into that with them and see what happens for you.
And try to remember that somewhere out there, someone is enduring incredibly hot, humid weather, wishing for it to be cooler. There’s always a flip side!
Enjoy your week, and please comment with ideas and activities that you enjoy with your children (or on your own) during the winter months…