Living in New England has its positives and negatives just like most places. However, one of the hardest parts of living here is the winter. Winter in New England starts on roughly October 12th, and it continues through sometime in early May. Being a parent of a toddler on those long winter days can be really rough. Everyone is cooped up in the house, except when you are going outside to shovel for the fourth time in three hours.
Now I know some of you love winter for some inexplicable reason, but you are all beyond help and there is nothing I can do for you. As for the rest of us trying to raise kids during winter, we all know the truth. There are not enough activities in any house on this planet to keep kids occupied and happy all winter long. Especially without a bit too much TV. In the end everyone starts to go a bit stir crazy.
I know what you parents smart enough to live in areas with real climates are saying… “Kids love playing in the snow! Just go out and play!” However, here is the truth on that topic. Toddlers love the idea of snow. They love to play in the snow in short intervals, and then they realize snow is freezing, wet, and overall pretty miserable to be covered in. So the general rotation of spending an hour getting the kiddo ready, 24 minutes outside, and another hour returning the child to their un-bundled state (and cleaning the inevitable pool of water off the floor upon house re-entry) gets old pretty quick.
So what do you do? Anything you can to keep occupied. You color, you do puzzles, you build legos, you go to indoor museums and aquariums, etc. but you run out of ideas sometime in the second week of January. Even your kids start to realize you are really reaching around the 9th time you find yourself at Barnes and Noble sitting on one of those comically small benches reading an Elephant and Piggie book about sneezing…
|Spoiler Alert: Elephant just has a cold and isn’t allergic to his best friend. Just don’t want you all to worry.|
Then, finally, everything changes! The first few days of spring are magical. Kids can run around outside, playgrounds are full, and the sun doesn’t set at 2:15 PM. Come bedtime your child actually sleeps since they ran around all day. You see the sun again, and remember that world actually isn’t only two colors (for those of you who don’t know, New England winter can be drawn with a palette of light and dark grey). You even start to make plans “We could go here! We could do this! We don’t have to watch The Lego Movie again!”
Being outside just makes everyone happier including you and your kids. Happy parenting is always easier and more fun than frustrated or tired parenting. It also makes the rainy days where you are stuck doing inside activities seem way less like a punishment being inflicted by an angry mother nature. There is nothing wrong with time inside, or watching some TV here and there. It’s just the constant bombardment of winter that makes us all a little more on edge and dreary.
All that being said, spring is a wonderful release. Spring in New England is every bit as great as winter is awful. So go enjoy it… for the next 3 months until the snow is back.