Where we live it is colder more of the year than warm. We try to spend as much time outdoors with our children. That is hard to do though when someone is cold or gets wet etc. I have some tips and tricks to help get your kids outside to enjoy the weather year round.
- Don’t make a fuss about the whole thing. If you fret about every little detail you will most likely just irritate your child than help them. Children are more resilient than their parents. Growing up it would be freezing outside but you would have to bribe me to get inside since I wasn’t coming in willingly.
- Dress to be prepared. What I mean is you can always take off layers, but you can’t put on more layers than you have. We are a family of winter lovers. We do a lot of recreational sports outside. Growing up I use to run a small team of sled dogs. I also use to cross country ski and do skijoring. My kids if they could would live in the snow. My sons one dream is to stay in an ice hotel at some point. We dress for the weather. We put a lot of layers on, we start with thermal layers under our jeans and sweaters. Than we put on our current outfit which usually has a polar fleece zip up. Then its snow pants ( wind and water proof) and winter jacket ( also wind and water proof). Then its the layers of fleece for our necks, hats and two pairs of mittens or gloves. First layer is always a knit and the top is water proof snow gloves. If we get over heated from running etc than we take off a layer.
- Next is my distraction technique. Sometimes with toddlers after what feels like 100 years getting ready to go outside they are instantly board and want to go back in. This is when I use my distraction technique. All it is , is you try to stimulate the imagination by showing them a cool thing. For my daughter we usually show her little cut outs in the tree and tell her I wonder if fairies live in there. Then she goes on these missions to find more cool trees and hidings.
- Compromise….in the end what you are trying to accomplish is fresh air and a change of scenery. Sometimes the day is just a bust but I always look at it that they got X amount of time outdoors. Sometimes we spend almost all day on adventures and sometimes they are done after 30 minutes. The fact is I feel getting children outside and into nature is more of an accomplishment than a defeat, even when the day doesn’t go as planned. Now that my youngest is 4 yes he tires before the other two but he still tries to keep up with them. I can see his little mind at work while he figures out how to climb that tree or get over that rock. That is something that he learns on his own with very little assistance. I know when I had two under two our days spent outdoors were limited. The thing is though we still went out and gave it a try.
Whatever adventure your family goes on make it a fun experience so that next time everyone is just as excited as you are.
One of the amazing adventures we did on our family vacation was walking on a frozen lake. One trick to enjoying the frigid temperatures is to dress properly, when I am nice and warm I am no rush to go back inside. We headed out on a blustery bitter cold morning to walk to the lake. It is a nice short walk through a snow covered forest path. When we arrived there were about a half a dozen of ice fisherman scattered around all trying to get their luck at catching the big fish. We walked down to the beach of the lake and started our trek across the ice. The wind was blowing that you could see powder snow form snow twisters on the ice. The sheer quietness of being on the open lake. The only sound besides the wind blowing was the distance sound of augers cutting through the thick ice. With ice fisherman in the distance we began to have fun on the frozen lake. My daughter loved holding onto her dad’s hand and pretending to be a ice skater. My youngest son got down on his belly and started sliding on the ice to see how fast and far he could get. He would stand back up again move a little bits away and try to slide again on his stomach. It had snowed the night before so there was a fine dusting of what the wind hadn’t blown away. My oldest son who had a stick with him began drawing designs on the little bit of snow he could find. He would make little swirls and designs. The wind would blow it away and he would find his next patch of snow. The sky was just clearing enough to see peaks of blue show through. Hearing their laughter and seeing the pure joy on my children’s faces experiencing their childhood made my heart warm. We were not alone on the lake but with how vast and open it was it felt as if we were the only ones. It is a strange thought to be standing on something that when it warms becomes pure liquid. Something humbling about the whole experience. It was neat to explore what we could find frozen in the ice. There were leaves ( which I have shared on my Instagram) and veins from the ice shifting and refreezing. It was the lakes life line being shown for all to see. In its own way it was art like a fingerprint original only to the lake. Nothing like that could be created again. When we were done with hours of fun we headed back to our cabin with great memories and wind blown faces. I took so many wonderful photos on this day but shared one of my favorite to be the feature photo for this blog post.
(Please before you go walking on a frozen lake etc. check ice conditions and make sure it is safe to walk on. We had an ice report and it stated approved for ice fishing).
My family tradition growing up was Christmas was always celebrated in my neighbors house. I grew up in a very small country village ( it wasn’t even a town because it was to small). My parents had moved away for my dads job so we were nowhere near any immediate family. Christmas Eve was always doing Vallejo ( it’s a polish tradition ) in honor of my grandmother. Then we would go to a candlelight Christmas church service. I grew up in a small area so there was maybe 20 people in this mass. Then we would go home and hope that Santa would arrive. In the morning my mom would make a massive breakfast or potatoes, spicy potatoes ( we would get different spices from all over the world , we traveled a lot when I was a child), snausages ( yes that is what I called them), and my mom would make her famous cheesecake. We would pack up baskets and sing Christmas carols while walking down the street to our neighbors house. Usually the whole village was invited so there were maybe 15 of us. My neighbors owned the old inn that was built in the town. They had a great big serving room to host everyone. We would all pile in with our food for the offering table. Then we would eat, sing Christmas carols, swap books and talk about movies. It was tradition afterwards to go see a movie. My favorite ones were Little Women ( 1994) and The Lord of the Rings all three. Then after eating and dividing up the leftovers we would walk back to our house. We did this every year since I can remember.
Now that I have children of my own family traditions have changed a bit. Neighbors move away and life goes on. What is exciting with change is the possibilities of new traditions. Now my husband and I have become expert gingerbread architects. We also still make my grandmothers family recipe of poppy seed. My daughter and I now keep the tradition going with a lot of help from my mother. We also do a big Christmas breakfast but this time my parents host it. When my sister isn’t traveling ( she lives a pretty awesome life) she also comes and joins in the festivities. If you read my other blog Hiking With Kids you would know that we also always do a new years day hike. The thing that is beautiful about change is you get to start new things. I have such great memories of my childhood Christmas but I love the new ones too. I can’t wait to see when my kids have grown what traditions they start.