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Parents Struggling To Keep Kids From Cabin Fever Amid COVID And Extreme Cold

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) -- As many kids have been home more than usual this winter from daycare or school exposures, parents are trying to keep their kids busy and healthy this winter.

St. Paul residents Allie Carlson-Stehlin says her family has gotten creative with every toy and art project over the last week.

"It's really hard to see those really cold temperatures because it just means we're stuck in our house," Carlson-Stehlin said.

She's not comfortable bringing her toddler and baby to many indoor public places during the Omicron surge. Her kids are too young to be vaccinated.

"We really rely on those warmer days, like yesterday was wonderful. I got my toddler out for a walk to see all the neighborhood snow men that he loves to visit [laughs]!" Carlson-Stehlin said. "We really rely on that to get them out of the house, get their energy out, have them sleep better," she said.

At Minisota Play Cafe in Maple Grove, kids are getting out of the house to burn some energy indoors. Mandy Wroolie is the cafe's owner.

Minisota Play Cafe -- Indoor Winter Activities For Kids
(credit: CBS)

"There are people here but for what it should be for a Saturday in January, I think people are a little bit nervous," Wroolie said.

She moved locations during the pandemic to find a bigger space.

"We used to be in a place that was a lot smaller and it was very hard to be distant from people," she said. "And one of the more important things I think is we have staff here all the time that are cleaning everything."

Hennepin Healthcare Pediatrician Dr. Hannah Lichtsinn says right now she tells families three things. First, you can still go outside if you're dressed properly.
Second, if you do visit places indoors with a lot of people, she recommends a quality, well-fitted mask for your kids, like a KF94 or KN95. Third, stay home if anyone in your family is sick.

"It is so important for kids that they get exercise every day in one way or another," Dr. Lichtsinn said. "It's important for their physical health and their mental health."

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