It’s hard for my kids to stay inside all day during any kind of snowy weather, but getting everyone geared up to go outside is definitely a chore! Here are a few helpful tips on keeping the kids winter safe without the resistance:
Bundle Up…and make it fun: Getting the kids into multiple layers is a sure way to keep them safe out in the cold, but getting them into said layers isn’t always so fun. The layers keep them warm and dry, and also helps reduce the amount of snow that comes back into the house. To make it fun, we:
- First have a contest to see who can get all their snow gear together in a pile; winner gets an extra marshmallow in their hot chocolate. Help them out by keeping their outerwear in one place for easy gathering. And if your kids are younger, give them a list with each item drawn out on it so they can match up the items. Then wait for their look of pride when they get it all done!
- Make your own Olympics-style fun as they get dressed, with contests like: Who can get their socks on first, best coat flip, and slowest person to put on boots. Have fun with it, and put on your corniest announcer voice for added fun. Again, the promise of an extra marshmallow in the hot chocolate is usually a sufficient award, but we are also a fan of the 1-M&M-per-contest award.
- Don’t forget the hats! We lose most of our body heat through our heads, so make sure everyone has a warm hat or hood on for added protection.
Outdoor Safety: No matter how young (or old) your kids are, it’s always a good idea to review some basic cold-weather safety rules with them as they are heading outside. Of course, if your kids aren’t old enough to know when to come back in, it’s wise to keep them in a contained setting where everyone can easily get back inside to get warm.
- Stay dry: Cold + wet equals the potential for irritated skin or the loss of body temperature, so make sure your kids outer layers are waterproof. Alternately, if they’re sweating from all the activity, make sure they know to come in at regular intervals and swap out their bottom layers.
- Remind them to wiggle their fingers and toes to increase circulation (and warmth) in their extremities. It may seem obvious, but check in on them regularly to make sure nothing hurts or is going numb. When they’re busy having fun, it can be hard for kids to stop and assess what’s going on with their bodies.
- Keep everyone away from the street. It’s fun for kids to slip and slide around the yard or driveway, but snowy roads make it difficult for cars to stop if someone suddenly slides out into the street.
Getting them inside: When it’s time, I encourage everyone to return inside with a hot chocolate break. In addition to keeping them well hydrated – which is often overlooked during weather – it gives me a chance check for dry gloves and socks while they warm up a bit. I keep old towels by the door so everyone can create their own cozy space to sit while they get undressed.
Enjoy the ups and downs of this winter’s weather!