Most Popular Posts

Monday, September 12, 2011

Motherhood Mondays: Being outside

I really, really, really don't like winter. Grey skies and snowy streets make you feel cooped up, and I'm already getting nervous about having a busy energetic walking baby boy indoors! So, I have a plan...

I'm going to take Toby outside to play for a long time everyday, no matter what.

In Scandinavia (the land of all things good and true:), parents take their babies and children out for ages everyday, rain, snow or shine, according to my lovely friend Lee, who grew up in Copenhagen. "You just wrap your babies up in whatever you have," she says. "You stick them in the stroller and take them outside. Bigger kids wear full snowsuits--every Danish kid has one--and 'elephant hats,' which go over your whole head with your face peeking out." Another friend who lived in Sweden told me that every Swedish child wore rain pants, and grown-ups wore waterproof clothing. "In Denmark, you can't be afraid of the weather," Lee says. "Otherwise you'd wait six months to go outside again."

There's even an awesome Scandinvian expression that says, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes," (which I first heard from the Swedish children's store Polarn O. Pyret). What an inspiring mantra. We just have to bundle up! Plus, isn't it kind of wonderful to go outside on a cold winter day? Or during a light rain? The air feels crisp and pure!

The most fascinating thing I learned from a baby book is that, for children, being indoors is both overstimulating and boring at the same time. Isn't that interesting? Throughout history, "children spent most of every day frolicking outside," writes Harvey Karp, M.D., in his brilliant book The Happiest Toddler on the Block. "Our homes are boring because they replace the exciting sensations of nature (the feeling of the wind on their skin, the brilliant sun, the soft grass, etc.) with an immense stillness (flat walls, flat floors, no wind)." Yet at the same time, being indoors is overstimulating: "It bombards them with jolting experiences that kids in the past never had to deal with: crazy cartoons, slick videos, clanging computer games, noisy toys, and bright colors everywhere...which can make many little children feel stressed."

Don't you feel the same way, even as an adult, when watching TV or being on the computer for too long? And Toby is always much calmer and happier chilling outside than in our teeny shoebox apartment.

So, my darlings, let's do it! I'm excited to try to play with Toby outdoors everyday this fall and winter--having adventures, getting fresh air, feeling energized, meeting other brave valiant mamas. Even if it means shivering a little, getting rained on and coming home with a wet baby (not to mention frizzy hair:). I've been a wuss in the past about spending hours outdoors in bad weather, but I think it will be fun and (dare I say it) almost makes me excited for the winter.

I'm really curious: Do you already take your children to play outdoors in the rain and snow, heat and sunshine? Where do you live? Did you spend a lot of time outside when you were growing up? Will you take your kids outside everyday in the winter, too, or would you prefer to stay cozy indoors? Do you live in a place that has rough winters? I would love love love to hear your thoughts...

P.S. Danish women ride their bikes in snowstorms, and their babies sleep outside.
(Photos, from top, by Matthew Hranek, Kasia Bloom, Jenna Park via Momfilter, Elizabeth Dunker, Charles Gullung and Jenna Park x3)

308 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 308 of 308
Caitlin said...

Growing up in Australia I don't really know how to deal with a real winter - so winter with my in-laws in the Netherlands becomes so depressing for me. I don't know how to dress and end up looking like a marshmallow :) We're spending Christmas this year with them and I'm going to take your advice Joanna and go outside everyday. Even as a marshmallow.

Malin said...

Yeah, being Norwegian I was outside almost all the time when I was little. We had to ask permission, and have a reason, to stay indoors. I think it's good for kids to grow up like that..

And adults wear proper clothes too - like rain pants, and not very nice, but very practical rain coats etc. We just have to make the weather work with us..

Kristine said...

Dear Jo.
I live in Bergen - Norway with my husband, our 8 months old twins - Alfred and Iben, and our dog Mia. This winter I recommend that you make a homemade bread in the morning, so that you get that lovely smell of warm bread in the house, before you take your family out to play in the snow or the rain. Kids love playing with running water! My nephew who is almost three years old, can play alone in the rain, with a bucket and some stones to put in and out together with water, for a long time : ) After some hours playing out in the cold, you go inside, put on soft and warm clothes, and have a lovely lunch with cocoa or hot tea, and your lovely homemade ryebread. I can guarantee its a success! I wish you a lovely winter outside. Check out www.pickles.no for inspiration on nice and warm things to knit for your husband and your baby. love k

Sentments Hesbon said...

Wonderful idea. And really love that...

Anna said...

Hi Jo! I live in Sweden and have to add to your list of Scandinavian weather related facts by telling you that there are actually kindergartens here that don't have indoor facilities. I'm sure they have access to bathrooms in some way, but basically they are outside all the time. And it's really popular!

J said...

Joanna, I've been miserable this past week mourning the passing of summer and wondering how on earth I was going to keep my active little 15 month busy throughout the cold months. I've been endlessly searching for toddler classes or soft play areas that I can take her - but you're right, what I really need to do is just continue to play outside. I'm going to buy her a waterproof all-in-one, shove the wellies on and just go for it! We're not going to melt if a drop (or thousand) of rain hits us, so what's the problem? Kind of excited now ! Although, I'd like the sun to stay just a while longer please.

CheekyPinkTulip said...

