Getting outside when the weather is colder and the nights are longer is more of a challenge, but fresh air and vitamin D are so important for babies and children.
I believe that daily fresh air helps everyone sleep better, is good for mental health and helps little one burn of their energy! As the saying goes... "Children can't climb the walls if there aren't any walls to climb".
Fresh air and the sense of freedom contributed to better behaviour, learning skills, and improved attention spans.
When I was studying at Norland College, we were always taught "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing" and it couldn't be more true!
I picked up some great tips for looking after babies in cold winters when I maternity nursed and nannied in Sweden. The Swedes are completely set up for a cold winter and their babies still spend lots of their day outside in temperatures as low as -20 degrees celsius.
My essentials kit, which I would love every child to own, is:
- An all in one waterproof suit
- Welly Boots
- A snood
- A Woolly Hat
- A thick padded suit with built in feet
- Gloves the string
- A hat that ties
- A Pram Footmuff
Another important reason to enjoy the outdoors during winter months is Vitamin D. We all need Vitamin D everyday to maintain healthy bones and muscles, and to keep our immune systems up. The best source of Vitamin D is from natural sunlight, which although can be trickier to get in the colder months, we have more chance catching outdoors than in!Tips for Keeping Little Ones Cosy and Warm:
- Swaddle your newborn in the pram so it keeps their hands cosy and away from the elements. For older babies, put gloves on them and tuck little hands under blankets to keep them warm. Make sure blankets are tucked in so they can't kick them off.
- Use the pram rain cover as a wind shield. The really helps keep the heat in, just remember to keep an eye on them getting too hot, and keep the vents open because they warm up like little green houses in the sun!
- When you go indoors, get home, walk into a cafe or shopping centre - even if your baby is asleep - take their hat off and some of their layers so they don't overheat.
- Keep hands and feet as warm as possible, once their little hands and feet get cold, they'll never warm up again even if you put gloves on. Toddlers often protest about putting gloves and a hat on, but then they very quickly complain once they start tingling with the cold, so have a rule that gloves and hats have to go on before you go out, and also stay on!
- Thermal socks and lined boots will help little toes stay warm
- Thermal 'base layers' are soft thin layer that really help keep your little ones warm.
- Take warm drinks and snacks with you for toddlers and older children.
- Keep their heads and ears covered with a hat which ties to keep it in place.
Children's skin is more delicate than ours, meaning they can easily get windburn and dry or cracked cheeks when they are exposed to the elements. I use Weleda Baby Calendula Weather Protection barrier cream on little cheeks before we go out. A little tip, it's also great on your lips too!
Activities to Encourage Children to Enjoy the Outdoors:
The aim is for them to choose items that match the different colours in the egg box. I also find that children will walk further when they are on a mission - making this the perfect activity to tire them out!
You will need:
- An egg box
- Paint or colouring pens
Paint or use felt tips to colour each section of the egg cup a different colours - make sure you choose realistic colours that can be matched!
A Hot Chocolate Walk
It's a treat for walking, something to look forward to, an excuse to sit down and rest little legs and gives a little energy boost.
Make Nature Wands
Find a stick and collect leaves and flowers from around the garden to make a pretty wand.
All you need is some soil, a few tins or buckets, spoons and water.
'The mud will wash off but the memories will last a lifetime' - Author unknown.
There are over 240 more activity ideas on the Loueanna app!