Surviving the Long Winter with Kids


Surviving winter with kids in the Midwest is not for the faint of heart. We moms have to pull out every trick in the playbook in order to keep our sanity intact.

Winter doesn’t technically start until December 21st, but here in the Midwest it feels like it runs from Mid October to Late May. The first half of this extended season is survived with a flurry of Pumpkin Spice, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas activities. We eke out an extra week of survival as we march towards New Years, but as soon as that ball drops it is like the sugar plums fade from our eyes and all we see is the bleakness of winter. We’re faced with cold temperatures, sugar overloads, and cabin fever. Leading up to Christmas any housebound antsy behavior could be headed off with a threat of Santa foregoing presents. After the big guy arrives, we’ve lost all leverage.

Fear not fellow moms, we will survive and live to complain about the heat and humidity. Until we get there however, here’s a few ideas to get you through a long midwestern winter.

surviving winter with kids

Embrace the Season

Shifting your attitude towards winter can go along way. Make like Denmark and use those winter days to appreciate all things cozy. The Danish call it “hygge” which roughly translates into a gratitude and appreciation for family and friends and all things warm and cozy. Feel frenzied after the holidays? Use the weather as an excuse to stay home and spend time with your kids, catch up on reading, and reflect on the New Year. Bonus: a feeling of gratitude has a huge mental impact as well, something so important as decreased sunlight can bring you down. Self care is an important part of surviving winter with kids.

Get Outside

Obviously this won’t work on those sub zero windchill days where it hurts to breathe. But if the weather is only slightly cold, remember the old Scandinavian saying “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” Remember how much you shelled out for that snow gear? Put it to use. Yes, it takes forever but it is amazing what a little fresh air can do for the spirits. Explore some of your favorite warm weather hiking spots and take a minute to appreciate how they change for the season. Being outside is one of the most important tips for surviving winter with kids.

Check out QC Wild Places or Let’s Move QC for ideas of where to go. 

Bring the Outside Inside

Hands down one of the best purchases my husband and I ever made for our kids was a mini trampoline. Yes it takes up a ton of room (we had to put it away so we could put up the Christmas Tree), Yes it doesn’t look pretty. But man, does that thing burn energy. We got one that both kids and adults can use and it gets a ton of use between my boys and my husband….ok I use it too! Having a swingset that installs in a doorway has also been a godsend for burning off cabin fever. Finding ways to do your favorite activities indoors (or at least in the warmth of a garage) can help beat the winter blues and keep you surviving winter with kids.  Whatever you enjoy doing outdoors, think about a way to bring it inside. Don’t have room for a lot of extra stuff? Trying hitting up one of the many indoor pools in the area and splash around pretending its mid-July!

kids playing inside surviving winter with kids

Embrace and Celebrate the Winter’s Other Holidays

Christmas gets all the attention during Winter, but taking time to observe or at least recognize some other holidays (some even get a day off of school). My favorites are Martin Luther King Jr Day, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. But hidden away also National Dress Up Your Pet Day (January 14th),  National Popcorn Day (January 19th), Groundhog Day,  and Pi Day (March 14), If nothing else, having a countdown to the next holiday, even if it is only National Tell a Fairy Tale Day (February 26th), will make those long winter days soar by.

What do you do to survive winter with kids?  Hit us up with all your best tips.



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