I love Copenhagen! I've never been but I know I love it. It's been voted happiest city/best European city to live in so many times.

This post makes me want to go even more!

Maria xx
www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

Isabelle said...

My mom used to say : in winter dress like an onion. Layers upon layers of warm clothes.

With this technique i spend days in the freezing canadian cold playing with my friends, building snow forts and cabins in the woods. Leggings and ts, sweats, snowsuit, a big hat, scarves wrapped around (and freezing up because of the condensation of our breath), mittens (no gloves, fingers get cold if they are bundled together) and felt insulated boots suited for astronauts (sorel was my mom's choice and is still for kids in the family).

It was the best of times ! I remember a great feeling of fatigue and satisfaction at the end of the day.

Nothing like a kid with rosy cheeks from playing in the cold

Anonymous said...

I've been an au pair in Northern Germany for the past year, and take the boys (twin toddlers) for a walk and play in the garden every day. Their grandparents take them for another walk in the evening. By the end of the day, the boys have spent 2-3 hours minimum outside, no matter how cold or rainy it is.

It ALWAYS pays off at nap time. They fall asleep faster and sleep longer after playing in the cold, than they did on the handful of occasions I kept them indoors. I'll definitely take the same approach when I have my own babes!

Nina said...

I live in Northern Germany and i do not own a car, so when it is too wet to bike or walk I use the bus. And like my 2 sons I own rain pants, I just slip them over my office outfit. The other day a colleague commented:" toddler outside, Prada underneath" (which upset me, as it actually was Lanvin!).

Our boys visit a regular kindergarten, from 9am to 5.30pm, and a minimum of 3 hours daily are spent in fresh air, whatever the weather is like. That's normal here.

My sisters kids used to visit a "Waldkindergarten", meaning playschool in the woods. There was only one little hut with bathrooms and a small reading area used when the weather was too harsh. My nieces went there daily for 3 years and they were not down with colds more often than my kids are. It is normal for children to catch bugs, colds and coughs!

I also prefer warm and dry weather, but I will not let cold and wet days keep ne ir the kids away from fresh air!

Allison said...

I think this is a great idea. As a teacher, I try to take my kids outside in all weather (except thunder) as long as parents cooperate with clothing! Do you plan on purchasing any special attire for yourself and Toby? I am sure we'd all love to see your ideas!

Red Boots said...

This is definitely not just a Scandinavian thing. I grew up (and still live in Scotland) and we were encouraged to play outside in all weathers. Even at school, we were only allowed to stay indoors at break time if it was really really raining - otherwise we HAD to play outside (no choice about it). Our parents just invested in warm coats, hats, scarves, gloves, vest and boots and sent us out. i have such great memories of playing in my garden or in the school-grounds on moody winters days. And the wildlife and nature you see at these times of years is always so fascinating and such an education to kids.

I find it a bit incredulous that parents would even consider keeping their children indoors throughout the whole of autumn and winter. Talk about wrapping kids up in cotton wool!

melanie martin said...

yes, growing up in canada this was apart of my years. now as a ma of 2 here in brooklyn i do the same as well. it is so wonderful to be outside in all weather and seasons!! if you ever wanna come over to brooklyn would love to go for a walk @prospect park with you and toby!

Mansi said...

Ive grown up in India and am now living and working I'n England. Ofcourse weather was never a deterrent I'n the parts I grew up I'n and childhood memories are full of being outdoors just playing playing playing till u heard u re mom shout out come in now it's time for homework or dinner or anything to get us back in . It was the best childhood ever and I can't help but feel a bit of a snob when I meet someone who can't ride a bike . But I do think that kids not spending time outdoors these days is a global phenomenon. I don't have kids of my own but I've always seen it's up to the parents to be enthusiastic about doing things with their kids instead of taking the easy way out and switching the tv on . I hope to do what u intend to do this winter when I had a kid . As for being subjected to extremes of nature after moving to England I try to walk outdoors everyday and it's beautiful no matter what the weather . I ve done a small project for me which I call seasons of life and I ve taken pictures of trees along my walk route I'n all the seasons with just autumn left . And being out and looking up at those huge magnificent trees with their sillhoutes wether against a dark grey winter sky or a blue cloud dotted sky - it's refreshingly beautiful . So I guess nothing can be as stimulating as being outdoors for your kid. P.s. My name is Mansi and I ve been reading u re blog for sometime and it's beautiful simply beautiful.

Melina said...

Hi Jo,

I live in sunny Miami and take my little Lucas out rain or shine! I love your blog! Come meet my little man at www.lifelikesandlucas.com

antique engagement rings said...

Your posts are just wonderful.. a great way to start my day.. thanks!

Anonymous said...

I live in Canada and have two boys [now teenagers.] Our motto was: 'when in doubt, take them out!" I will admit that my secret agenda was to tire them out -- so I would run and play hard with them. Then they either napped, or once too old for naptime, they would play/read quietly. My best advice for you Jo: invest in some beautiful wool and down piece of clothing for you! Your little one will be warm already -- he will run and play, but you just won't work up that warmth because it doesn't take too much to keep up with them when they are this little. If you are always cold - you won't want to take him out. But if you wear wool and down -- you'll be toasty! Start shopping!

Linnéa said...

