Get Outside Every Day
One of the things I really do love about living in Milwaukee (and the Midwest in general) is that we get to experience all four seasons, though fall doesn’t last as long as I’d like. So even though the summers get really hot and the winters get really cold, I have an unofficial motto for myself and my kids – Get Outside Every Day.
Of course, I’m motivated to get outside on nice days – the 75 and sunny days with a light breeze. I’d spend all day outside with my kids (or ignoring them while I read a book for fun). It’s not usually so fun to get a whole load of winter gear on myself and my two littles, but once we’re outside, it’s almost always worth it. Even at 15 below zero, we attempt to go outside for 15 minutes, if only for an excuse to come back in and have hot cocoa. In the summertime, I don’t always prefer sweating my booty off outside on the hottest of days, but I’ve made a conscious effort to make it happen.
For me, making sure I take time to move my body and spend time breathing fresh air is important for my mental health. Staying inside all cooped up really gets to me after a while and puts me and then the whole family in a bad mood. There’s a challenge going around right now called 1,000 hours outside. I’m not the type of person to keep track of such things because I tend to be kind of lazy about writing things down, but it’s been a great way for some of my friends to motivate themselves to get outside every day too.
So what do I do with my kids, especially on the cold days? Well, largely the same thing I do on warm days, but with hats and mittens. Of course, as soon as the snow melts, we’re out blowing bubbles.
Rainy days? Take a walk anyway. Let them splash in puddles and get themselves wet. Make it a short walk and throw everything in the dryer. There are no rules here.
When the sidewalks are clear enough to get the stroller through, we’re walking the mile or so to the library and back. Heck, if the steps are walkable, we’ll even go to the playground with snow on the ground! There are really no limits when it comes to what to do in winter, besides wearing extra layers and having a warm drink afterward.
The first Christmas after I had my first baby, my mom bought me snow pants. She knew I’d need them for the next few years. Investing in a pair of nice snow pants that are waterproof, warm, and fit well is essential to being a fun mom in winter. Without warm mittens, I don’t last long, so add that to your wish lists!
On really hot days, it’s nice, of course, to take my kids to the pool or the beach. But when I don’t feel like packing everything up, they’re just as happy to have me spray them with the hose on “mist” or for me to create a muddy puddle to splash in. I don’t do a lot to entertain them. Just keep it simple.
It’s also important to note that on hot days, it’s been really valuable to me to find a few swimsuits that I really love and flatter my body type. Feeling good in a swimsuit is definitely a challenge, but not impossible, and having a few that I know I like really makes it easy to get out with the kids and play without worrying about anything slipping out or cutting me the wrong way. My body confidence in my summer wardrobe is important because having clothes and swimsuits I feel comfortable in helps me actually enjoy the time spent with my girls.
When all else fails, we’ll take a short walk around the block and pick up sticks, rocks, and leaves – don’t tell my kids, but I usually ditch them in the alley after we get home. Going for a hike with a small snack is easy. Getting outside every day can be as easy as hanging out on your front steps or just jumping around and singing songs in your front yard and looking at bugs. It doesn’t have to be a big production just to get outside.
After we make the decision to get outside, we’re usually better for it. Our moods are improved, the kids have gotten their wiggles out, and their need to literally climb the walls is (mostly) out of their system.
In what ways do you get outside with the kids in your life? Do you make a point to get outside every day?