If-you’ve-had-Daniel-Tiger-on-a-loop-for-two-months-straight-because-it’s-so-freaking-cold-outside-and-you-can’t-think-of-anything-else-to-do-clap-your-hands! *clap, clap*
You might live somewhere where you have to put gloves on so you can tolerate your frigid steering wheel. If you do? Hi. I’m here for you. Life with a toddler is already a struggle, but I swear it gets 25 times harder the second Halloween’s over and you’re debating whether the extra dollars on your heating bill are worth it. Long gone are the trips to the splash pads, and in its place is cold sadness.
But, I got you girl. Here are four simple ways to survive winter with a toddler:
Be that mom. The playdate mom.
I know you’ve been thinking of having Jenna and baby Marci over for a while now, but you’ve always come up with excuses. Well, stop. I’m giving you permission to invite them over. FYI having a messy house is not an excuse. Spray a little Febreeze and you’re golden. Don’t let anything dissuade you from socializing. You don’t even have to plan anything super special. Toddlers love toys. And you know what toddlers love more than toys? Somebody else’s toys. You’re set.
The biggest bonus is you don’t even have to leave your house. It’s a win-win.
My biggest tips:
1. Have snacks on hand (not just for your toddlers, but for mamas too!)
2. Plan the playdate for after the nap. I feel like this one’s pretty obvious.
3. Take out your phone right now (wherever you are), look up your next free day on your calendar app and TEXT HER ALREADY.
Free Food? Free admission? Be there.
I had a friend tell me once; “It looks like you guys are always doing something fun- I need to be more like you.” I almost laughed. All those cute insta stories I posted of my son playing at the gym? Yeah, that was the free trial they give you before you commit to a plan. Us sharing that giant cup of frozen yogurt? National frozen yogurt day. My point is, there are options all around you. Some events are great, some not so much. But, if you can make it out of the house, that’s honestly a bigger win than the froyo.
The secret? Facebook. Facebook is the treasure trove of events. Browse the events section on your app and maneuver the different filters to times and dates that might work for you. Often businesses and other locations are desperate to have attendees and will make their events public. If you click the little “interested” button with the star on it, Facebook will send you a
notification.There is even an option to export the event, with all its information to your calendar app. That has helped this busy mama stay organized.
My biggest tips:
1. Like your city’s Facebook page. Cities often post free events. By attending, you will be supporting your community and often small businesses too!
2. Don’t be disappointed if some of your events don’t meet your expectations. Your toddler is going to have a melt-down. Expect it. Embrace it. You are a survivor.
3. Be creative with the events you attend. You’re not a crafty person, but there’s a craft fair? Try it! Give your child the gift of experiences. Don’t knock it till you try it.
Libraries are a Godsend
Most libraries have weekly toddler times and story times. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE. I am the biggest advocate of toddler time. It’s a great opportunity for your toddlers to develop social skills and comprehension. It is also a wonderful transition to Kindergarten. Our librarian encourages all the toddlers to sit on the big carpet while she reads books. Does my little boy stay on the carpet the whole time? Heck no. He’s always off playing with the dang blinds. Try to remember that toddlers are expected to explore the world around them. They’re not going to stay on the carpet. They’re going to knock down books. And, they’re probably going to run to the water fountain because they’re “thirsty”. But, don’t let that stop you from going!
My biggest tips:
1. Make a play date out of it! Libraries typically have a lot of space for little ones with toys and books galore. It would be a great change of scenery for them, and can be a fun location for you and a friend.
2. Check books out, duh! Get yourself a library card.. A good new book can be so helpful in entertaining little ones for future winter days.
3. Get back into the reading game yourself! Sometimes, while I’m watching my son playing
with the toys, I’ll grab a book and read it. Ugh. It feels so good to read.
Do those sensory bins you’ve seen all over pinterest
We’ve all seen the sensory activities. We’ve all had the thought “I should probably do that with my baby”. We all have the Pinterest Boards. What better day to try them than on a cold blustery winter day?
It doesn’t have to be something beautiful, grandiose, or expensive. This mama gets all her sensory items from the dollar store. No joke. I even find stuff lying around the house! One of my son’s favorite activities is sticking crayons through holes we drilled in a container lid from the dollar store. The other? Transporting leftover Christmas pom-poms from one side of a serving dish to another. I’m telling you. Cheap. As. Heck.
My biggest tips:
1. The best person to follow for ideas is @thebusytoddler on instagram. She is the Kris Jenner of sensory bins and all things play for toddlers. The ideas she comes up with are so simple- yet genius!
2. Bring a portable sensory activity in the car with you on road trips. We leave ours in the car and it’s been a LIFE.SAVER.
3. Make a dollar store run, assemble all your activities and rotate them! I like to keep them all on a top shelf, and when my toddler starts to get antsy and reckless, I pull one down for him.
Finally, my biggest tip to surviving the cold winter: GO OUTSIDE. You gotta do your girl Elsa proud and remember that “the cold never bothered [you] anyway.” It might sound crazy, but embrace the cold! Your toddler is running around going stir crazy? How about asserting that energy to sledding? You haven’t had fresh air in days? Well, zip up those jackets where the little ones can’t put their arms down and take a walk to the mailbox. Don’t let this winter dampen your spirits. Be the cool mom that comes in clutch with the hot cocoa and the snow boots. You got this, mama.
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