Being outside in rain or snow , just in any kind of weather was the usual thing for us growing up.
I am from Munich (a town in the southern part of Germany-propably well known because of the Oktoberfest) and growing up near the mountains the wintertimes with snow-mans, snowballs, ice-skating and skiing were great - even living in the city center.

For me the most beautiful thing in autumn definitely was coming home in the warmth of our flat and enjoying a hot chocolate or tea while cuddling together on the sofa after you went for a walk or to play in the rain outside.

Joanna Goddard said...

beate, so interesting that they sleep outside everyday!!

Joanna Goddard said...

'when in doubt, take them out!" = i love that motto!!

BH said...

My Charlotte and I live in London and we go outside everyday even if just for a brief walk. Everyone here has foot muffs and rain covers for their buggies and I always love an excuse to wear my wellies! Because we walk everywhere (we don't own a car) being in the elements is just a part of life. r

Joanna Goddard said...

"in winter, dress like an onion" + "toddler outside, lanvin underneath" for grown-ups -- i love these mottos!!

Jaimie said...

This past winter I was off on maternity leave with my second baby. We had a cold, snowy winter here in Toronto and since I planned to be outdoors taking walks I invested in a warm down coat and proper snow boots (usually when I am just running from home into the office I can get away with leather boots and a wool coat). I bought this amazing hybrid maternity/babywearing/regular coat (called The M coat, themcoat.com) and I wear the baby, in just her regular clothes and a hat, and zip her in warmly with me into the coat. It was wonderful! And when I wasn't wearing the baby, it was so much nicer to play out in the snow with my preschooler when I was warmly dressed. I'm going to get snowpants this winter so I can enjoy it even more.

Michelle Kendrick Hartney said...

I live in Chicago and I'm a HUGE baby when it comes to winter. Now that I have a baby I have to (wo)man up I guess and face winter head on! I just get super nervous on days that it's snowing because I live downtown on a very busy intersection that has lots of car wrecks so I'm worried about that. I will need to find a park nearby to go to I guess!

Lewis said...

I don't have children, but I am a runner who runs outside all year 'round in all kinds of weather - 100 degrees and humid, rainy, snowy, sub-zero, etc. I feel as though I don't mind the inclement weather when I am out enjoying it and getting fresh air, exercise, and good companionship from my running partners. I think the whole experience makes a huge impact on my overall physical and mental health, and it makes me appreciate all of the seasons in a different kind of way.

Anne said...

to manoeuver a toddler through snowy streets, you should invest in good boots for yourself and in a good sled for toby. something like this: http://www.overstock.com/Sports-Toys/Flexible-Flyer-Padded-Wood-Toddlers-Sled/5408415/product.html
both of you will love it, promise. :)

victoria / cats dreaming in keylime said...

Wow, this is so strange that it's not obvious: children need to earn their naps! They need fresh air. Put on the rain boots, splash in puddles, chase leaves, throw rocks in the lake, even if it's frozen ... (!)

Rebecca said...

We take our little one out as much as possible and when we're inside I have as many doors and windows open as possible. Our little one just loves it! I completely jive with the quotation you cited from Harvey Karp: we are born to live outside! I find that going outside in cold/wet weather makes coming back inside all the more delightful. There is nothing like stripping off your ikky clothes after a cold rainy walk and snuggling up by a warm fire!

I'm so happy and inspired that there's another mama out there not afraid to take her baby out! Thanks for sharing, Joanna!

Keri said...

I live in Canada...and its the same as in Denmark if you are afraid of the weather you will be stuck inside most of the year. Its september and we are only a couple degrees above freezing today.
Every kid I knew growing up had a full snow suit, every day at school unless there was a frostbite warning we went outside at recess, at lunch.... you just bundled up.
In highschool gym class in the dead of winter we would have class outside playing broom ball (hockey with brooms and shoes instead of skates) or bucketball...which was like football... in the ankle deep snow.
My parents used to cross country ski through the parks and pull me as a toddler in a sled behind them.... Great memories.
Im sure you and Toby will create some of your own great memories playing outside...

Ally said...

Living in Winnipeg (coldest city in Canada I sam convinced) really trains & toughens you to not make weather a deterrent, Some of my fave memories are from playing in the snow!
xo
http://allykayler.blogspot.com/

Joanna Goddard said...

a "forest playgroup" sounds awesome! and thank you for the wise advice, melinda xoxo

Joanna Goddard said...

a "forest playgroup" sounds awesome! and thank you for the wise advice, melinda xoxo

Petitevie said...

No need to go to Scandinavia to see kids in winter suit, just drive 7 hrs north to Montreal in January. My 4 yrs is so excited that winter is coming again. She can ski dowhill by herself and had her 1st pair of skis when she was 2. For good quality and good price, look for Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC). They deliver to USA.

Alessandra said...

My mom is Danish, so I forwarded this to her. She says I slept outside in my stroller all the time (with a nice warm comforter) and I turned out just fine. :-)

Tonia said...

I grew up in northern WI and my husband in MN. In both states, winter is the longest month. It lasts and lasts and lasts and.....you cannot spend the whole thing indoors, you would literally go crazy. So, both of us grew up spending huge amounts of time outside in all seasons.

I have great memories of sledding down the hill in our back yard- rosy cheeked and bundled like a marshmallow in my snowsuit- and then coming inside the warm house for a snack and hot chocolate. NOTHING is better than the feeling of a hot drink warming your body from the inside.

