Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Getting kids outside on the coldest of days

When it feels too cold to be outside, that’s when we have to be outside.

Otherwise, when will it ever not be too cold? It’s just the very beginning of winter weather here, and not all that cold. Temperatures in the 40s feel pretty darn chilly. But in a few months, that will be a nice day. We have to make friends with the cold. And I want us to stay friends.

Why does it matter? Why can’t we just curl up under a blanket on a wet, miserable day? Why not just exercise indoors? To strengthen my resolve, I’ve made a list of reasons to get outside every day this winter. Oh, we’ll log plenty of indoor hours. But being outdoors makes my family healthier and happier.

1.  Germs spread more easily indoors, especially in crowded, stuffy quarters.
2. Sunshine helps boost Vitamin D, and Vitamin D is good.
3. The loss of unstructured playtime for children is blamed for a host of mental disorders and other health problems. I see with my own eyes how playing with their friends in our yard sparks their imaginations, a walk in the woods calms my kids, an hour on a swing helps them sort through their thoughts.
4. Did you know children can suffer from seasonal affective disorder? True.
5. Outdoor play, on the other hand, helps fight obesity, may prevent ADHD and other health problems.  Outside is where my kids move around, without being told to do so by a coach or teacher. And without my yelling“no running in the house!” 
6.  I’m a better parent outside. It’s simply true.

I’m always disappointed when I learn that our schools cancelled outdoor recess for snow or chilly weather. I really like this guidance I found online, meant for childcare providers in California, urging centers to plan to be outside everyday with weather-appropriate activities. If children are dressed to stay warm and dry, most days can be outside days.


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