Cabin Fever

cabin feverDear Diary,

Today we woke up to a fresh snowfall and refreshing 8-degree temps. Since all three kids are in robust health this winter and we finished all of our weekend chores (and grocery shopping! and laundry!) last night, we had the whole Saturday stretching ahead of us to enjoy the weather, sing songs from favorite musicals, and spend quiet time reflecting on the beauty of our spotless and spacious home. The kids couldn’t wait to get outside and dressed themselves in all their outdoor gear with no assistance and no lost mittens! Sledding was a blast and nobody got cranky. Then we all agreed on a 500-piece puzzle to do when we got home. Hope Sunday is just as much fun.

……wrote no actual mom, ever.

Yes folks, it’s that time of year again…when the dreaded cabin fever strikes in concert with actual fevers.

Almost every family has at least one member with the sniffles, Kleenex stock is up, and parents inevitably find themselves spending at least one day lying on a couch feeling sorry for themselves and wishing Super Nanny would show up at the front door and make the kids all get along. Online parenting forums are peppered with threads like, “How do I take a sick day when I’m at home with the kids?” and “How can I keep my kids inside without all of us going crazy?” And while these aren’t identical challenges, there is a lot of overlap in the solutions.

May we offer a few ideas?

First and foremost: NEVER underestimate the power of FORTS. Couch cushion forts, table forts, chair houses, sheet tents. Don’t let them take the cushions out from under your sick self, but other than that, anything is possible. That old bed sheet you’ve been meaning to donate or throw out? Put it over a dining table and give them some markers to draw windows and doors. When you get up to put the teakettle on, you can grab a pair of scissors and cut a door in it. You might be amazed how long this occupies the young ones.

Here are some other fantastic fort ideas from around the web:

Newspaper building stick structures:

A dad’s take on blanket forts:

DIY A-frame fort:

Okay, now that the kids are engaged with fort building, focus on taking care of yourself. Don’t do anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Lower your standards dramatically – the world will keep spinning if your kids get some screen time for one or two days. It’s not going to ruin them. And with young ones especially, remember the power of an old-fashioned kitchen timer – it has some sort of magical power over them. Set the timer and tell them you’re not getting off the couch again until it rings, unless it is an absolute emergency. And it just might work.

Here are a few other tips for sick parents – hope they help!

Be well!

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