One of the most depressing things about January is that it tends to be grey, dreary, and wet outside. Truly sunny days are rare and cherished; and even when they do come, it’s often too cold to play outside. In the Knoxville area, there’s frequently no snow—just cloudy and damp. Trapped inside with kids who are clamoring for a bit of sunshine, missing the freedom herself, what’s a mom to do?
Find different ways to get up and moving, of course! Exercise might not be a cure-all, but it is a mood booster; and if you can find a way to get out of the house—even if you’re going somewhere indoors—you can get everyone involved and break the monotony a little.
Have a dance party! Go to YouTube and pick your kids’ favorite songs. It might be Disney music; it might be Veggie Tales silly songs; it might be music from their favorite television show. Whatever makes them get up and giggle a little, go with it! Keep playing songs, and keep dancing, until you’re all breathless. See? Your mood’s getting better already.
Bundle up and go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a long walk; but if it’s not raining in earnest, go out for a little bit of fresh air. Even ten or fifteen minutes can be a real mood booster. Go around the block—or even just to the end of the driveway to check the mail. If that’s all you can stand to be outside in the cold, that’s okay!
Go bowling. It’s a great way to burn off a little bit of energy and have fun at the same time. If your little ones are less than coordinated, consider bowling with bumpers (it might just “bump” your score, too!)
Choose an exercise DVD that works for both you and the kids. A lot of kids are better at yoga than adults are. They might also get a kick out of an aerobics workout or a dance tape. Whatever gets them (and you) moving, take advantage of it!
Play video games that involve activity, not just sitting. Both the Wii and the Xbox Kinect have a wide variety of choices, including several that are appropriate for younger children.
Use jumping jacks as an incentive for wiggly kids. Have a kid that just can’t sit still? Have them stand up and do ten (or twenty) jumping jacks. If you’re feeling energetic, do them along with them!
Chase younger kids through the house. It’ll make them giggle and refresh everyone.
Have a tickle fight. Find a reason to pounce on your kids and tickle them until you’re all breathless.
Start a pillow fight…or a rubber band or Nerf war. Rubber bands are not recommended for young children or the less coordinated. Also, be forewarned: you may be picking up small projectiles for a very long time. There’s another “get them moving” task for the kids!
Take younger kids to play areas at the mall. Both West Town and Foothills Mall in Maryville have play areas that will keep them busy for a little while. Foothills Mall is intended more for younger kids, while West Town will keep them busy up to a slightly older age.
If all else fails, try Chuck E Cheese. Yes, it’s loud. Yes, the pizza leaves a lot to be desired (and reminds you a lot of cardboard.) But it’s a fun place where your kids will go, get loud, and burn off a lot of the winter blues—and if they’re perky and excited, it’s hard for you to be down in the dumps.
Look for opportunities to get your kids up and moving. The longer they sit, the greater the blahs are going to be. Being trapped inside can make it hard, but with a little bit of effort, you can have them running around and laughing again in no time.