If the kiddies are confined to the indoors because the weather outside is snowy, rainy, or sleet-tastic, avoid cabin fever with the following tips. Plenty of fun and fantastic indoor games and activities exist that will keep them from bouncing from wall to wall because they're so gosh-darn bored. Check it out:
Set up a "court" in your living room by moving furniture as needed and using string or twine to create a "net." Blow up a few balloons, make racquets out of paper plates and plastic utensils, and let the kids have it at. Keep plenty of couch cushions and pillows around the court in case the game gets a little rough.
Hide & Seek
Suggest this classic game for hours of indoor fun. The thrill of hiding and the anticipation of waiting to be found will keep little hearts racing all afternoon. Turn off the lights and give the kids flashlights to make the game even more exciting.
Turn your home into a huge obstacle course! Use furniture, pieces of rope or string, plastic bottles, hulu hoops, and anything else that makes for obstacle course fun. Start at your front door and work your way through the house--don't forget the upstairs and basement if applicable!
Use couch cushions, sheets, and pillows to make a huge fort. Create the fort in your living room, den, the kids' playroom, or anywhere else that works. Consider making a fort that extends from one room, goes into a hallway, and ends in another room. The couch cushions work as fort "lining" so little hands and knees do not get sore.
Transform your home into a mini golf course! Use tin cans as the golf "holes" and pieces from foam floaties as putters. Have fun making each "hole" a little more challenging!
Enjoy setting up these activities! Do any of the above ideas inspire other fun indoor games?
NOTE: We found that Smart Stepfamilies had a lot of great data we could use and present in a clear fashion. Check out their site.
How Many Stepfamilies Are There?
Misc Stepfamily Stats
35 Million Americans are Remarried!!! Yep. Lots.
There are 35 million Americans in the US today who are remarried (US Census, 2007).
Stepfamilies Aren't Just From Divorce
Children of Divorce Often Divorce Themselves
Stepfamilies Are Hard Work
In a study by Deal & Olson, The Remarriage Couple Checkup, Thomas Nelson, release date Jan 2009):
The data supports their expectations
Stepfamilies are a fast growing and large group in American society. Don't believe us? Check out some amazing statistics about stepfamilies and blended families that will blow your mind.
The numbers tell the story: The US Bureau of Census relates:
I am in a bind. It is obvious to me that my future stepchildren do not like me and they really oppose my proposed marriage marriage to their mom? Should I go through with my plans to remarry even though my future stepchildren are against the marriage? I struggle between my happiness and causing problems in their family.
First of all, in a second marriage that involves children, you're blending a family. That is rarely easy. And the research proves it is REALLY HARD, with 60 to 73 percent of remarriages involving children in divorce. And if the kids are openly hostile and opposed to the marriage, it stands to reason that you can expect an even rougher ride than the average couple in your situation.
The key thing to know up front is that blended families present parenting challenges that must be navigated with extreme care. Stepparents are often confronted with long-standing alliances and power struggles and that can be a shock initially.
Know ahead of time that you’re going to have to work extremely hard and very consistently to overcome the barriers and develop positive bonds with your new stepchildren. This will take some time and it won’t be easy, but it’s part of the challenge of building a successful blended family. It will mean taking a sincere interest in the kids and spending lots of one-on-one time with each of them. In particular, you’ll want to take special care to praise them at every opportunity instead of simply punishing them when they misbehave. In other words, make an intentional effort to “catch them being good.”
Because of the unique challenges involved, we recommend that those who are planning to remarry and “reconstitute” a family should seek professional counseling well before the wedding. Couples who attempt to “go it alone” may be setting themselves up for frustration and failure. Expectations, roles, and parenting styles should be clarified and openly discussed with the help of an experienced marriage-and-family therapist.
Yep, there are important rules to know. A divided parenting team will falter so make sure you follow these simple rules to keep your home happy and together. These rules will help you work together and keep you on the same side as a parental team. Remember, united you stand, divided you fall.
Rule #1: Be proactive. Before situations arise, try to talk about and anticipate boundary setting, expectations for behavior, limits you will enforce, your preferred modes of punishment, and the values you want to teach your children. Couples who get blind-sided by situations inadvertently find themselves on opposites more often than those who get out in front of parenting matters. You can’t anticipate everything, but being proactive will reduce the size of your blind-spots.
