Winter is approaching faster than you think. Before you know it, the kids will be outside building snowmen, sledding down the slippery hills and having snowball fights with the neighbors. But with fun winter activities comes cold weather conditions and the inclination to get sick.
While your kids will spend some time outside this winter, you'll all be cooped up inside more often, snowed in from the season's many blizzards and other harsh conditions. So why not take this opportunity to teach them healthy winter habits? Not only is it a chance to keep them safe and well, but it's also a fun way to spend time together and take a break from the outside world.
Here are a few healthy habits to teach your children this upcoming winter:
1. Wash Your Hands Often
The amount of germs that exist on your hands is substantial; just think about everything you touch throughout the day! Teach your children the importance of washing their hands after using the restroom, before and after eating a meal or snack and when they're finished playing outside in the snow. Hand washing is a simple yet effective way to reduce the risk of catching a cold. It's worth telling them to avoid reaching for surfaces and then touching their mouth, ears and faces to avoid the spread of germs.
2. Follow a Regular Sleep Schedule
Getting enough rest every night is critical for everyone, but it's especially important for your kids. Following a normal sleep schedule aids mental and physical development for babies, children and teens and ensures they're at their absolute best to conquer the day, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Adults can get away with seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but your kids need more time to rest. Make sure they're following a regular sleep schedule based on the recommendations provided by the NSF:
Toddlers (aged 1 to 2 years) – 11 to 14 hours.
Preschoolers (aged 3 to 5 years) – 10 to 13 hours.
School-aged children (aged 6 to 13 years) – 9 to 11 hours.
Teenagers (14 to 17 years ) – 8 to 10 hours.
3. Bundle up Before Heading Outside
This may be an obvious one, but it's worth the mention. Don't let your children go outside in the frigid temperatures – whether they're off to play in the snow or headed to school – without bundling up in warm clothing. Crisp conditions can cause a cold or frostbite, which can ultimately lead to greater health concerns. Make sure your children are bundled from head to toe with coats, scarves, hats, mittens and gloves, especially if they're going to be outside for an extended period of time.
4. Take a Break from Technology
Beyond practicing and encouraging cold prevention habits, take some time this winter to teach your kids the importance of family bonding! During the next snow day or weekend with a blizzard in the forecast, inspire the kids to take a break from technology. Unplugging is an effective way to reconnect with your kids, and this season is the perfect opportunity to make it happen. Bring out the old board games, get crafty or make dinner and snacks together while you're snowed in. These activities are simple ways to remind them of the importance of spending time with family, and that technology isn't everything!
5. Keep Moving
Just because it's freezing outside doesn't mean the kids should sit around and be lazy all winter. Exercise is key to healthy aging, and it's important for them to learn that fact early! Head to the biggest hill in the neighborhood to go sledding, find the nearest ice rink and go ice skating or start searching for a fun indoor sport the kids can play until spring rolls around.
6. Make Healthy Meals
Washing those hands, sleeping well and exercising can surely keep your kids healthy during the winter, but so will a nutritious diet! Invite your children into the kitchen to create some delicious plant-based meals we've created that are inspired by God's Original Diet. A primarily raw, plant-based eating regimen like the Hallelujah Diet is loaded with vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can boost the immune system, ward away chronic conditions and minor illnesses and promote overall longevity. Teaching your kids healthy eating habits early will prepare them for the future, where they're bound to come in contact with harmful foods from the Standard American Diet.
Looking for breakfast, lunch and dinner inspiration? Search through our database of recipes to find a few new meals to make with the kids this winter. It's never to early to show them how delicious and nutritious a plant-based diet can be!