Finding Balance and Joy in the Winter Months: 5 Ways your Family Rhythm Changes

Winter is a season that brings about changes in many aspects of life, including family rhythms.

Family rhythms refer to the patterns of daily life that families establish and follow, such as meal times, bedtimes, and routines for school and work.

These rhythms can be impacted by the winter months in a number of ways, including changes in the weather, holidays, and the need to spend more time indoors.

Until I learnt to really slow down and adopt a more ‘hygge’ approach to family rhythms during the winter months, it was hands-down my least favourite season. It felt stressful, beset by endless sickness and cabin fever.
Now we have learnt to embrace the winter months for what they are. We cosy up and spend time together as a family: reading, hosting movie nights and going out for walks to appreciate nature.

Family Time during the winter months

One of the biggest ways the winter months affects family rhythms is through changes in the weather. Whilst we don’t advocate for avoiding the outdoors, you’ll naturally swap some outdoor pursuits for indoor ones.


As the weather becomes colder and darker, you may find that they need to adjust your routines to accommodate the change. For example, they may need to spend more time indoors due to sickness, daylights savings or extreme weathers, leading to a shift in the way you spend your free time.


This can mean spending more time playing board games, watching movies, or engaging in other indoor activities. Aim to make these events special by turning them into a weekly family tradition.


It’s worth keeping in mind however, that outdoor play time has numerous benefits to health and wellbeing. To encourage more time outside, even in winter, check out our Outdoor Play Mini course. 

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Holiday Expectations

Another way the winter months affect family rhythms is through the holidays. The winter season is often associated with a number of holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Day.
These holidays can disrupt family rhythms and lead to changes in schedules and activities. For example, planning for holiday shopping, cooking, and entertaining guests. This can result in changes to mealtimes, bedtimes, and other routines that families typically follow.

Seasonal Sickness

The winter months often brings about an increase in illnesses, such as colds and flu, which can affect family rhythms. If a family member becomes sick, you may need to stay home from school or work, leading to changes in routines and schedules. This can also result in more time spent caring for the sick family member, which can impact the rhythms of daily life for the entire family.
During these instances, it’s really important to slow down and reduce the expectations of daily and weekly rhythms. Use a simplified version of your usual rhythm as a guide.
winter months family rhythms infographic

Opportunities to Create new Traditions

Despite these challenges, winter can also provide opportunities to create new family rhythms and traditions. For example, you may choose to start a new holiday tradition, such as making cookies together or going ice-skating. These new traditions can help to bring you closer together and create lasting memories.

Slow down and be more ‘hygge’

Winter can also provide an opportunity for you to slow down and enjoy each other’s company. With the shorter days and longer nights,you may choose to spend more time together, engaging in quiet activities such as reading, playing games, or simply chatting. This can provide a much-needed break from the fast-paced routines of daily life and help  strengthen  relationships.


The winter can have a significant impact on family rhythms, with changes in weather, holidays, and illnesses, leading to adjustments in daily routines.
However, winter also provides an opportunity for you to create new traditions and slow down, allowing you to connect and enjoy each other’s company.
Regardless of the challenges that winter may bring, you can work together as a family to maintain a sense of rhythm and balance in your daily lives.
winter family rhythm guide cta explaining how family rhythms change in the winter months
Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.