Tips on Keeping Busy this Winter From LUK Prevention

Tips on Keeping Busy this Winter From LUK Prevention 

Amber Haney / LUK Prevention Team

 

Winter break during a pandemic leaves many of us with more time (and boredom) than we know what to do with. Despite the many adverse ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us, there are still many options for keeping busy, nourishing our mental health, and staying connected. With the help of LUK Prevention staff, we’ve compiled some resources for families and caregivers to consider while attempting to stay busy this winter break. Creating strong, quality bonds within the family has also proven to be an effective preventative factor of youth substance use, especially during challenging times! Showing up for your children may look a little different this winter break, but is likely to build important resiliency skills, nonetheless. 

 

Activity ideas for the family:

Indoor Activities

  • Create something. Try: Painting, drawing, making bracelets, making paper snowflakes, host an at-home gallery with your child’s past artworks; (try out a Fitchburg Art Museum activity). 

  • Holiday fun. Try: Decorating the house, making hand-made gifts or cards for loved ones, making hot cocoa, enjoying a holiday movie night, making a gingerbread house, creating a dough ornament, create new family traditions.

  • Learn a new skill. Try: A new recipe, baking cookies, knitting or crocheting, DIY projects at home.

  • Play! Try: Creating a blanket fort, singing, arranging a dance party, setting up a quarantine playdate, enjoying a movie night, doing a puzzle, hosting a family game night, making a themed dinner (i.e., Taco Tuesday, DIY pizza night). 

  • Relax. Try: Curling up with a good book, writing a letter to a friend or family member, writing down what you’re grateful for, meditating, trying yoga, watching a favorite TV show, coloring. 

 

Outdoor Activities 

  • Create something. Try: Nature crafts, snowmen or snow creations, pinecone bird feeders, paint rocks and leave them for others to find; specific ideas can be found at Thimble and Twig.

  • Holiday fun. Try: Driving around and seeing some lights, decorating the outside of the house, making outdoor wreaths with natural materials.

  • Play! Try: Snowball fight, ice skating, build snow structures, nature-themed scavenger hunt.

  • Relax. Try: Going for a walk, practice mindfulness (notice the world around you), feed the birds.

*Ask your children what they want to do, too. Let them help in the activity brainstorming process! (See additional detailed ideas in the references and resources list below).

 

These activities aren’t meant to be just for children -- caregivers are allowed to have fun, too! Be sure to plan activities that you all will enjoy, too! Parents/caregivers, remember: It’s okay to not have every second of the day planned out. Allowing youth to develop their own independence and coping skills is an important practice to reinforce, too. 

 

Tips for parents:

  • Do something for YOU… Even if it’s just starting the day with a cup of tea/coffee and a few affirmations in the mirror. 

  • Self-care isn’t selfish. Take a moment to be alone, assess and nourish your own needs and desires. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

  • Breathe. A few deep breaths can go a long way. Take a moment to breathe, engage in a mindfulness or meditation practice, even for just a few minutes each day.

  • Keep organized. Create a list; keep some semblance of a routine and consistency, even during the break.

  • Move your body. Take a moment to stretch or get up and move.

  • Give yourself grace. We are our own worst critics, give yourself grace as you navigate parenting in completely unexpected circumstances. We repeat: It’s okay not to have every second of the day planned out!!



References & Resources

Connecticut Children’s (2020). Winter Break During COVID-19: How to Keep Kids Entertained on Holiday Staycation. Retrieved from https://www.connecticutchildrens.org/coronavirus/winter-break-during-covid-19-how-to-keep-kids-entertained-on-holiday-staycation/

 

Fitchburg Art Museum (2020). Hands-On-Fun! Retrieved from https://fitchburgartmuseum.org/hands-on-art-projects/  

 

Healthline (2020). 7 Ways to Cope When You’re Cooped Up During Winter COVID-19 Lockdown. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/7-ways-to-cope-when-youre-cooped-up-during-winter-covid-19-lockdown

 

Morin, A. (2020) 50 Fun Things for Teens to Do This Winter. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfamily.com/fun-winter-activities-for-teens-2608987

 

The New York Times, (2020). Take Your Kids on a Vacation, At Home. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/18/parenting/kids-winter-break-activities.html

 

Thimble and Twig (2019). Outdoor Winter Nature Activities for Kids. Retrieved from https://thimbleandtwig.com/outdoor-winter-nature-activities-for-kids/



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