Winter is that time of year where sometimes it is hard to get outside. At least for us. Some winter days can be -15 below zero in this part of Alaska. Go a few hours north, and you can have days and weeks where it stays around -40 below zero. At those temperatures, it is sometimes best to stay inside. But it’s also hard to get outside even when it is around the 0* to 15* mark. Then there is break up season in Alaska, where all the snow melts and everything is a soupy, muddy, smelly mess. Sometimes it is really hard to get outside then, too. But something that Alaska has taught me is that it is important to get outside no matter the weather. Especially if you have kids.
So What Do You Do?
So what do you do when your 6, 3, and 2 year old children are running around crazy and it’s freezing cold outside? Well…You go outside no matter the weather. And I know that over-simplifies things, but that is really the key step. If you decide that that is your goal and are committed to it, that is the most important thing. The rest are details, and you will find ways to make it happen as you reach for your goal.
It’s easy to want to save money on gear and get lower quality items. Been there, done that. And when we lived in Virginia Beach, it actually worked out pretty well. But then we moved to Alaska. If you live in a harsher climate please trust me when I say get quality gear. If you don’t, you’ll end up buying twice. Once for the lower quality gear. And again to replace all those items that simply didn’t work. (Been there, done that too.) You need the gear to make outdoors time pleasant and enjoyable so that you keep getting outside. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself slowly letting time pass you by indoors instead of being outside no matter the weather.
If you are wondering how to handle the expense, here are a few ways to keep it reasonable for your family. Watch Facebook sales pages or shop the thrift or consignment sales. I’ve had wonderful success with the Bella Kids Alaska sale (as both a shopper and a seller!). Ask friends if you can buy their hand-me-downs. If you can’t find used gear, then buy new gear…but buy it a little big. Almost all outdoor gear will work a little big, and if you can get two seasons out of it, it really helps. Furthermore, if you have both boys and girls, be sure that you buy gear in colors that all of them can use. This reduces the amount of gear you have to purchase over time. Some of our favorite brands are:
- Jan & Jul
Set Realistic Expectations
Realistic expectations for getting outside no matter the weather are huge. These expectations include understanding that even with good gear, if the temperatures are really low or the weather is exceptionally soggy, you might not be outside for long. But getting outside for any amount of time is still a win. Furthermore, set expectations for your children. It is important for them to know that outside time is just part of life. Once that is established, they’ll understand that outside time is just part of a normal day. It’s likely they will even ASK for it!
Understand the Limits
Yes, there are certain days that it won’t go perfectly smoothly. There will be days that the kids cannot stay out long. Some temperatures are just really cold. And sometimes that is okay. There are limits for everything and it is important to realize that and offer grace to yourself and your family. Relax, have fun, and get outside as often as you can. If you have a goal of getting outside no matter the weather, your life will be enhanced. If you cannot get outside, maybe crack a window for 15 minutes. But don’t make it overly stressful on yourself either. Life is to be enjoyed. And that’s the most important part. What are your best tips for getting outside no matter the weather? Leave a comment below!