Winter is a great time for families

JENNIFER BRIDGE


The winter months are a great time to catch up on much needed family time. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, you cannot get outdoors as much, but around your home you have plenty of indoor activities to do with your children that can create a meaningful family experience and lots of wonderful memories. The pandemic has created chaos in some families, and I have heard many comment they’ve had too much family time!

Time with their parents is extremely important to the well-being of children. Studies have shown families who spend time together have happier, healthier kids who do better in school and with online learning. Family time promotes emotional health in kids, which is linked to a greater likelihood that they will avoid risky behaviors, such as drug use, and have lower risks for depression.

The possibilities for meaningful indoor family time are as limitless as your imagination. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about activities to do with your kids.

Story time: While you can and should spend time reading to your children, there is so much more you can do with story time. Let your imaginations run wild as you make up stories together. Make up a silly story to tell your kids or involve them in the creation of a silly story. You can also take turns sharing your favorite family stories or memories.

Dance party: Dancing to music is a great way to improve everyone’s mood and get your hearts pumping when outside physical activities are limited. Let everyone have a turn selecting a song. Remember to keep the music age appropriate, especially with younger children.

Kitchen time: Especially around the holidays, you can spend so much family time cooking in the kitchen. Whip up something sweet to share for an after-dinner treat. Have your children help you prepare food items that will be gifts for friends and family members. Not only will you be spending time together but you’ll be teaching them valuable math and life skills that are central to food preparation.

Scavenger hunts: The premise of this game is to send a child or children with a list of objects to go find and retrieve. It is simple to create and can be as long or short as you wish. Start by making a list of items commonly found in or around your home. Continue to add items to the list that require creativity and/or adventure, such as “buried treasure” which you can define however you chose.

Get outside when weather permits! The crisp, cool air has a wonderful way of clearing the mind and improving moods!

More information on parenting and families is available at the Meade County Extension office.

Source: David Weisenhorn, senior specialist for parenting and child development education Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

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