As cold weather approaches and daylight hours diminish, parents may be fearing the sniffles and sneezes that come with colder temperatures or dreading the increased screen time spent from being indoors. Additionally, children may be missing out on much-needed play time—limiting their creative, physical, emotional and social growth.
As a member of Action for Healthy Kids, I recently joined forces with GoGo squeeZ on for its BE Time initiative. The BE Time initiative was created to give kids 30 more minutes of unstructured time each day. And one of the best things about BE Time is that it can happen anywhere and anytime—even in the cold!
To help ensure children are getting enough BE Time this fall and winter season, here are my easy-to-follow tips for parents:
Make sure your kids have proper outdoor attire.
The secret to comfortable, outdoor play in the Fall and Winter is appropriate layers. With well-insulated caps, mittens, gloves and socks, kids don’t have to be shut inside with the windows closed. Instead, they can get outdoors and rake leaves and play in them, shovel snow and build snow angels and more.
Kids often tell you when it’s time to go inside, so let them enjoy unstructured time outdoors while they can!
Get creative indoors—even with chores.
If you are inside, allow kids to decide how they’d like to spend their unstructured time—whether it’s playing board games, solving puzzles, drawing or painting. Any activity where kids can use their hands and try new creative things is a win for both the parents and kids.
Even chore time can be fun! Have a contest over who can fold more clothes or pick up the most toys the fastest. By making everyday activities into something fun for everyone, it’s an easy way to avoid getting stir crazy in the colder months.
Activate your holiday helpers!
The holiday season brings a constant stream of parties and family gatherings and also provides the perfect opportunity for kids to get creative.
When decorating the home, encourage your children to contribute with drawing, cutting things out of paper, etc. And when preparing dinner, allow your children to dress themselves and help set the table. By doing so, children learn to be responsible, how to express themselves creatively and can contribute something special to the big day.
Don’t let the Fall and Winter weather deter from the quality “kid time” that is needed to nourish the imagination, creativity, bodies and relationships of our kids. Even as adults, we could all use a little more BE Time this holiday season.