Rebecca Hagelin

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-TV - it can offer great entertainment for the family and be an absolute lifesaver when parents can’t keep a child occupied and simply must attend to other responsibilities.

But most of us know we can do better for our children, even on gloomy winter days.

How To Save Your Family With Winter Creativity

Let’s take advantage of winter’s enforced ‘indoor time’ and cultivate some creativity instead.

1. Read aloud as a family at night, no matter how old your children are. Bill Bennett’s classics, The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass are ideal short selections. Try the children’s series, Sticky Situations, for conversation starters. The books present short, real-life situations and ask children to judge various solutions.

2. Make board games more accessible. If they’re shut away in a drawer, your children won’t search for them. Try placing them on open shelves, below coffee tables, or out in the open. Start a tradition of calling bad weather days “family board game days”. Board games spark new conversations and offer family time and competition (who doesn’t like to defeat an older sibling?).

3. Break out the craft supplies and turn your kitchen table into a workbench! Children are endlessly creative and it won’t take a lot of convincing to bring their creative sides out. Washable paint was invented with mothers in mind, so buy a bunch and use it! When my kids were young, I kept several inexpensive easels set up, with smocks and paints handy. The kids spent hours painting everything they possibly could - including each other at times!

4. Re-capture car-time: Before every child had a phone and every car had a DVD player, children read books in the car, played travel games, and listened to audio books. If your kids typically are plugged in during car rides, anticipate the protests. Start small and select one day of the week as a no-screen day. Or pick a day when car-time will be book time or listening time or select a style of music for each day (Monday is classical, Tuesday is rock, etc.). Keep books in the car suitable for your children’s ages and tuck small travel games in the seat pockets. They will discover fun as they wean off the easy, but numbing, stimulation of screens.

Screens don’t have to rule our lives—or our parenting styles. Find out what your children’s interests are and use those to draw them away from the television…and chase away the gloom of winter with creativity and fun.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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