I’ve never been a huge fan of winter. Don’t get me wrong, I think that first snow fall is beautiful, I love the holidays, and wearing cute boots and scarves is nice…for a little while.
However, come February I’ve just about had it with the frigid cold weather. When you have a toddler, winter becomes even more challenging. The weather tends to keep you from going outside way more than is tolerable.
Even when it does allow for outdoor play, it seems it takes more time getting both of you bundled up enough to withstand the cold, than time actually spent outside because your little two foot tall bundle can barely move in a coat, scarf, snowsuit, etc. See example below.
I could go on, but you already know how it is or you probably wouldn’t be here! So in hopes of making things a little easier on us all i’m sharing with you my tips and tricks on surviving winter with a toddler. Enjoy!
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1.) Go to playgroups and local events!
We go to playgroups all year round but they have been more of a godsend this winter when I have just completely run out of ways to keep Alexa busy inside.
We go to one at the library on Tuesdays and Fridays, and one at the church on Thursdays. It is so good for our little ones development to be able to play with other kids and it’s even great for me too because I get to have some adult time chatting with other moms.
I used the website Macaroni Kid to find the playgroups near us and I really like it because it also shows you all kid friendly events in your area. On it we found out that once a month our local YMCA opens up the gymnastics room for an hour, free admission, no membership needed. Check out what your community has to offer!
2.) Get outside!
You can’t stay inside all winter long, you and your little one will go crazy. I pay attention to the weather a lot more during the winter so I can plan our week.
Alexa is happier and naps better when she gets time to play outside so if it’s going to be warmer on a day I usually go grocery shopping I’ll postpone that and take her outside instead.
If you’re having trouble deciding how cold is “too cold” follow this chart to ease your mind.
Alexa loves going for a walk in her stroller, even if it’s doing figure eights in the driveway or going up and down our street, wherever there is no snow and ice will work.
I like this stroller, it’s meant for jogging but you can walk with it too. I like it because it has three wheels which I think is why it pushes so well.
I have a jogger stroller and I love it but sometimes it easier using one of these smaller lightweight strollers because they’re easier to get in and out of the car and they’re cheaper.
Another one of Alexa’s favorite outside activities is sledding! She loves her little red sled my mom got her for Christmas. We started using it before we even got snow! I like it because it has a little seat, a buckle to keep her in it, and a string so I can pull her around the yard and down little hills.
She has a great time, never wants to stop, and i’d like to think towing her all around and up hills keeps me in shape too!
3.) Get Creative!
Sometimes no matter how much you’d like to be outside the weather keeps you in, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to have a bad day. There is a lot of things to do inside!
One activity that keeps Alexa busy is a bowl full of uncooked macaroni, throw in a few toys and spoons and she’s usually set for about 20 minutes while I get some dishes done. Just remember this is a supervised activity, always watch your child with small parts (macaroni) because they can choke.
Another fun one I found on Pinterest a while back was colorful spaghetti. I skipped doing dishes with this one and played right along with her. I love sensory activities!
For this one, you cook a box of spaghetti, rinse with cold water and then section it into bags. So if you want 3 different colors, separate the spaghetti into three different bags. Once in the bag add about a tbs. of water and a few drops of food coloring and work it into the spaghetti. Do that to all the bags and then add them all to a big bowl and enjoy! Super messy but sooo fun!
Pinterest is always great for when you need some inspiration. I get a lot of Alexa’s activities there by just searching activities for 15 month old (or however old your little one is).
4.) Toy Rotation!
Have you ever noticed that your little one is crazy about a new toy when they first get it and you think, “Yes, they’ll play with that forever and I’ll have time to get something done” and that works for a little while but soon they get bored and almost never play with it again?
Instead of buying new toys to keep them busy try doing a toy rotation. Alexa has a lot of toys but I don’t keep them all out for her to play with. Instead I only keep about 5 out and when I notice she’s getting bored with them I switch them out with another set of 5 toys. Since she hasn’t seem those toys in so long she’s happy to play with them again and this mommy gets more time for her money!
It’s too cold to go outside, your kiddo has played with every toy in your rotation and just wants to be with you, but you’re drowning in housework, sound familiar? I know this struggle, but here’s how you win, let your little one help. Yes, I know, they’re no good at folding laundry. The trick is to make them think they’re helping you.
When I need to do dishes I ask Alexa to help me, I give her a bowl with a few dishes and a wet sponge and show her what to do. Toddlers love to do what you are doing, or at least think they are. When I need to fold laundry I fold mine and Devin’s clothes and give Alexa’s clothes to her. She has her own basket and knows it is hers. Sometimes she’ll go put her clothes in her basket, and sometimes she walks around the house with them on her head, either way it’s a win win!
We got this cleaning set for Alexa for Christmas and it has been great. I use to only be able to do deep cleaning when she would nap but now she can sweep, mop, and dust right along with mommy.
I’m hoping to get her this kids vacuum soon too, it’s like a realistic vacuum. She has a little Minnie mouse one, which is cute, but I find she’d rather play with my things, so when I get her things that look like the real thing she’s more likely to play with them.
There you have it you guys! Winter is tough but that is how we’ve been getting through it. Do you have a toddler? How are you handling this winter? Let me know in the comments!