Winter can be difficult for a lot of us, especially once the holidays have passed. I actually like winter, except for the long, dark evenings.
A couple of weeks ago — on the Winter Solstice — I went to an online journaling class with some friends. One of the writing prompts asked us to make a list of things we love about the season. I included twinkle lights, cozy blankets, wool socks, and the sound of a fire burning on my list.
And so, as the class ended, I decided to make a new winter tradition: cozy family hour. On Wednesday evenings, an hour before bedtime, we all put our screens away and snuggle on the couch.
In our family, it’s really easy to get into a screentime habit when it’s cold outside. Cozy family hour is a chance for all of us to reset with a book, our journal, a quiet activity, or craft project. (My tactile learner likes to build with her LEGO bricks during our time together.)
I also asked my oldest daughter to make a calming, cheerful playlist for us. We even cast a fireplace video to the TV for ambiance, since our gas fireplace in the basement doesn’t make that relaxing sound.
Other must-haves for cozy hour:
- Twinkle lights (I keep a strand hung up in our living room even after we pack away holiday traditions.)
- Unscented block candles (IKEA sells a four-pack for just $2.99.)
- Corner lamps for a little extra light
Even though we could do cozy family hour at any time of the day, I think right before bed gives us a chance to wind down our brains and bodies. I want my kids to learn to listen to what their body needs — mine is usually saying, “Slow down!”
How often do we default to busyness as adults? Why do we wait until we’re sick or burned out to set aside time for rest? Cozy hour allows me to model taking care of myself and reading a non-school book for pleasure.
After trying cozy family hour for a couple of weeks, I find myself looking forward to our screen-free time together during the week. I feel my stress level lowering as the hour ticks by — and my attention span increasing, as I resist the urge to pick up my phone.
My youngest has even asked if we could do cozy hour more than once a week! I think it’s safe to say that my kids enjoy it as much as I do.