Staying Positive When Cold and Flu Season Keeps You Homebound, by Anne Jones

Winter brings cold weather, hot drinks, and extra blankets. If your family is like mine, winter also means trying to limit our exposure to the plethora of viruses that circulate the population this time of year. Efforts to keep healthy, however, can mean limiting public outings and gatherings. Keeping the “winter blues” away sometimes requires more creativity at home. These are a few suggestions if you are looking for some fun family ideas to help stay positive this time of year.

Go on an Audio Adventure Together

Audio dramas can be a screen-free way to be entertained together as a family. Relevant Radio’s The Merry Beggars has three audio shows including one on saints as well as A Christmas Carol. If you have or your parish offers FORMED, it has different audio dramas including The Legends of Robin Hood (preview for age appropriateness) and the Truth to Inspire Series on saints for children. For podcasts, Aleteia suggests five different options for Catholic kids to check out . The Family Road Trip Trivia Podcast is a trivia podcast with a variety of topics that can be fun to play as an individual challenge game or all together to guess the answers. Local libraries may offer audiobooks on their digital platforms or contact free pickup for audio books on CD.

Get Crafty or Science-y

If your life is not already full of crafts and science projects, winter can be a fun opportunity to do some of these with your kids. Deep Space Sparkle has art projects searchable by grade level and Catholic Icing has many ideas for crafts centered around the Catholic faith. A google search for “science experiments with household items” brings up many websites with links or ideas for easy science fun at home.

Establish new Routines

It may be fun to establish a new “winter routine.” This could mean taco Tuesday, trivia Thursday, pizza and movie Fridays, board game Saturday, or scavenger hunt Sunday, to name a few options. One of my friends decided during the COVID lockdown to have a fruit challenge with her family. Each week, they would try a new type of fruit together and learn interesting facts about it. Coming up with a new routine that works for your family can be uplifting and you may even decide to continue it the rest of the year!

Stay Connected With Friends and Family Through Video

If you use FaceTime or another video connection program, consider playing board games with friends or family over these platforms (with each party having a copy of the same game). My children enjoy playing Battleship and Bingo with their grandparents via FaceTime and it has been a fun way to stay connected.

Plan for Spring and Summer

Sometimes when the weather is gloomy and you are stuck inside, it can be fun to start planning for warmer weather. Talk and explore options together for a summer vacation or day trips when flu and cold season ends.

There are so many fun ideas out there to stay positive when you are staying home. I would love for you to share what works for your family in the comments below. Keep in mind, keeping it simple often works best and these ideas are not meant to add stress to your life. If life is full or your current routine is working, it’s perfectly fine not to do anything different at all. I hope you all have a healthy and happy winter season!

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