With fresh snow on the ground, I find myself reminiscing (and missing) the summer, already. Just the first snowfall of the year and I’m already counting down the days until spring. Sure, a little because it’s cold outside – but more so because during the summer it was easy to leave the house with the kids. There were no mittens, no pairs of boots that had to be coerced on to those little toddler feet, no sweaters, no head wear, no winter jackets and no struggles.
Let’s face it – getting out in the winter with the kids is a test of endurance and patience and when I’m outnumbered, it’s even more tricky. However, staying at-home isn’t an option. Staying at-home is going to result in a couple of stir crazy children that are taking the ‘the couch is lava’ game way too far. Staying out home is going to make me crazy.
Use these 5 tips to make getting out during the winter a little easier:
Start with a Basket
I stopped wondering where all the mittens were, stopped questioning if I was putting the right mittens on the right kid and stopped searching through similar hats to look for the tag for the size. Now, we have two baskets labelled by the front door with the kids stuff in each of the baskets. When we come in from outside, they put their snowsuit, jacket, mittens, hat and other cold weather wear inside of their respective basket – and it’s there to find for next time. Extra mittens, hats and other items go right in with it.
Get the Right Winter Gear
If you’re home with the kids on a day to day basis, you know that staying home isn’t an option. You’re going to have to get outside – even if it’s only for a quick walk around the block a couple of times a day. For those walks, and the marathon snowman building, fort making and snow creating days outside with the neighborhood kids, you’re going to need to get the right gear. Look for warm, waterproof gear that’s not too bulky and going to allow the kids to layer up.
Keep it Short
It’s hard to spend long periods of time outside during the cold weather for me – so I am not going to make the kids endure it. On those days that we’re spending at-home, you’ll see us outside in fifteen minute bursts, a couple of times in the morning and a couple of times in the afternoon. The quick run around for Olivia gets rid of some of that excess energy, and the crisp air does wonders to refresh your patience level (I’m talking from experience there). Getting out for short periods of time, or taking part in outdoor activities where you’re going to be able to find shelter are a must when you’re getting out with kids in the city during the winter.
The Stroller Counts
During the fall and summer, our umbrella stroller is fantastic. It’s lightweight, it’s versatile and it’s comfortable. When it comes to the winter months, if you’re going to be out and about with a child in a stroller you’re going to want to look for air-filled tires that are going to be durable, provide a smooth ride for the kiddo inside and that are going to glide through inches of snow with ease. It’s going to make those days enjoying all that winter has to offer in Canadian cities easier.
Skip the Jacket
What? I know what you’re thinking. Skip the jacket? Are you crazy? Nope, I’m not. On the days when we are going to be in the stroller and Violet’s not going to be walking around outside, I skip the jacket. Rather, we use one of our favorite products, the JJCole Polar Bundle Me and a blanket with a hat to keep Violet toasty on the go. With the extendable bottom, it would be a great way to keep Olivia cozy on the go too – making it a one time purchase that will grow with your child.
Features of the Polar Bundle Me:
• extendable bottom that grows with your child
• for use with car seats, strollers, and joggers
• machine washable
• removable top for easy temperature control
• allows safety straps to rest directly on the child
Those are the standard features – here are a few of my favorites. I love the fact that it stays on the carseat/stroller throughout the winter months and doesn’t have to be removed. The plush lining is soft, and the outside sheilds from the cold so the kiddo stays toasty inside of the Bundle Me. Love the fact that you can toss it into the washer (I never dry) and when you’re done with it, it’s one of those high-quality products that can be stashed away for the next child without looking worn.
My favorite part? The easy open bottom makes it a snap to go without boots (and steal Moms fuzzy socks) allowing you to put boots on the kiddo without the struggle, before they leave the stroller. If it’s warm out, it’s also a great way to get air flow. Right under the opening is the hidden pocket where the extended fabric can be adjusted for older or taller children (recommended to age four).
The first test drive we gave the JJCole polar bundle me was a twenty-five minute walk around our neighborhood. It was cold, a definite winter jacket, hat and mitts needed day. I loaded Violet in doing her stroller/carseat straps as per normal and zipped her up into it with a hat and blanket inside. Checking half way through, her body was warm inside. She still needed a hat inside of the bundle me for our cold winter days, as there is some room in the hood but her body was warm, and we could absolutely go without a jacket in the stroller or carseat.
Getting out gets a little easier when you can skip a step without worrying whether the kid is going to stay warm. We’ve used JJCole since the kids were infants and have gone jacket-less the entire time the kids were in their travel system carseats. I’ve always been amazed at just how warm they can stay – and with the addition of the Polar Bundle Me to our collection and the hooded feature with the structured design we’re going to be getting out easier all winter long to enjoy everything the city has to offer.