I would ride my pony through the deep, fluffy snow in our field. He was always frisky and playful when the weather turned cold. No more biting flies to pester him!

My husband and I have now settled down in a small northern WI town, and we're looking forward to winter. We play on a co-ed hockey league with a bunch of friends, we snuggle next to the woodstove and read books, and we don't have to pull weeds in the garden for five months!! Winter's alright with me. :)

Pro tip: Use these crisp fall days to "acclimate" to the cooler temps. It will sting at first, but your body will adjust over time. Come December, you'll be much more comfortable at lower temps than if you had stayed inside all fall and then shocked your body by suddenly revealing it to winter.

Emily said...

I will happily take my little one out in the cold, or rain for that matter. I just can't tell my husband, he believes that the cold will give her a cold. :)

melissab said...

great post! yes, get 'em and yourself out as much as possible. I think it more healing than we realize. Pretty much all of my vivid childhood memories/connections involve being outdoors. I always went out with my own kiddos , too, (now ages 16, 12), because they always wanted to be out. So important for their and our well-being, esp. in this high-tech day and age. Funny memory of my 1st born: at age 1 he finally got a first pair of shoes- some sweet, moccasin thingys, and on day one plus he was stomping in mud puddles with them. so much for new shoes :)

Sealicious said...

Moving back home to RI from living in the south for a few years, I finally realized that having the right gear (warm coat, hat, AND cozy waterproof boots) make a HUGE difference! We got a dog last winter so we had to go outside alot - we'd take him to new nature reserves and parks all the time. It was awesome and I felt more satisfied at the end of last winter than I usually do. I think your goal is awesome, I can't wait to read about your adventures!

Carla said...

My kids attended a Montessori preschool where snowpants,snowboots, hats and mittens were required gear on snow days! We also made snowy days more fun by bringing them to school in a sled! Now, at 6 and 8, they love to go sledding on snowy days and never complain about the temperature outside. I think starting them outside in all weather at an early age toughens them up so they can just enjoy the outdoors!

Rachel Joins the Fray said...

Or, you could just move here! ; )

Lashley said...

I don't have babies, but from my work experience and from what I've heard from mamas, the Patagonia Puff Ball and (new) Down Sweater Bunting is THE answer for comfy toddlers outdoors. Plus Patagonia has excellent environmental and social ethics, so it's a guilt-free purchase :) I know I sound like I'm advertising, but I only -used- to work for the company.

Kelsi said...

I grew up in the rainy/cloudy Pacific Northwest, and now teach preschoolers here. There's lots of photos of me in layers outside year-round, and it wasn't always pleasant, but I had a VERY happy, healthy childhood and believe this was a large part of it. I was limited to a half hour of TV a day, no video games, etc. My mom was a pretty firm believer in getting her kids outside daily - we had a little nearby hike on some undeveloped land near our childhood home that we did in any kind of weather that ended in a lovely view over the San Juan islands. My mom had a daycare at our house when I was a child, and I remember many of the kids whining and complaining about going out in the drizzle or the cold despite being clothes properly. She persevered, though, and I want to carry this example into my teaching (at a progressive school that upholds the same beliefs about the outdoors - every afternoon all year long is devoted to outdoor learning and play) and mothering. Good luck, Joanna! Embrace it!

Kelly R said...

I have a Russian friend who told me that when Russian children are little, parents purposely take them outside with little to no clothes on (at small increments of time at least) to get them prepared for withstanding cold winters! I grew up in Wisconsin where we had many a snow day, but we never stayed inside! We'd bundle up and build snowmen and stuff. One year, my mom even helped us build an igloo in our front yard. All the neighbor kids were so jealous. Heehee!

April said...

That rocks Joanna! I just tweeted about this for the Canadian Wildlife Federation, where I work: http://twitter.com/#!/CWF_FCF

We're always encouraging people to get outside with their kids. It's so so important. We've also partnered with the Robert Bateman Get to Know contest which encourages kids to get outdoors and either draw or write about their experiences. Thought you might want to do that with your little one.
http://www.gettoknow.ca/ca/

Missy said...

It's the truth! I had my first daughter in Finland and was terrified of the winter being cooped up all the time. But it wasn't like that at all. We went out nearly every day, rain or shine, snow or darkness (and oh, there was so much darkness...) No bad weather only bad clothing is a truly spoken mantra!

It didn't hurt to find the nearest toy store and pet store either... we've spent many winter hours there "warming up". Good luck! I've got an active toddler now and the cabin fever only gets worse :)

michelle said...

Oooh, can I request a post on what to wear? For us as well as kiddies? Same goes for gear: what stuff do we need to outfit our strollers/prams to withstand rain or chill?

So inspired.

Anonymous said...

Hoping this doesn't count as a mean comment- I'm just a grammar nerd who has been trying lately to spread awareness about the fact that there's a grammatical difference between "everyday" and "every day." Look into it if you wish, but please disregard if it doesn't bother you! Love your blog- I'm also resolving to spend more time outdoors!

BzirkWorks said...

Love your photos and even the concept of 'no bad weather..' but I still hate winter. I dread it more each year. From inside looking out- it is sometimes striking in its beauty but stark, cold, unforgiving. I hate it. Nice post..

