The hardest part about outdoor winter fun is that it can take almost as long to get ready as it does to actually play outside. Sometimes longer. Getting out the door quickly doesn’t always happen with kids, especially when you factor in drives. In fact, it’s one of the top problems local moms listed in a recent, super informal poll we did on Facebook.
Although we can’t replace the stubborn kid factor, we can make it easier for you to get out the door quickly with these tips.
- Get organized. Give each person—kid and adult alike—a designated hook and bin near a door. You can get super fancy and go Pinterest wild with some of these ideas. Or you literally use a hook and cloth bin. Find something that works for you, your ability to look at controlled chaos, and makes everything easily accessible.
- Teach your system to your family. Hang up everyone’s coat and snow pants and let them know that’s where they go. Boots go underneath the outerwear. Then the hat + gloves go in the bin, or, if you’re my family, a drawer. If it helps, give a reward to everyone who remembers to put their stuff back where it goes.
- Practice getting ready. If it sounds ridiculous, it will feel ridiculous, too. The idea is that everyone gets a chance to practice getting their gear on, in the right order. Make a race out of it, then go do something fun outside. The winner gets an extra sticker, the first hot cocoa, or whatever your family does. You also win by getting out the door in record speed.
- Keep a bin in the car. Keep a bin with extra stuff in the back of your car. It’s a good idea for living in winter climates anyway because you never know. If you can keep extra hats, mittens, and hand warmers, plus a few emergency snacks, you’ll be a happy camper. Because at least once a month someone loses a mitten between the house and the car. That way, you don’t have to give up the whole outing. It’s a good idea to keep a change of clothes and extra diapers here, too. Because kids.
- Store non-wearables in one place. Whether you’re into cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, or simply like to tow kids around in a sled, keep your gear handy. Sleds and trekking poles can be a great way to keep those kiddos moving forward on a winter walk. Poles are infinitely more interesting than plain old walking. And sleds are great to tow when walking of any kind is pooh-poohed.
- The car seat factor and the foolproof workaround. So this is a big one. I definitely get it. We’re not supposed to gear up our kids and then strap them into a car seat. It’s a big safety no-no. What can you do? Believe it or not, you can still get everyone’s snow pants and boots on. That’s the hardest part after all.
Here’s the trick: don’t pull the snow pants all the way up. Or at least, pull the snow pants down around their ankles before buckling them in, so that the outerwear doesn’t affect the way the harness buckles.
Once you have mastered getting out the door, the only two things left to master are the art of layering and getting your kids to stop asking for snacks every 30 seconds. If you need tips on how to best layer for winter fun, then check out this recent post. (I’m not any help on the snacking part, but we’re usually good about getting out the door quickly.)
Have some tips and tricks you love? Leave them in the comments!