Tips to avoid cabin fever!



Fresh ideas to keep kids busy indoors this winter

With the recent snow and arctic weather, many families will spend more time indoors. With young children it can be a challenge to keep them from getting antsy. 

Parents may find that during the colder months, keeping kids active and busy can be a challenge. Darby Fox, child & adolescent family therapist, has advice for any parent looking to avoid cabin fever during the colder months.

“Spending too much time inside can make anyone stir crazy, especially energetic youngsters,” says child and adolescent fmily therapist Darby Fox. “For children cabin fever can make them act out and misbehave. It is best to find activities and keep them moving to avoid potential outburst and fights.”

Darby offers these tips to avoiding cabin fever: 

1.    Brave the cold

Try to get children outside every day for at least 20-30 minutes. “A little fresh air goes a long way,” says Darby. “When kids play outside they burn energy and feel invigorated. Even babies will benefit from spending some time outdoors. Just make sure everyone is dressed properly in several layers, mittens and a hat.”

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2.    Family game night 

“Invest in some old-fashioned board games and cards,” advises Darby. “Buy real board games, not computer or screen games, and have everyone leave their phones off while you play. With everyone engaged in the activity, time will pass quickly and the whole family will bond.” For little kids, grab Chutes and Ladders, Candyland or Apples to Apples.  Older kids may prefer Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, Battle Ship, Trivial Pursuits or Risk, just to name a few. 

3.    Be productive 

While everyone is stuck inside, you might as well get things done around the house. “Carve out some time between fun activities to do some chores,” says Darby. “For example, you can clean out your child’s closet – figuring out what even still fits – then reward everyone for their cooperation with a fun activity by baking or watching a movie.”

4.    Throw a party

Spending time with the family can be an incredible experience, but even after a short time, there might be a need to interact with other people. “Plan a simple dinner with family, friends or neighbors and invite the kids can participate in the preparations,” says Darby. “It gives everyone something to look forward to and adds more activity possibilities as you cook and clean in preparation.”

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5.    Break up the day

“The real key to surviving cabin fever is to break up the day,” says Darby. “Even a fun activity can become monotonous, if repeated for hours on end. Instead try varying activities and mixing in a few chores to keep everyone moving and busy. “

Darby Fox, child & adolescent family therapist, has over 20 years of experience providing individual and group therapy in both non-profit and private settings.