BzirkWorks said...

p.s. .. I just had to comment.. being in the cold does not make you sick.. it makes you cold. Bacteria and viruses make you sick..

Anonymous said...

I live in southern california. My kids have always gone outside daily. It is a must for us to go to the park and see nature since our suburb is mostly concrete. I should be embarrassed to admit that I complain when the slide is wet from the dew. Or all the sand in my laundry room. I think being out side is worth any obstacle and I now realize I have know room to complain:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna,

I'm an American living in northern Finland and am possibly the biggest wuss in the world. But because we have no car, we pretty much have to go out everyday, sun, rain, or snow. I've bicycled in -30C and cycled up until I was 9 months pregnant. I only stopped because my huge belly got in the way! We took our 1 month old son outside in the dead of Finnish winter and, against all my American hesitations, I've even started putting him outside to nap. The maternity clinic here gives you a little thermometer diagram that shows you how many layers you need as the temperature drops!

If I can do it, anybody can!

H

Nicole Miazgowicz/TheOverstuffedChair said...

I also grew up in Michigan and we definitely had the full snowsuits, gloves, and hats going on. My brother and I would stay outside just as long as we did during summer, building snow tunnels and castles:) Maybe it's because I'm from a very rural, farm-town area so being outside no matter what was just what we did to stay entertained!

louievanduck said...

Hi Joanna!

How about a house swap? My boyfriend and I have a beautiful 4 room apartment in the center of Aarhus, Denmark. I can guarantee darkness and rainy/snowy days if you come within the next 6 months. We'll lend you our bicykles, pram, stroller and all the warm clothes you'll need for Toby. I'll even arrange for somebody to show you how to maneouvre the pram through the snow the way we danes do:-)

Love from Louise, who would much rather go to N.Y.C. during the winter...

Amanda said...

I live in Southern California right now, so I don't really have this problem! But we spent last fall and winter in the Netherlands and we did spend time outside every day, no matter what. My son walked in the snow on the very first day he learned to walk! I think I would have gone nuts if I stayed indoors all day. Plus I wouldn't have had groceries...

louievanduck said...

Hi Joanna!

How about a house swap? I'll lend you our beautiful 4 room apartment in Aarhus, DK all winter. You can also have our bikes, pram, stroller and all the warm clothes you'll need for Toby. I'll arrange for somebody to show you the best playgrounds, and where to buy the best coffee that will help you stay warm. I guarantee plenty of rain, snow and dark hours to practise outdoor activities in.

Love Louise, who would love to go to NYC during the winter...

The Missus said...

I can totally relate to your concern about being outdoors during winter as we live in Minnesota. My little one was just learning how to walk last winter so everyday I brought him to the nearby mall to practice. I also brought him to indoor play areas. Outdoor play was usually only on weekends. I think this year he's ready to play outside in the snow as part of his daily routine.

JennyCash said...

i live in maryland, and hate - really, really hate - the humind summers we have here. i am much more agreeable to cold weather and can't wait for things to cool off. i find i stay indoors more in the summer....i'd rather put on layers and walk through snow and cold wind than be drenched in sweat from the humidity. :)

HRH Susan said...

Hi Jo,

I grew up in the most populous northern-most city in the world, Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. We have brutal winters with weeks and weeks of temperatures below -30 and when I was a kid by February the snow would be well over my head.
We always played outside! Digging tunnels through the snow drifts, snowmen, snow angels, not to mention skating, tobogganing and skiing.
The nintendo would sit inside and wait for us, post snowball fight with hot chocolate or cider.
One of the best parts of winter fun outside was the excitement of buying that all important piece of clothing, the snowsuit. It ould have to protect you from the harsh climate and the touque (wool beanie), scarf, mittens and boots that you would get to match!

Anonymous said...

The only really miserable thing is rain - or ice! - but snow is fun. And it doesn't matter if they fall over...plus, you can spend ages afterwards in a nice hot bath, messing about with plastic cups and spoons and having hot chocolate. Outside always better than in, no matter how long it takes to get ready. Good luck.

lindsay marie said...

I swear you always post things I have been thinking about, its so weird. I saw that same quote at that swedish children's store! I plan to get my daughter and I extremely warm coats so we can go outside everyday this snowy winter. We just moved to New England area from Cali...

A Girl Named Maria.. said...

Hello Joanna, I really enjoy your blog!

We live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on the new island " IJburg" and we will take our 3 year daughter Maria outdoors (almost) everyday, she doesn't mind about the rain, wind or snow. We had a lot of rain this summer and she just loves her new umbrella. When we (my husband and I) are both not working we'll take her to the city beach around the corner, where it is even more nice and quiet if the weather is not so good, or go to the parc, or one of the play grounds in the city centre or just walking around Amsterdam from place to place. When we are working, my mom takes care of her two days a week and she is even more hardcore with taking her outdoors for hours. Most of the times she will have her afternoon nap outside . The two days a week she is at the day-care she spends probably most of the hours indoors.
This being said, i do hope for a sunny autumn and winter (with lots of snow) after such a rainy summer. warm wishes, Wendelien

Anna Culp said...

my cousin in finland (i'm a finnish-american) sent my daughter her snowsuit, so i suppose i'll have to drag myself out with her sometimes. mostly, i'm planning a variety of indoor activities (library storytime, indoor playground, children's museum, aquarium) to do with my currently 15-month-old this winter. i live in utah where the winter is long, cold, and unpredictable--i'm inspired by your post and might try to embrace each season (though i'm partial to summer and fall by far), so that my daughter won't miss out while i pout on the couch with cocoa all winter. i'll try to spend, oh 10 minutes a day outside every day, weather be damned!

