Your Fool-Proof Guide To Getting Your Family Out the Door This Winter (without all the hassle and sweat!)

It’s beautiful out- the sun is finally shining for once and, with the gleam of the sunshine reflected off the freshly fallen snow, you’re just aching to get out and have some fun with the kids.  You envision the joy on their faces as they slide down the snow-covered hills or stick their sweet little tongues out to catch snowflakes.  You look forward to the sound of their full belly laughs as they chase one another around with snowballs and the calm that comes with returning home to wind down after an amazing day of wintery fun.  You know that it is an outing filled with untapped potential because, well you’ve experienced it at its best.  But there’s only one problem… getting your family out the door.

Get ready moms and dads for the full-body workout that is getting the kids together, prepared, bundled up, and, at long last, finally being able to step foot out the door! It is not an exercise for the faint of heart.  There is often fighting, complaining and various levels of toddling/ running off involved before you can really experience the bliss and comfort that comes with knowing that you are finally ready to go!

Here is our fool-proof guide to getting out the door in one piece with minimal sweat and hassle:

Plan ahead.

Check the weather at the beginning of the week and plan your outings based on the forecast that works best for your family.  Any time you have a big outing planned it’s a great idea to get everything together in a central location in advance, maybe the night before or early in the morning before the kids wake up- that way everything is together and ready to go when the bundling up fun begins.  If possible, make separate piles for each child in order to avoid getting everyone’s gear mixed up and confused.  If you are planning an outing that involves driving, it’s also a great idea to pack the car up well beforehand.

Bathroom before you go.

Make sure you get fresh diapers and bathroom trips out of the way before you start layering up.  The last thing you need to worry about during the arduous process of layering everyone up is having to undo it and do it all over again.  Plus, there’s nothing worse than hearing, “I have to go potty,” as soon as everyone is ready to go and you have finally made it through the threshold and out the door.

Practice makes perfect.

Work on teaching older children skills such as getting on snowsuits, boots, gloves, and jackets so that the task isn’t so daunting when the time comes to get everyone ready to go outside.  If your children are old enough- it would be great to teach and task them with helping younger children to get ready as well, this will instill a sense of purpose and responsibility in them as well as increase productivity.

Layering is key. 

It’s a great time-saver to stack inside and outside layers before pulling everything on.  Also, mapping out an order in your head (or on paper even) before you begin is a great idea in order to avoid having to undo and redo the process all over again.  This may vary depending on the child and the gear.  For instance, I find that my older daughter hates having her gloves on before her coat because they get bunched and pushed up too high, so I intentionally leave her gloves for last.  Knowing these kinds of things and being prepared ahead of time will lessen the hassle substantially.

Stagger bundle. 

If you work to get everyone ready a little bit at a time then you will be less likely to have one person waiting around sweating indoors while everyone else is still getting ready to go.  Depending on the length of the process, it might also be a good idea to have toys, books, or snacks around that are of interest in order to keep the attention of anyone waiting their turn.  I know that, for my toddler, any moment she’s not being kept busy is likely a moment she spends running away from me while I’m trying to get us all ready.  For new walkers, it’s also a good idea to get boots on as soon as possible to avoid having them running around in socks and possibly slipping (particularly if you have hard floors).

Don’t let the process ruin the fun!

Make conversation about what everyone might like to do once you get outside while you are getting ready.  Keeping conversation light and fun will help keep spirits high and avoid stressful fighting and arguing.  It’s also good practice to build up older children who are working hard to get themselves ready to go so that they feel encouraged and appreciated.  If your family enjoys music- perhaps there are some calming songs that you could play to help the process be more enjoyable all around (calm instrumental music, for instance).

Don’t Get Discouraged.

Remember that getting out of the house all together is a win no matter how long the process seems to take.  It can be really hard to get everyone ready and out the door but I bet that once you’ve done it you’ll be really glad that you did! 

Happy winter adventures everyone!

 

Hike it Baby works to be the most effective hub of tools, information, and community inspiring all families with babies and young children to get outside and connect with nature. Learn more about Hike it Baby’s mission and how you can get involved.

Be sure to join the Hike it Baby Community Facebook Group. It’s a great place to ask questions, learn from others, and share your family camping and other outdoor adventures!
Photos courtesy of Michelle Pearl Gee.
About Hike it Baby

Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that works to create a world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside. We are focused on creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. We believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors, and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. Since its grassroots inception in 2013, Hike it Baby is a growing community of 270,000 families and over 400 volunteer Branch Ambassadors. More information, as well as outdoor engagement events, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

 

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