Tips to Avoid Homeschool Cabin Fever
Ah, winter. Cozy days in front of the fire. Decorations hung around the house. Snowflakes on the window panes. Holiday songs on the radio. It’s the season of candles, warm drinks, tasty treats, and togetherness. The time we hunker down, slow down and reconnect.
Yes, all these things are true. Know what else is true? Cold + Kids = Cabin Fever
Confession, winter can sometimes feel a little bit like torture as a homeschool parent. Homeschool cabin fever is a real struggle, especially for homeschool families. Believe me, I live in 210 sq ft and I can’t stand being cold. Staying inside in our sweats with the heat blasting is a tempting option. Until the cabin fever sets in. Let’s be real, it can get ugly. It doesn’t have to!
Avoiding Homeschool Cabin Fever
The key? Beat it before it shows up. Yes, you may have a massive snowstorm and be stuck inside. With a little bit of planning and some tools on your side, you can avoid cabin fever this year. It’s going to take a little bit of effort. And, yes, you will probably get cold. Believe me, I never want to leave my house when I know I will get cold. Know what else will happen other than being cold? Memories, laughter, learning, and fun. After I get myself out the door, I’m always glad I did. (Don’t worry, not all these tips require venturing out into the cold! I have several cozy ideas for at home).
Tips to avoid cabin fever:
- The “Snowy Day” Box (or rainy day box if you’re in the PNW like me!) This proves one of my best investments of time and money time and time again. It’s a box full of special items that only come out when I think cabin fever is trying to sneak in. I actually have two boxes. One box with brand new items and another with special “snowy day” items. The new items come out when the situation is desperate. It then gets added to the other box when we put it away. The box is never out more than a couple of days in a row. It might only make an appearance every few weeks. But my-oh-my is it a godsend. I collect items all year long. It’s a great way to gather things when they’re on sale. Fill it with toys, books, instruments, blocks, activity books, art supplies, balls, craft materials, nail polish, snacks… you get the idea. (Note- this is also awesome to pull out if unexpected company shows up and you need the kids to be entertained. Or if you want a few hours to catch up on your favorite show on Netflix!)
- A co-op or nature group- One of the best motivators for me to get out of the house is our nature group. Even on the coldest days, we’re excited to go. The time with other homeschool families refreshes our souls. It’s my precious time to go be with other Mamas. It’s our time for friendship and exploration. Finding something you’re excited about is a huge motivating factor to get out. You don’t even have to take off the sweatpants! Plus, the kids are 100% worn out at the end of the day. It’s the perfect way to spend a morning followed by a quiet afternoon at home. (Note- a pre-paid class is also super motivating.
- New homeschool activities- Introducing a child to a new activity is an excellent way to capture their attention. It’s especially great at keeping cabin fever away. ShillerLearning works hard to create beautiful FREE activity packs every month. They’re full of projects, lessons, crafts, games, and more. Download a few and grab the needed materials now before you need them. They’re sure to keep the kids engaged and supply you with options when “Mom, I’m bored!” comes your way.
- Create- Nothing works quite like tapping into creativity. This is the season of crafts, baking, and cooking. I’m not surprised. Creating keeps away the cabin fever! Make a list of project ideas and recipes. Have ingredients and supplies on hand. Create to your heart’s content!
- Explore- Exploring nature in winter is remarkable. Animals are easier to track. Changes in plants are observable. The air is fresh and clean. Plus, snowball fights aren’t going to happen inside!
- Manage your mindset- Our minds and words are powerful. Try to watch what you’re saying and thinking. If everyone is constantly complaining about how horrible winter is and how tired they are of being stuck inside, change it! Even if you don’t believe it quite yet, change it. Turning your talk and thoughts positive and finding gratitude may be the biggest key to beating cabin fever.
- Play- Break out the board games! This can be especially meaningful for parents to have 1:1 time with kids. If your children are picking fights, try playing a game with a couple of them while the others do one of the above activities.
- Staycation- Three words: kids love motels. Some of my family’s favorite memories have been weekend winter getaways within 60 miles of home. Book a night or two somewhere different. Take the chance to be a tourist in your own town. This is a surefire way to beat homeschool cabin fever and refresh your mind and soul! Or book somewhere with a heated indoor pool. Grab yourself a great read and let the kids splash while you relax.
Even though it feels like it might, winter really doesn’t last forever. I promise. Try some new homeschool activities and enjoy! Make the most of it and before you know it, beach season will be back!
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Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.