Yes, once again, winter is right there. We can see it. The days are quickly getting shorter, darker and colder. This makes it difficult to motivate getting outside and getting active when it’s completely dark by the time you leave work, never mind after you’ve picked up your little one and walked through your front door. But whether you have the time to spend with your baby outside during the light of day or not, just remember that it’s key for your family to continue enjoying fresh air and stay active throughout the winter months. While your baby may not be able to enjoy making snowballs, snow men or snow forts just yet—she will enjoy and benefit from the feeling, sights and sounds of being outside. Babies thrive on the brightness and air quality of the outdoors and during the long winter you will too. Here are a few tips on getting you and your baby outside and enjoying being out there throughout the next few months:
Start—and stick to—a routine. Walk once around the block before dropping your baby off at daycare, enjoy quick family playtime in the yard before starting the day, or if you stay or work at home, take your baby to the park before lunch—the important thing is to breathe in that healthy air regularly.
Take advantage of daylight. On weekends or any free time you have with your baby, make it a point to go outside for at least ten minutes while the sun is up (even if it seems dark and grey).
Explore. Find out where your nearest walking paths and trails are make it a point to explore a different one each week for a half hour at a time. When terrain isn’t stroller friendly, bundle baby up well and put her in a carrier.
Invite Others. Host shorter playdates outside complete with a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate for the parents. Or if your baby has a childcare provider, express your support of them taking her outside for short periods during the day.
Be Prepared. Before bringing your baby or toddler outside during cold winter months, you’ll need to layer on warm clothing and water-resistant outerwear. Your baby should always wear a warm hat and mittens—essentially covered from head to toe! There are great weatherizing accessories for baby carriers and strollers that can help you keep your baby warm, dry and comfortable while out. And don’t forget yourself—waterproof, warm boots are a must!
Of course, while getting yourself and your baby some fresh air during the day is important, just remember that in extreme weather conditions such as snowstorms or far below freezing temperatures, it’s really best to stay inside. You can always open a window to allow new air to circulate.
Check out this Examiner Online article for more cold weather with baby safety tips!