Baby, it is COLD outside! And while your Instagram feed might be full of beautiful photos of families playing in the sparkling snow, you and I both know what’s really up. We know that those pictures don’t show the whole story. They don’t show the hour-long process that was getting everyone suitably bundled. They don’t show the moment when someone inevitably needs to pee and, thus, be disrobed. These idyllic images can’t capture the true struggle that is winter survival for parents.
Five Winter Survival Tips for Parents
1: Layers on Layers
Winter survival for parents means letting your kids blow off steam. Which usually means heading outside to get everyone some fresh air. Getting everyone geared up is rough, but using smart layers is an essential part of the process.
Much like the concealer I apply to the enduring bags under my sleepy eyes, when it comes to winter clothes I tend to start light, get heavier as I go, and add more when needed.
Over-sized coats and endlessly long scarves are cumbersome and don’t do as good a job of keeping everyone toasty as smaller, smartly layered items.
I should also note that this winter survival tip applies to you too. Now is not the time to focus on the kids and forget about yourself. Not if you want to keep your toes, anyway.
It is also not the time to try and bring sexy back. Winter survival dictates that bulky is the new sexy, so bust out your long underwear. If everyone looks like the Michelin Man by the time you are done, you’ve got it right.
Bonus: All those layers will act as cushion when you inevitably eat snow trying to save your floundering toddler from exactly that fate.
2: Add Winter Essentials to Your Diaper Bag
I know, I know. Carrying all of the things that you need for your offspring has already got you feeling like a pack animal.
But winter survival for parents means taking on some extra gear for the sake of your sanity.
Prioritize items that will be useful in or affected by the weather. Extra socks and mitts are a few obvious ones. But things like sunglasses to combat the glare or some moisturizer for post-outdoor dry skin could also come in handy. And blankets or a spare Lifesaver Mat are a must-have in case someone needs an extra layer or a dry place to sit and rest in the midst of the outdoor adventuring.
3: Brush Up On Winter Survival and Safety Tips
Winter survival for parents can also mean literally focusing on winter survival and safety. Especially for your little ones. Winter hikes are a great way to get the family outdoors and active but they also come with the potential for some risks.
Teaching your kids, especially the ones who possess the pesky ability wander off on their own, some basic safety tips is a good idea. Talk to them about how and where to take shelter. Have them carry a small bag with some really basic gear. All of this could be essential in the event that your family gets separated outside in the cold months. Check out this great blog post, to learn more about ways to teach the whole family about winter safety.
4: Take Care of Yourself
We’ve said it before and we will say it again: parenting is rough. Like, a hedgehog carrying a cactus and brandishing sandpaper rough.
So if you add in the extra dash of stir-crazy and healthy dollop of “why is leaving the house like 1,000% harder?” that winter brings, things can get downright depressing. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, a huge part of winter survival for parents is focusing on ourselves.
Now, I know the word “self-care” gets thrown around a lot these days. So much so that, rather than motivating me to take care of myself, it actually feels like another unattainable to-do to add to my endless list. But if you are feeling the winter blues, it is important for you to find ways to recharge and refresh. Not only for you, but for your kids. They need their caregiver to be at their best.
And before you get overwhelmed by the seemingly vast idea of “self-care,” remember that it is something that looks different for everyone. It could mean blowing off adulting for the night to sit, snack, sip, and scroll through your favourite social feed. It could mean going for a walk (with or without kids, you decide). Check out this post if you are lacking self-care inspiration. But whether it means doing something new or doing nothing at all, please make sure that you take a break from simply trying to survive the colder months to do something for yourself now and then.
5: Stay Sane Inside
Despite all of my best intentions, most of the time the winter months mean a lot more time inside for me and my kids than I’d like.
Some days it is because of the weather. Others it is because the idea of fighting my toddler into his snowsuit or struggling to get my preschooler’s thumb into the right spot in his damn mittens sends me into a straight up rage.
So we shelter-in-place for the sake of our collective sanity.
But staying inside comes with it’s own set of challenges. So an arsenal of engaging indoor activities is essential to winter survival for parents. Maybe it means some super low-effort activities to get the whole family moving or thinking. Maybe it means getting into the spirit of whatever the next holiday is and planning some activities around that (these ones are Valentine’s themed but could easily be adapted). Maybe it means bringing the outdoors inside for some sensory play.
And, honestly, sometimes it is just really nice to cuddle on the couch and watch whatever annoyingly repetitive show your kid is obsessed with. Screen-time recommendations be damned.
What do you think? Are these tips on winter survival for parents helpful? How do you and your family weather the winter months? Let us know in the comments below!