Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Surviving cabin fever

We've had one of those weeks at home where cabin fever has infected each one of us. Due to head colds and rainy weather, the kids and I had mostly been stuck at home each day driving one another insane.

By Wednesday, our third day at home, I was beginning to feel claustrophobic. It felt as though the rain clouds were closing in on me like smoke from a fire. I needed to get out of my house and away from the space invaders - my children. Everything that entered my personal space was making me cranky.Fin kept wanting to be held all day and Issy was constantly announcing she was bored and hungry. Even my own body was being smothered by a virus that took up residence in my nose, sinus cavities and throat. I started getting frustrated at all the little things. The toothpaste left in the sink, the crumbs on the rug and the lack of sunshine.

The clock could not be ticking any slower. It was still another three and a half hours until my husband arrived home from work.  I needed a plan of survival. So, I opened the back sliding doors of the house, let in some fresh air and told myself the following…

Breathe in…

I am at work. I am a preschool teacher. I am creative, energetic and I love singing, kids' craft and routine. My day finishes at 7.30pm (the kids bedtime).

Breathe out.

I then turned around to walk back into the house as a new woman.

Okay, I know it sounds strange but it actually worked for me. Maybe my imagination isn't so bad after all. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing happily. I put on a playschool CD and we sat on a sunshine-coloured rug, singing and acting out nursery rhymes. Fin loved it so much that he even clapped for the first time. We then went for a walk outside in the sprinkling rain; Fin is his stroller and Issy by my side. We collected beautifully coloured leaves, flowers, and sticks. Back at home, Issy and I glued them onto paper & hung them up for display. By the time my husband got home I was still having fun. I had more than just survived the afternoon.

Now it's your turn to try it!

Here's some activities I regularly resort to on cabin fever days...

1. Safari trip: Make a pair of binoculars with two toilet rolls. Use sticky tape to hold them together & hide small plastic animals (or any toy animals you may have)  around the home for your child/children to find.

2. Nature collage: Send the kids out into the backyard to pick up "treasures". Anything pretty - flowers, leaves, bark etc. With older kids you could ask them to get something blue, red, green etc. Once they return, grab some glue and stick the treasures onto a peice of A4 or A3 paper.

3. Look through old photos albums: Both my children loved this. Fin enjoyed touching the faces of people he knew and Isabella liked asking lots of questions.

4. Put on some kids' songs and dance and sing along. If kid music drives you insane put your own music on. We went through a month of playing Goyte nearly every afternoon. It lifted my spirits and Issy loved bopping along. I once made the mistake of playing Psy's 'Gangnam Style'. I have never seen Issy so excited. But when she started to shake her butt and pout her lips without being prompted during the "heyyyy sexy lady" line, I decided we probably should hold off on the under 18s dance party for now.

5. Invite people over to entertain your kids & you. That's what grandparents, auntys and uncles are for right? If you don't have family around then invite your friends with kids over for a play date. Half the time they are also looking for something to do too.

6. Kids cooking. Make some simple muffins, piklets, no-cook playdough or pancakes. You can view my pancake / piklet recipes here: http://mummyandtheminis.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/playdough-pancakes.html If you have more than one child, try and get each person to take turns to do different things. The more kids the merrier as each child can lick a bowl or spoon at the end - no need to wash up!

7. Dress ups - Raid your wardrobe and find scarfs, big shoes and old dresses. Then take photos of your silly costumes.

8. Build an indoor cubby house - we made ours inbetween the wall and the lounge. The cubby ceiling was made of three big pillows with a queen size sheet to cover it.

9. An indoor picnic / tea party - Get out your good tea set, the one on display behind the glass cabinet, and set up a 'grown ups' tea party. If you have toddlers, stick to the plastics. Babies, such as my Fin, also love to chew on the BPA goodness of plastic tea sets.

10. Create your own puzzles - Get the pencils out and get your child to draw a great big picture on A3 paper  or cardboard then draw a jigsaw puzzle on it, cut it out and try and put it back together. They will be entertained for a minute or two...until they ask for your help.

Enjoy surviving your next cabin fever.