Anonymous said...

I live in Northern Colorado and YES to going out in winter! I bundled up my little guy last winter strapped on the baby bjorn and hiked and walked all winter. I was worried he would fuss but he loves being outdoors. It was a life saver for me, I was going stir crazy and feeling resentful being locked down indoors. It really is all about the clothing.
BTW I love your blog!

Si Crivellari said...

Hi Jo,
I'm from Brazil and peopl here really take this "staying-inside-when-it's-cold-or-raining thing seriously. But my brother lives in Norway, up there almost in the North Pole and he has a son who's almost two now. The weather there is... cold, and grey, and for a long time through the year, dark. So he has learned to do what you said - take his boy outside everyday, no matter what. My mother was very impressed to see that they have "outside" clothes at school, so that they can have outdoorsy activities no matter what. And I've decided that, when I get to have my kids, maybe it's a good idea to teach them that too. :)

rebecca said...

I don't have kids, but when I was one (in Wisconsin) we always spent hours outside in winter. We had full snowsuits and warm, waterproof boots, gloves, hats, etc. We spent about an hour outside during the day at school for recess, and after school my sisters and I spent two more hours hunkered down making snowballs to ambush our dad when he got home from work.

Tania said...

I am with you! My daughter just turned one, is walking and by winter will surely be running. It does scare me a little. Do you think you could also do a post on some shopping sources for warm-weather gear for your toddler? I'll be checking out our local REI in the meantime :)

Lexijean said...

I live in Seattle and I bundle up, I bundle baby up and his pram has a big plastic cover that will keep him dry. Before I discovered that, he was newborn and although it was pouring buckets outside I still wanted to go. Grandma rigged the pram with an umbrella, raincoat and dental floss. Which worked like charm!

Drew said...

The weather is not what matters, being outside when it's light is. At least for me. Copenhagen has 6 hours of daylight when it's darkest in December. So yes, wellingtons, winter boots, snowsuits in order to make the most of the light when it's there. The girl sleeps outside in her pram every day. Minus 10 degrees celsius (which isn't very often in Copenhagen) and we take her in, but other wise she's just wrapped in her Voksi and snoozing away. Nothing like those tiny cold monkey cheeks when she wakes up. I don't consider any of this as something exceptional - this is how I was brought up and what I pass on to my children. That said I love living in a country where I can just park the pram outside the shops and go in to have a look and no one will think it's weird. where bicycling with your kid in the child seat beind you is everyday life, where rain covers come with the prams instead of being considered an accessory.

Claire said...

I've been an au pair for a year in Norway - leaving next week - boo hoo :'( and it is so true about the kids getting togged out in sturdy, warm, waterproof gear so that life goes on whatever the weather. The attitude is just so refreshing compared to the North of England where I'm from - we just huddle in front of the TV and complain until April.
But another thing I have loved about the Norwegian winters is the fact that once you do retire back to the house for the evening they have the fire lit, the candles on and lovely snuggly blankets to cosy up with. The Danish call it 'Hygge', which kind of means extra special cosy atmosphere, so you could say that a really lovely, warm and friendly cafe is 'hyggelig' as an adjective. That just sums up Scandinavia for me :)

Clair said...

This is fantastic. I'm not a mother yet, but I've definitely filed this in my mental list of "things I want to do as a mother".

Alessandra said...

My mom is Danish so I was outside a lot, all the time....and they tell me, I turned out just fine! :-)

Jennifer said...

I have never thought about how OVER stimulating it can be indoors. I'm inspired to get my little one out more now! I am looking forward to cooler weather (actually Sept has been lovely so far). Here in central AL, we get cabin fever in late summer :)

Anonymous said...

Had a giggle at the quote from the kids company, as I often say that too but attribute it to Billy Connolly! Perhaps its such a great saying everyone wants to take ownership! :-)

Michele said...

He's going to need a cagoule to keep up his chic French style! Little children are not allowed to wear scarfs to school in France. I think it's a safety issue. So all proper French children where cagoules, generally in blue. Like this: http://www.petit-bateau.fr/e-shop/product/67953/32V/cagoule-en-laine-et-coton.html
Good luck staying warm!

MegFitz said...

I live in Brooklyn, NY and couldn't agree more with this post! I have a 12-month old daughter and we try to go outside every day, no matter the weather. We are often the only ones in the park on rainy days, but it keeps us going. I was also an elementary school principal before Maeve arrived and saw, first-hand, what impact time outside has on little ones.

Since Maeve came, I've been reading about child development and wellness with renewed interest and continue to read about the link between consistent, meaningful and direct contact with nature and the well-balanced child. I believe so very strongly that kids need nature (as do adults, mind you) and that nature is the ideal place to play, learn and grow. There are some wonderful books and sites if you want to read more about it. Two personal faves are Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods and the Children and Nature Network site (http://www.childrenandnature.org).

