Baby it’s cold outside … now what do I do with my kids?
As the cold weather approaches, do you start to hear these common words come out of your child’s mouth? “It’s too COOOLLLLDDDD to go outside!” or “I don’t have ANYTHING to dooooooo!”
It can be tough to keep ourselves and our kids energized during the winter months, but keeping kids active and maintaining healthy food choices, are critical to supporting the physical and emotional well-being of our children.
Don’t be afraid of the snow!
Be active as a family in the snow. There’s lots to do, but kids don’t want to just be out there by themselves braving the cold. Invest in some warm gear for yourself to be active with your kids. Build snow forts, go sledding, build a snowman, or even clear the driveway together. Why would your kids want to go out if you won’t even step foot outside? Take a leap. Enjoy the snow!
Play family games.
Break out games you used to play like “Twister” or blow up a balloon and try to keep it off the floor. Use technology to your advantage by having competitions with video games like “Just Dance” or “Wii Sports”. Why not start a dance party in your living room? Play some of your favorite songs as well as your kids’. Checkout an exercise video from the library and do it as a family.
Create an indoor fun space.
Designate a few hours or even days per week to be electronic free in the house and let the kids just play inside. Set up a corner in the basement for fort building. Collect large boxes from work, Christmas, or a new appliance. Set them up in your basement and allow the kids to be creative – build a house or fort. Let them paint or draw on it, move things in, etc. Other ideas include making an indoor basketball court or creating a spider web using your doorway, some tape and crumpled paper.
Incorporate the 5-2-1-0 plan into your child’s life.
5-2-1-0 is a nationally recognized initiative that works toward changes to encourage children’s daily healthy behaviors:
- Eat five fruits and vegetables.
- Spend two or less hours on recreational screen time.
- Get at least one hour of physical activity.
- Consume zero sugary drinks.
Extra winter time, means time to plan meals.
Find an indoor farmer’s market to purchase fresh produce, then, by involving your kids, create a meal or snack using those items. Winter is the perfect time to try healthy meal ideas and involve the kids in the meal planning and shopping. Here’s a great option for some healthy kid recipes.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be hard, but keeping kids and parents active and healthy these winter months, is critical.
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About the Author, Katherine “Christy” Sullivan, M.D.
Katherine “Christy” Sullivan, M.D. has been practicing as a board certified pediatrician in the Des Moines area since 2000. She received her medical degree from the University of Nebraska and completed a joint residency program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University. She and her husband have five children. Dr. Sullivan enjoys travel, reading, long walks, and being a mom.
This post is part of our “Healthy Living” Series sponsored by The Iowa Clinic. For other topics, choose link below: