It’s cold, it’s dark and you just want to snuggle up with a nice cup of tea. But… oh. Your small person wants to go out. Here’s how to make the best of it…
Whether you have a baby, a toddler or both, we’ve got some top tips on how to brave the outdoors.
There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing
Or so the Norwegians say. Be prepared. Ensure you have enough layers to keep everybody warm and dry, whatever the weather might throw at you.
A good rule of thumb for babies is to dress them with one layer of clothing more than you’re wearing (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016). For example, if you’re in a shirt, sweater and coat, give your baby a vest, sleepsuit, cardigan and coat (plus hat and gloves, as needed).
If you have an always-on-the-move toddler, it’s good to take them outside to let off steam every now and then. Even if the weather is miserable.
Some waterproof trousers or an all in one ‘puddle suit’, plus wellies, will see you through all sorts of bad weather. They can be expensive, so see what you can pick up second hand from a charity shop or your local NCT Nearly New Sale.
Go on a treasure hunt
Once you’re kitted out, take your toddler on a treasure hunt. ‘Treasure’ can be fallen leaves, sticks, acorns and pine cones. Your toddler will delight in the challenge of seeking out these items and ticking them off a checklist.
Use what you find to make a collage once you get home. Smaller babies can get involved on a sensory level, crunching leaves between their fingers. Just be careful of things going in mouths.
The park is always open
A soggy, wet swing or slide may not appeal to you but your little one won’t care. Why not throw a towel in the bottom of your buggy and wipe things down to prevent wet bottoms. You’ll likely have the run of the place so enjoy not having to queue.
And (dare we say it) encourage them to splash in puddles along the way. A ready-made sensory overload, that’ll no doubt induce shrieks of delight.
If you can, you could go indoors (while outdoors) for some respite to escape from bitter weather.
Use your local library as a sanctuary on a rainy or cold day. Snuggle up with your baby or toddler and some books. You can always check out whether they’re running any baby or toddler rhyme time sessions. Some libraries also have ‘toy libraries’, which are great for trying out different toys without having to pay for them.
A soft play cafe is a great bet, too. Many parents we speak to couldn’t get through rainy days without them. Try arriving an hour before closing time for a discounted rate, to keep the cost at bay.
And treat yourself too. A steamy cafe window and a toddler drawing faces on it will go a long way to keep them amused.
If you really can’t face the weather, read our article on indoor winter activities here.
Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.
We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.
You might find attending one of NCT's Early Days groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area. To find out when an NCT Nearly New Sale is happening near you, search here.
You can find out where your nearest libraries are here.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.
Be sure to check out our award-winning Babychange App to help you find your closest changing facilities.
American Academy of Pediatrics (2016) Tips for dressing your baby. Available from: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/Pages/Dressing-Your-Newborn.aspx [Accessed 5 Nov 2018]