My husband and I believe so strongly in this that we are working on building a product that, we hope, will help parents like us get out into nature with their kids and enjoy engaging, healthy, fun time - no matter where they live or how busy they feel. It includes starting a lab preschool in Brooklyn that is based on a outdoor school model that took root in Scandinavia...and I too repeat the mantra, "there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."

So, we wish you and ourselves luck this winter. Maeve and I will be out there each day - rain, shine or otherwise. Cheers!

Jill said...

A truly rain-proof pair of toddler rain boots are the best investment I've made for my daughter. If you decide to really embrace getting wet with your kid outside, it can be SO FUN. Mud puddle jumping can be an entire afternoon of activity in our family. Then you come back in and take a warm bath/shower, snuggle in sweats together and make grilled cheese for dinner. Being stuck inside with a toddler is my own private hell and we live in Seattle - thankfully it doesn't freeze, but rain? OH YES.

stacy said...

Living in Austin TX we don't have to worry about cold winters much- even when its cold out we can still go outside for the majority of the year. It's our brutal summers that can be rough. In the summer we have to take our kiddos out in the early A.M to avoid 104 temps, unless we are swimming and even then you have to b e really diligent with the sunscreen! Grass is greener on the other side, I suppose!

Tracey said...

SO inspiring! I have a 14 month old and was planning to stay in all winter but now I think we will be a bit more adventurous! : )

Russet and Empire said...

I WANT to go outside all year round with my son but the real problem is finding a proper winter coat that doesn't coast $500 thats not disgusting to look at! We live in Canada so staying warm outside is important. Does anyone have any coat suggestions? Pretty please?

Linnie Joy said...

Sadly here in Georgia the summers get too hot and it isnt always safe to go out for long times (sun stroke, sadly we can only take off so much) but through the other 9 months and below 95* we are out for hours a day

kate said...

We most definitely go out every day...can't imagine a day without fresh air and a stroll through the neighbourhood! My daughter is 16months and last winter we ventured out each day even on crazy snow days (when the streets are empty and the snowflakes are falling it's particularly nice to be out:). We mastered the art of layering which included a fabulous pair of wool leggings, wool and silk blend sweaters (not too bulky and of course very soft), a wool helmet style hat, and a super warm down snowsuit. We live in Toronto, Canada and winter is cold and the streets are slushy, and the snowbanks can be quite big...so having a great stroller that we could get around with in all kinds of weather conditions made all the difference.
Should be interesting this winter going for walks with N the toddler, all bundled up and ready to play in the snow:)
enjoy your winter walks with Toby!

Nancy said...

I´m from the Netherlands and our weather kind of sucks ;) We do have a lot of rain during the year, but I must admit also some pretty summery days. I really need to mention when growing up I ALWAYS was outside. Always playing outside: rain or shine! My mother encouraged us to play outside as well, it was the upcoming era of the computer, but thankfully we have always been playing outside. My brother is kind of a computer junkie, but he was encouraged as well by my mother to get a bit of fresh air every day.

Now, during my lunch breaks, I still go outside and when I get home from my work, I try to do something outside. Maybe working in my garden, or just take a walk on my block.

As we say in the Netherlands: 'je bent niet van suiker' which means: 'you are not made of sugar'. ( -> So you won't melt when it rains.)


Love,
Nancy

Anonymous said...

I live in Florida and, obviously, we have the opposite problem. Ever since my daughter was born, I hate the extreme heat! As a newborn I was very careful, but this summer I was set on making sure she had time outside everyday. At her montessori she could be in and out all day. On the weekends, I would take her to the park for about half an hour. There was maybe one other child there! You have to use lots of sunscreen, hats and make sure they are drinking enough, but how can you keep them cooped up all day? I congratulate you on your commitment. We need to make the outdoors a habit, not a special occasion. Love your blog, btw!

Jane said...

Ha if our kids didn't go outside in lousy weather here in Canada they'd never go out at all! That's what snowsuits are for!

Anonymous said...

I love this post! It is so liberating. I won't be a slave to the weather ever again. :)

Anonymous said...

Being a born and raised Texas girl, winter is usually pretty fun here and many years my kids' warmest coats have been hoodies. Now we have a Colorado home and I have had to learn about dressing appropriately for cold!
Thin, thin long johns underneath jeans, wool socks, boots, gloves (love the ones with no fingers and then mitten "caps") and ear warmers. Add in some hot chocolate and I am working on becoming a cold weather lover.
Enjoy. Great post.

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

Love love love love! Growing up we spent the majority of our time at home outdoors. We weren't allowed to watch tv and the internet wasn't really so much a household thing as it is now. I have the fondest memories of my adventures with my siblings and want my son to feel the same way. I share your concerns about the first winter with a walking little boy! Mine just turned one and is bouncing off the walls!

Anonymous said...

I don't have kids, but last winter, I resolved to take a walk during lunch every day during winter, no matter the weather. My coworker and I did this and it was actually a lot of fun. I started doing this because I tend to get seasonal affective disorder and I found that getting outside everyday helps.

Growing up we always played outside - even in the snow. My mom did not want us playing in the house with our friends so we had no choice but to go outside and play. Just put on snowsuits and we were all set.

anna said...

