Too many long winter days stuck inside can leave your kid with more energy than your house can handle. Trying to summon up the motivation to go out on a cold day might take some time, but getting your kid’s wiggles out makes it worth the effort. Taking your kid to the playground in the winter is a great way to burn off lots of energy in a short period of time, and remembering these tips will help you get the most enjoyment out of your day outside together.
Check the Weather
During the winter season, the weather can rapidly change. You might also find that it looks deceptively warm outside when the sun is shining through the window. To avoid being caught by surprise, give the weather a quick check before you start getting ready. If you notice that it is especially windy, remember to dress to accommodate for the wind chill factor.
Dress Them In Warm Layers
Technically, you shouldn’t take your baby or toddler out in temperatures lower than -15 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you should be cautious about the risk for frostbite or hypothermia anytime it hits 30 degrees or below. In addition to a warm winter jacket designed for the climate, you’ll want to add a few extra layers that you can put on or remove depending upon your child’s body temperature.
Watch Out for Loose Items of Clothing
Scarves, mittens and hats are all great ways to keep your child warm, but you’ll need to be on the lookout for any loose items of clothing that could get caught on the kids playground equipment. If possible, use things such as mitten clips instead of strings to be safer. Keeping a close eye on your child also helps you to make sure that you are nearby if they somehow get caught on something while they play.
Look for Slippery Surfaces
Early childhood playground structures have tons of fun features that kids can explore. Climbing ladders and stairs is a great way to really get all of that energy out. Pick a park that has non-skid surfacing made from rubber and other materials that are less likely to accumulate winter precipitation. Then, give the main walking and climbing areas a quick check. Thin layers of ice can usually be removed, but you might need to ask your child to avoid any areas with thick sheets that need to thaw.
Pack Extra Comfort Items
Even on the coldest days, giving your kid 20 to 30 minutes to play is good for their development. You can avoid having to cut your visit short by making sure that you have a few extra things in your day bag. An extra change of clothes helps you keep your kid dry if they manage to fall in the snow. A blanket is also great to tuck around them after you put them in their car seat or stroller.
Ideally, kids should spend at least an hour or more each day outside when the weather is nice. While you might need to shorten your winter trips to the playground, you can maximize the fun by making sure that you have everything in place to keep you and your child warm and focused on having fun together.