Keeping the Kids Healthy This Winter can be a challenge.
Love it with all your heart or hate it with a passion – I’m somewhere in the middle – winter is well and truly hitting its stride with no signs of letting up anytime soon. So, the absence of entering a state of hibernation and riding it out until the elements have done their business, keep the following top-ten tips in mind for keeping your lot safe, happy and healthy no matter what nature throws at you:
- Think Sunny Thoughts – Never fall into the trap of thinking that cold weather means safety from the sun’s harmful rays. It most certainly does not! Quite the opposite in fact as snow and ice can reflect a whopping 7% of the UV radiation the sun emits, so be sure to keep sunscreen handy if blessed with any sunny, snowy days. Protecting you and the kids from the sun’s UV Rays is important.
- Snug-as-a-Bug…Within Reason – Take care when stuffing the little ones into those cute and cuddly winter garments and padded baby clothes, as while it’s important to ensure a snug and warm fit, it’s even more important to make sure you don’t cut off their circulation! Always allow for a little breathing room at least, including when fitting new shoes.
- Layer-Up – Not only does layered clothing keep your kids warmer and allow for adjustments by adding or removing layers, but is also the best choice when conditions are on the damp side. A single, thick layer soaked-through can be a nightmare.
- Road Safety – Chances of a breakdown or accident multiply a million times over in the colder months, so for your sake and that of the kids, be sure to load up the car with the supplies needed to cope with any such incident. Think blankets, water bottles, snacks, torches, batteries and so on.
- Sports Safety – Rather than discouraging kids from getting active on the ice and in the snow, show them how to enjoy their winter wonderland safely. And don’t be afraid to bring in helmets, knee-pads and so on for extra coverage.
- Nutritious Nosh – Make every effort to load their meals and snacks up with as many vitamins and nutrients as possible, to give them the best possible chance of warding off colds, flu and any other bugs that might come knocking over the winter months.
- Hydration – It’s easy to forget the importance of plenty of fluids when it’s cold out, but your kids still need just as much water as they do the rest of the year. Opt for low-sugar drinks packed with vitamin C and low-calorie hot chocolate to keep them toasty.
- Plan Ahead – Just like in the car, be sure the home is equipped to deal with the odd power outage, frozen pipe or gas cut-off here and there with plenty of supplies.
- Hygiene – Encourage your kids to carry and use tissues and sanitary wipes or gels, which can be a Godsend for preventing the spread of bugs and nasties.
- Safe and Warm – Keep the home at a sensible temperature and don’t fall into the habit of keeping the place like a sauna just to compensate for the cold outside. And even more importantly still, check how accessible your heaters and devices are to your kids and keep anything warmer than an ambient temperature firmly out or reach.
By Stephanie Russell
Stephanie Russell is a full-time primary school teacher and mother of two, who likes nothing more than to share her teachings and musings with the world on the subject of parenthood. She lives and works in Newcastle with her husband of 15 years, who runs a bespoke baby clothes design company.