Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Cabin Fever

When it's so cold, your face hurts.

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

My kids are going stir crazy. Even crazier than usual. So if you're tracking and quantifying, that's really freaking crazy. Winter in Wisconsin is enough to make a completely sane adult lose their mind, so I'm sure I don't need to explain what that means for the toddler mind.

It's been about negative bazillion degrees outside. While I normally suffer through the 45 minutes it takes to bundle everyone up in their snow gear in order to have 15 minutes of peace and quiet while they play on the back patio, it's been too cold for that. Heaven help us.

Since the cold snap, everyone in the FaceBook Mom groups are all, "What's the rule for when is it too cold for kids to be outside?" And I'm all, "just throw on an extra layer, put some Vaseline on their faces, and shove 'Em out the door." They will tell me if they're too cold. These are little people who whine about the shape their sandwiches are cut into and sob about the color of their socks, they'll tell you if the temperature is not to their liking. Bearing this philosophy in mind, when I see the temp is -15F and -37F with windchill, not even I can stomach sending the troops out...Which means it's the four of us, locked in the house. All. Day. Long.

My nearly 4 year old son needs to run around. There is a lot of energy that gets bottled up if he isn't throwing snow at the house or running laps on the patio. (Which has to be pretty difficult in full snow gear.) if we can't go outside and get a little cardio in, the unused boy energy is then converted into shenanigans that manifest in behaviors that I like to categorize as "Why the heck would you do that?!" It's all very scientific, folks.

"Why the heck would you do that?!" Behaviors include (but are definitely not limited to):

  • Taking the (insert miscellaneous toy of the moment) your baby brother is playing with and smacking him across the face with it.
  • Emptying your sock drawer and UNMATCHING all the pairs. (Because your mother didn't spend hours hunting down all your lost socks and repairing them with their lonely mates.)
  • Dumping all the Legos out of the box and then kicking them under the couch. ::eye twitch::
  • Locking your sister in the bathroom.
  • Locking your brother in the bathroom.
  • Locking yourself in the bathroom.
  • "Painting" your face with "raspberry paint" at lunch. (For the record, this is just smashing and smearing raspberries all over your precious 3 year old face and then attempting to convince an adult or guardian that you were being artistic.)
  • Emptying the contents of your sister's bed and throwing it down the stairs.
  • Shoving cheese up your nose because you "like how it smells."

In an effort to reduce or, best case scenario, prevent these happenings, we go outside. We push dump trucks around in the snow, build snow mountains and chuck handfuls of snow at the side of the house. We watch our shovel-aversed neighbor attempt to use a leaf blower on his driveway. (That's fascinating for both toddlers and adults.)

Some days they'll play for a solid hour, and that's totally worth having my patio door frozen shut because they piled snow on the threshold. Other days, they're pounding on the patio door to come in after five minutes screaming that their faces hurt. It was worth a shot, right? Those are the days I take a deep breath, lock the door, pull the blinds and put in some ear plugs.

Just kidding. But I do hide the Legos and brace myself for a couple bathroom lock-ins.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.