The days are shorter, the temperature is cooler and autumn is coming to an end for another year… BUT; cooler days shouldn’t mean you stay inside. (In fact, playing in the cold is really beneficial for your family). We say your children should play outdoors as often as possible!
Here are three great reasons to get out in the cold this winter and tips to keep your little ones safe and comfortable whilst you’re at it!
AVOID SICKNESS BY PLAYING OUTSIDE
Playing outside, even in cold temperatures, actually increases the immune system. It’s been proven time and time again that cold weather doesn’t cause us to get sick. In actual fact being inside isn’t great; any germs you bring home with you keep recirculating around inside until they die. Gross we know!
And because of all the recirculation, Public Health England have found that being indoors exposes your children to more germs than being outside does! So, wrap up warm and get out for some fresh air to escape all those pesky germs!
A play date with friends or a morning of making dens in your wooden climbing frame is a great way to get out of the house for a boost of fresh air. Also, being outside helps form resistance to allergens. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that even if your little ones are mildly under the weather but still active; they should be playing outside for short periods of time because outdoor play stimulates your immune system!
SOAK UP THE BENEFITS OF NATURAL VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is so important for you and your children. The list of problems caused when your body is deprived of it are too scary to mention. Vitamin D is vital to the process of calcium absorption that is needed for strong bones. Alarmingly there has been an increase in the number of children suffering with rickets over recent years and this is a huge problem for a child’s developing body. If this happens early in life, growth can be stunted, limbs may not grow straight and bones may be prone to breaking. And because childhood rickets is so dangerous, even your babies need to get out and get some sun this autumn and winter.
The best way for your kids to get their Vitamin D is from the sunshine as very few foods supply this vitamin. Despite the cold, we still have sunny days in autumn and winter, so make sure you get your little ones out to soak up some Vitamin D!
An afternoon playing out on your wooden climbing frame is all it takes to get everyone some much needed sunshine!
GET THE BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
It’s hard enough for children to get their little bodies moving enough to stay healthy these days… they don’t need to be stunted further by being kept indoors during the colder months. With so many indoor activities focused on sitting down and staring at screens, our little ones need us to give them the best chance to get out, keep healthy and develop properly!
According to Public Health England, just 60 minutes of activity a day leads to children being healthier, happier, and more focused. Shockingly, studies also show the number of children getting the recommended 60 minutes each day falls by 40% as they go through primary school.
Physical activity just has so many benefits! It helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles. Active kids are also less likely to be overweight or obese. This then decreases a child’s risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, and an overall poor health status. Physical activity is a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be something we only do for half of the year!
Make sure you are keeping yourself and your family healthy throughout the year by getting out to run, jump and play together!
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of playing in the cold - here are some tips to keep your play safe and comfortable!
- Never play outside in extreme cold temperatures. (If the weather is below zero, please stay inside) Don’t go out in an active blizzard, ice storm or high winds. Playing in the cold is beneficial but not if it is dangerous.
- Watch out for cold weather hazards. Always check for ice and avoid puddles in the winter. Your kids need to stay dry in cold weather to avoid getting chilled too quickly.
- Stay outside for a set amount of time and come inside to warm up after that time has elapsed.
- Dress appropriately. Generally, children need one more layer of clothing than an adult in the cold. Multiple light layers are the way to go.
- Know the symptoms of hypothermia. There are several symptoms of mild hypothermia setting in but the first thing that will happen if your kids are getting too cold, is they will shiver. When the shivering begins, the time outside should end.
- Take extra care with babies and young children. Little ones lose body heat more quickly than older children because of their size. This can be troubling for parents of multiple children. If you need to get out so your older children can play but you are worried about your baby; or toddler being too cold, you can take extra precautions.
Embrace the chilly weather that comes in autumn and stays all winter. Your little ones will benefit from the time you give them outside and they may have even more fun!!
Cold weather creates a different environment that makes your garden, their climbing frame or even the playground a totally different place to play than in the summer. Go jump in the leaves, try acorn hunting, make snow angels, go sledding and enjoy the benefits of cooler weather on your kid’s wellbeing.
We are certain you will be feeling the benefits too!