Ok, let’s be real – we’re not talking “winter winter” here. Not the kind of capital-W Winter always threatening to come in a certain mega-popular TV series. This is South Africa after all, where the edges of the day might acquire a bit of a chill, yet the thing itself often falls somewhere on the scale between balmy and blistering, providing more than enough fodder for the tongue-in-cheek “winter in SA” posts with which we like to tease our friends and family living in colder climates.
But what about the days when it does actually rain, when the cold bites and the angry wind makes park and beach visits out of the question? They may be rarer than they are up north, but they nonetheless inspire a fair amount of fear and anguish in parents the nation over, as we anticipate battling to placate miserable kids who’re doing little more than whining about being bored and fighting over the tablet.
But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some tips to help you make the best of the rainy days, keeping your kids happy AND your sanity intact:
1. Pare down that schedule. You might be tempted to reach for that list of go-to places and kids classes to keep them busy as soon as the weather turns foul, but truth is, they don’t need something super-exciting every single day. Chill days are vital in allowing them to recoup and recharge from the busyness of everyday life.
2. Start building a rainy-day stash now. A novel game or project can really save you when the day goes awry. Select a few and hunt down the components you need to make them happen. Most kids love sensory playthings like play dough, slime and kinetic sand. And the more complex crafts and games can keep bigger kids entertained for hours. The key is to help them explore the materials and concepts without the pressure of producing a flawless final product.
3. Change your space. Use what materials you have at hand for some whimsical temporary renovations. Relish in the process of creating a magnificent fortress, from plotting out its design, to testing different options and furnishing your final creation – an excuse to try out those beautiful paper snowflakes! Never mind the mess for now, the magic of it all will be well worth it.
4. Get creative with food. Introduce them to some new textures and flavours in amongst their favourites with a monkey platter. Or have them join you in the kitchen – some quick and easy baking for littlies, or something more elaborate for budding young chefs. You could even take your cues from the fabulous cooking tutorials on the Tasty channel and collaborate on making an instructional video of your kids' own cooking process.
5. Make it all about them. Shrug off that supervisor's coat and vow to watch and listen as your kids direct the play. Take an interest in the stories and shows they love, get your silly on in a dress-up role-play, or let your older kids teach you how to navigate their favourite computer games. It's a chance for you to really see them, and for them to bask in that attention, as well as the rare opportunity for some invaluable free play.
Clearly, bad weather doesn’t have to mean cabin fever and parental distress. With some preparation and creative thinking, you can turn a miserable day into a magical one.
Date Published: 07 June 2016