Rule #2: When in doubt, call a parental “pow-wow.” At my house (Ron), our children will occasionally hear the words, “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on that.” My wife and I then have what we call a “pow-wow” or meeting to discuss our decision or how we will handle a situation. This is not a statement of incapability. You may have functioned quite well for many years as a single dad and are quite capable of making decisions and moving on with life. This isn’t about that. It’s about finding unity. Even if it’s inconvenient, go the extra mile to ensure shared agreement in parenting matters. You won’t regret it.
If your children object saying, “You never had to ask anyone before” don’t back away from the process. “That’s true. Before I married your stepmother I didn’t have to consider anyone else. But she’s my wife and I need to include her in this. Now don’t ask again. I’ll get back to you once we’ve talked.”
Rule #3: If you don’t appreciate how something was handled by the stepparent, call a private pow-wow to discuss it. Biological parents, the biggest mistake you can make in this situation is commenting negatively about your spouse in front of the kids or reversing their decision behind their back. Either of those responses under cuts his/her authority and power (which is already a delicate matter to begin with). Instead, first listen to their explanation (if you’ve heard from the children already, they may not have filled in all the details!). If you still wish the situation were handled differently, acknowledge their good intentions: “I appreciate that you were trying to teach Rebecca a lesson. I can see what you were trying to accomplish.” Then, calmly share your thoughts about the situation. This isn’t a competition. It’s about finding a shared position you can both support. Finally, negotiate what will happen “next time.”
Rule #4: Communicate major changes in rules or expectations side-by-side. Standing as a united front communicates solidarity. Suppose one of your pow-wows has resulted in a rule change. If you are still in the early years of your family it’s likely best that the biological parent take the lead in sharing the change with your spouse (stepparent) standing right beside you. The stepparent can certainly add to the conversation but you want your stance to clearly communicate your agreement with the change.
“Alright gang, I know for many years I’ve not required you to help with cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, but were going to make some changes. From now on, if you don’t help prepare the meal plan to stay until the dishes are washed or put away and the counters are clean. I know this is a big change so we’re going to give you some graceful reminders over the next few days, but plan on learning the new system.”
If your children toss a guilt-trip objection your way saying, “You’re only making this change because he/she [the stepparent] wants you to,” stand your ground. “You are a smart kid. Yep, she initiated this discussion, but we wouldn’t be making the change unless I agreed to it. Now let’s get on with it.”
Families have their good and bad times. Family is characterized by rewards and challenges. The same thing happens in stepfamilies.
Integrating a stepfamily is not easy. In some cases parents have a good time when they are together. Everything is perfect but when the children are back in the picture the situation is not as glamorous. 30% of weddings in the US form stepfamilies nowadays.
It may be as a result of the previous couple divorcing or the death of a spouse. A person may also have a child out-of-wedlock and after marrying the same will apply. In all cases children are involved and when either party decides to remarry a stepfamily is formed. Stepfamilies experience their fair share of challenges and rewards just like other families. The positive aspect is that these things eventually lead to tremendous rewards if the people involved do not look back.
There are six important steps that will make your journey manageable. You should step up with an aim of discovering a God who loves and forgives people in stepfamilies. None of the families in the Old Testament were perfect. Stepfamilies are not always as a result of sinful behavior. The family is good even though it does not match God’s design for an ideal home.
Do not have high expectations your stepfamily will integrate quickly. You should be patient. The process of building the family takes time. According to statistics an average stepfamily takes around seven years to form or establish a family identity. Pressure from parents does more harm than good.
Biological parents have to balance their energy and time to the marriage and children. At the same time it is crucial that they communicate to the children that the marriage is unbreakable. Children may be threatened at first but eventually they will accept it.
Parents have to support each other. A stepparent has to occasionally borrow power from a biological parent. The latter should show respect to the former and support him or her in parenting decisions. Children will in the long run come to respect the stepparent.
Things cannot change immediately. Children need to be given time to adjust. You should be ready to carry and honor any traditions they have from the past as you make others that are unique to your family. The last step involves being determined and trusting each other. The fruits of you effort will finally be reaped at the end of the journey of uniting a stepfamily.
Article ListThe Family Medallion® Wedding
Melding Together a Blended Family
Bonding with your new blended family