Preparing Your Children For Winter And Preparing For Your Winter With Children
I find that we often concentrate on preparing our homes and cars, gardens and equipment, but we forget to prepare our children winter and for our children for the winter months. Here are some tips and ideas to help you and the children in your life prepare for winter and its wonders to come.
Preparing Children For Winter
Children remember snow from last year and they remember cold. They remember their favorite coat, their mittens and maybe even that hat they hated to wear. They won't remember the long hours of being locked indoors or the bitter cold wind that takes their breath away. They won't know how to stay warm or keep covered until you tell them. Teach them about winter before it comes and it will be a better time for all. Make sure they have well fitted jackets, gloves and shoes. If these items are too large, there will be space for cold and snow to get in and that is not comfortable for the child. Uncomfortable children make for unhappy days for all! Scarves and hats help to seal in the warmth and smiles! Teach them why it is better to breathe through their noses than their mouths and their lungs will thank you! Teaching and reminding are positive reinforcers for good behavior.
As the wind grows colder and the nights grow longer there is more time to be spent indoors. Think about what each child enjoys and build on that. A child who enjoys books will love having a chapter book read to them when the snow has gathered around and school is closed. Break chapters into smaller parts for younger children. Little House on the Prairie Books were well loved by my children. It showed them that people can survive without all the bells and whistles we take for granted these days. It was a welcome reprieve from the video games and T.V. shows.
Talk to your child about what to do if they are cold. Teach them how to rub their hands together and explain that the rubbing causes friction which gives off heat. They will LOVE learning this and will test it out as much as they can. Explain to them that it is important to stay indoors when it is snowing and if they are outdoors, then they need to come in. It is okay to be outdoors and play in the snow, but children need a grownup's supervision for safety. Most children understand and obey when they know the why behind it all!
Talk with them about taking care of the animals and what precautions you might need to take. Do all of their chores with them and discuss the effects that bad weather can bring. Teaching a child is a must! Children should be given the value in what they do. This gives them something to consider and ponder while they do it. More often than not, a child will follow through as long as they understand why they should do something. It will help them to remember to follow through and it will build good citizenship in them as well. Problem solving skills are just that....skills. They must be learned, practiced and developed. They do not just happen. Helping your child build those skills may help them stay alive some day.
Plan ahead and have supplies on hand. This includes the supplies for play. We often plan for food and shelter, animals and vehicles, but we neglect to plan for play activities. Here are some ideas....
Winter Activities For Children Stuck At Home
There are many things that we do when we are "cooped up" in the winter. However, most of them require electricity of some sort and many involve going places! Keeping warm and entertained are two of life's biggest tasks when left with children, without electricity and impassable roads!
Part of your preparation time is planning and looking for someplace to spend long hours and sometimes days without electricity. You have planned with them and now you need to prepare the supply stock. This may be batteries, wood, candles, or games and activities. There are many simple activities to do with children that require nothing more than a good imagination! Here are some ideas for those days when the blizzards knock out the electricity!
- Grab a blanket and build a clubhouse! Inside the clubhouse is actually warmer than the room as it traps body warmth and allows for imaginative play. Think up special code words or key phrases to use as passwords to get into the clubhouse for the future!
- Have blank paper, coloring books and crayons on hand. You will need these for making signs or just for coloring quietly! Even small children like to color and draw as much as we do! You can teach them to play TicTacToe on paper at a very young age! Having children's scissors, construction paper and glue sticks will open another avenue of creation! They can make things to decorate their room or a holiday table!
- Fill a box or a suitcase with miscellaneous clothes for the children to use for dress up! They will love it and it helps them to stay warm!! Putting on hats and gloves for fun is good practice for when going outdoors!
- Have a fireplace? Make s'mores! This will be a favorite activity! My children even cooked their hot dogs for supper over the fire in a fireplace! Remember to keep the fridge shut to help keep food cold. You can always put refrigerator food in a plastic tub in the car and freezer items in a tub in the snow!!
- Plan ahead an have plenty of propane in the Barbecue grill! This can be a lifesaver when the electric stove doesn't work!! We prepared several meals on the grill in the snow! You need to be sure to have foil to wrap potatoes and other veggies to cook on the grill. Children can help prepare the vegetables and will eat the foods they prepare with gusto!
- Teach a child to sew! Needle and thread turn scrap fabric into a fun outfit for a favorite doll or stuffed animal! A child as young as five can handle a sharp needle with an adult's supervision. Younger children can practice "sewing" with shoe strings in old greeting cards with holes punched around the edges. It is a dying art! Make it a trying art!!
- Do science experiments. Have children predict how long it will take snow to melt in various place and set the timer and check on it every 10 minutes or so! Places like the car, the closet and the living room are all different and can be interesting for those with short attention spans as you can go check, go play, go check, go play!
- Put a few drops of food coloring in squirt bottles, fill with water and paint in the snow! Children love creating designs and writing their name in the snow! Be prepared, buy the bottles ahead of time!
- Empty a big box and let your child pretend it is a car, train, rocket or whatever they can imagine! Building their imaginations help them with language skills in the future!
- Rearrange their room. Let your child decide where to put the furniture and help them make it happen. It is a fun way to give your child ownership in keeping their room neat and tidy! If it doesn't work out, it is always easy to put back!
Time To Enjoy
Okay, you have made your plan, prepared your supplies and now you are just waiting for the weather to strike! Take a moment and pat yourself on the back! You will be prepared to enjoy the next big snow. No panicking, no stressing....just fun! That's what it is all about! Enjoy your time closeted in together, making memories to last a lifetime. Now, pray for snow!
Photo and Text Copyright 2011 Deborah M. Carey