Sometimes I wonder how it can be that in a country like ours, in southern Europe, where the temperature is good for much of the year, children go out less than in the Nordic countries. Especially when it rains or is cold … the streets are deserted as children. And, although it seems contradictory or strange … I think that is precisely the crux of the matter, we are used to good weather and as soon as 4 drops fall we lock ourselves at home.
50% of my DNA is Dutch and I have been able to verify that in that country, Holland, children spend much more time abroad than here. They use less cars, they always ride their bikes even when it rains, they play in the parks whether they are wet, dry, hot or cold … it is simply a matter of being dressed appropriately and putting the fears of colds aside (I’ll tell you why later ).
You may think, especially if you live in areas with little rain in the Peninsula, that why are children going to go out when it rains or it is very cold, totally, it is only a few days a year, they will come out when it is sunny. But I sincerely believe that it is important that they go outside no matter what the weather is like, it makes them more resilient and adaptable to changes in life . “ Wow, is it raining today? Yeah, well, it’s raining, we can jump in puddles, paint with mud, wet our faces with rainwater… “. Children thus learn to see the positive side of changes in situations , in this case, the positive side of inclement weather.
BUT WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GOING OUTSIDE WHEN IT’S RAIN OR COLD?
- GIVE CHILDREN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SELF-REGULATE. Encouraging children to play outside at any time of year allows the little ones to feel the cold and heat, assess whether they are too warm or too little, thus learning to dress themselves for each season.
Also, I recently read (I don’t remember where, I am very sorry) that when it rains it is important not to immediately tell the children “take the umbrella to go out”. Announcing that it rains is enough. They will think, then, that they need an umbrella, a raincoat, boots … If they decide to go out with nothing, they will probably find that they are getting wet and will go back to look for what they need. It is a way of enhancing their autonomy and giving them the opportunity to start taking care of themselves .
- CHILDREN BECOME MORE ADAPTABLE AND RESILIENT. Studies that have assessed learning in forest schools conclude that the fact that children spend a large part of the day outdoors, regardless of the weather conditions, makes them more resilient and better adapt to changes in weather. life, as they learn to play and develop although external conditions are changing. You can read more about it hereand here.
- PROMOTE CREATIVITY. On a rainy day you can do different things and the usual things can be done differently. It is better to draw with logs on a wet earth floor than on a dry one, for example.
And what about the snow? How many things can be done with it? You can build snowmen, igloos … And what sensations does it offer? That is something no child can miss!
- BETTER APPRECIATE CHANGES IN SEASONS. Lately there is a legion of children who go from home to school, from school to extracurricular and from there to home again. They have barely stepped onto the street and looked up at the sky. They live the changes of the seasons through the typical clichés that are transmitted in the school or in the decoration of the establishments … but do they really observe what happens out there?
There are a lot of questions to ask yourself outdoors, to learn about the seasons. For instance:
Are there only brown leaves in autumn? Or are there still green pines?
How do animals survive winter? What do they eat? Are there any who sleep until spring?
Is it always cold in winter or can a warm sun come out at noon?
At what time of year do you wear rain boots the most?
- YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS STRENGTHENED AND PROTECTED FROM VIRUSES. Did you know that cold does not really make you sick? Precisely one of the reasons that makes children sicker in winter is the fact that they are locked up for a long time with other children in closed spaces with less ventilation than in summer. It is a great breeding ground for the spread of viruses. I link you here an article from the Babies and More blog that talks especially about the cold and children.
Being cold can certainly lower our defenses and then we are more vulnerable to viruses, but if we go outside in winter well wrapped up there is no need to fear (I speak of healthy children and as a general rule). I will explain to you shortly how we dress at home to play in the rain or in the cold.
- POWER THAT CHILDREN EXERCISE. This helps them sleep better, reduces childhood obesity and improves the immune system. What more could you want?
In summary, taking advantage of the opportunity offered by the changes of seasons to encourage our children to go outside and learn to adapt to them is a great idea. The little ones will be more resilient and positive in life. In addition, we live in a wonderful country, without the really dangerous cold that can be seen in other parts of the planet, but not even if that was the case … “ children grow up healthy around the world, they live in the North Pole, they live in the desert or in the tropics , and they do it beautifully, ”says Andrew McMartin of Wildearth.org . It is about learning to value each situation and dress appropriately.
I hope you dare to go out with your little ones whether it is cold or rainy and not for any of the 6 above reasons, but for another more important one: you will strengthen ties by jumping together the biggest puddles you can find! Do you dare to wear rain boots again?