I just read your blog for the first time. Good for you for commiting to go outside everyday with your little one. I'm actually doing a talk to a mothers' group next week, on taking your baby outside. So good for you to encourage people.
Babies love snow!
Anna in Toronto
www.januarybaby.com

Morgan said...

Yes! Whenever my seven month old gets fussy going outside always does the trick!

perfect bound said...

Even worse than keeping little ones inside all winter is strolling them around a shopping mall for the sake of a change of scenery. Harrison will be 10 months old when winter hits and I'm a bit fearful of how our days will be filled when there is snow on the ground. This is a great post, Joanna. As always!

Candice said...

I'm in Quebec, Canada and it gets pretty cold. With daycare, they go outside unless it gets colder than -10 degrees celsius. When it's only raining lightly or if it's very wet (not suitable for playing in the grass and on the toys) they go out for a walk. In school, they have to stay outside no matter how cold but they allow them inside if it's raining. At home, children love to go out and make forts and snowmen and have snowball fights so yes, they go out no matter how cold.

Anonymous said...

情趣用品,情趣用品,AV女優,情趣用具,
飛機杯,自慰器,充氣娃娃,按摩棒,跳蛋,
威而柔,丁字褲,性感睡衣,角色扮演服

Jennifer | Whisk It Good said...

I love that expression about no bad weather, just bad clothing. I'm a firm believer in fresh air for my boy (and me!). A friend and I were talking about starting a kiddie polar bear club for this winter down in Battery Park City (where I swear it's 10º colder than the rest of the city). Come on down to Rockefeller Park. We'll have the place to ourselves!

Maria-Thérèse ~ www.afiori.com said...

I live in Sweden and am confused by your question. Do you mean you don't go outside at all when the weather is bad / cold? :-o I hate winter but staying indoors all the time would drive me crazy and be very unhealthy. Of course we go outside, babies, children and adults. You just have to dress appropriately.

safe meds said...

It is impressive that weather doesn't affect you to take your children outside.People usually try to avoid that kind of weather.

safe meds said...

It is impressive that it doesn't matter what kind of weather you have that you can take your children out even in the worst weather.

Laura said...

Great post! I received 15 Minutes Outside by Rebecca Cohen for Christmas. I am taking on the challenge with my two boys, 8 and 5, and we are blogging about our experience here: moretimeoutside.blogspot.com

In my history of motherhood I have been bad about getting my kids outside in anything other than beautiful weather. It is a big shift for me to commit to getting outside every single day, no matter what the windshield temperatures here in Central Illinois. And the thing is, once we get out there and run around, it feels great. We've just started our year-long challenge, but already it's been very eye-opening and wonderful. I really like the "there is no bad weather only bad clothes" idea. Good luck to you and Toby!

Scott M.Beaulieu said...

You are a very clever person!
Gregory Mountain Products Alpaca 22-Inch Adventure Travel Roller Duffle-55 Liter

Sandra E.Rutherford said...

Usually I don't read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice article.
Timberland Women's Earthkeepers Mount Holly Tall Lace Duck Boot

phlebotomist said...

"The parents are usually really close by, near the window," says photographer and mother of two Jenny Brandt, who lives in southern Sweden and went to Copenhagen to take a few photos for Cup of Jo. "I think the whole thing started because the cafés and shops are so small."
phlebotomy training in CO

Lauren Doxey said...

I live in Utah and this winter has been absolutely awful. The average temperature was 15 degrees and it was incredibly foggy, you couldn't see ANYTHING. We had multiple snow storms and also an ice storm. One snow storm, the snow was up to my hip. I don't have any kids, but my sister tried to take my nephews out to play in the snow as much as she could, but the fogginess and WORST AIR QUALITY IN THE COUNTRY made it difficult. I haven't gone outside much this winter. Needless to say, I can't wait for summer where I can lay on my front lawn with a copy of Cosmo and some lemonade.

Miri said...

Iam from Germany and i always thought that it is a common thing worlwide to take your kids for a walk every day (no matter how the weather is) and not to spend the whole day inside the house. Is it really something "special" in the US? Iam really curious?

Gunnhildur Ólafsdóttir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorothy DeMaria said...

A snowy day or night in New York is magical, add some little ones to enjoy it with and it's heaven

Lisa said...

I grew up in Maine and my children in Maine and Vermont and we have heard that quote all along here, in Vermont, there is no bad weather, just inadequate clothing. Try wool liners in your boots and for the children Ruskavilla makes lovely layers as wells as balaclavas and socks. My son spent two semesters entirely outdoors and wore WoolPower for the New Hampshire/Vermont Semester. Good rain gear too, rain bibs for adult and child makes all the difference. Happy outdoor~ing!

Lisa said...

Yes to what Dorothy said and stars too, so magical and fireflies. The outdoors always soothed my children.

Stephanie said...

I don't have kids of my own yet but when I was a nanny in Chicago, I took the kids out for a little while everyday - even in mid-January when it was well below freezing and, for some, miserable. I'd bundle them up in their little snowsuits and waterproof boots and we'd go out to the park for a little while. Sometimes if the weather was particularly dreary, we'd just go for a short walk instead but I made it a point to get them outside for at least a little fresh air everyday. They loved it, and so did I! You can only spend so much time indoors during the winter before cabin fever sets in for everyone!

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 308 of 308   Newer› Newest»
Site design by Apartment One
Federated Media Publishing - Style