Surviving Cabin Fever


That’s the view from my kitchen window.

Okay, not really.

Minus the whale and it comes pretty darn close.

Winter in Wisconsin. Enough said.

Still, weather experts keep harping on the fact that we’ve had a mild winter thus far. Of course, our neck of the woods often experiences wind chills in the -20 to -30 degree range (take note of the minus signs), so I suppose single digits, teens and 20s above zero is a virtual heat wave.

But, I’m from Hawaii, so everything is relative.

Regardless, when you have kids, winter can be a real drag even if the temperatures are in the “normal” range by climatological standards.

What’s more, if you are a parent, you know that cabin fever is no laughing matter, no matter how warm winter’s cold temperatures are.

And by cabin fever I mean, it’s three o’clock and a seemingly innocent game of Jenga starts… and someone always ends up crying. It’s four o’clock, your couch has been turned into a trampoline and your oldest is giving bucking bronco rides to the youngest… and someone always ends up crying. It’s five o’clock and the McDonald’s drive-thru play set is doubling as a shield against pillow cannons and sock bullets shot from a Nerf blaster… and someone always ends up crying.

And by someone I mean you.

Kids need fresh air and room to roam, and you need a moment’s peace and a stiff libation, but Mother Nature is not cooperating, so what’s a mother with sir crazy kids to do?

I say send them outside even if it’s only for a few minutes.

However, if Old Man Winter’s rage is so ferocious that going out is not an option, consider these alternatives:

Tub Time: If you have toddlers, playing in the water can be a good way to break the monotony. If nothing else at least your kids will enjoy playing with some different toys for a while.

Dance Party: Get the kids off the couch, crank up the tunes, and have a dance par-tay. Let little ones shake out their sillies and burn off some steam in the comfort of a warm basement.

Run ’em Ragged: Find some open space in your living room, family room or basement and set-up a game of Duck, Duck Goose, musical chairs or Red Rover, so kids can burn off steam.

If all else fails, find another indoor area to explore. If you don’t want to spend money on admission to the children’s museum, gym or bounce house center, head to the mall or even a big box retailer with wide aisles and plenty to look at.

Related Articles:

Simple Snow Day Crafts for Kids

Sweet Treats to Make on a Snow Day

Simple Winter Boredom Busters for Kids

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.