When my parents told me we were moving to Canada, I remember being so excited to see snow for the first time. I couldn’t wait to make a snowman like the ones I had seen in the movies. You can imagine my disappointment when I looked out the plane window and didn’t see any snow anywhere. I was sad – but not for long! Three days after arriving in Canada, I woke up to see a white blanket of snow covering the ground! “Finally!” I thought.
Although my brother, sister and I were thrilled with this new snowfall, my mother did not share in our excitement. She was very reluctant to let my siblings and I play in the snow. Since we were from a country that is normally quite hot, this was the first time that we had ever experienced such cold weather conditions. My mother was worried that we would catch a cold or get a fever. It took four days of pleading with her until she finally gave in and let us go outside. Before we left the house she made us double up on everything: two pairs of socks, two sweaters, two scarves – we could barely move! She let us play outside for thirty minutes that day which was a big deal for us.
I realize now that my first experience of winter in Canada is shared by other families. Like mine, many families have never experienced winter or seen snow before. They may not be comfortable letting their kids play outside in the winter. But there are so many benefits to getting outside, some of which include:
- helping to strengthen your immune system
- encouraging physical activity through active play
- helping to break up the winter blahs.
It has taken a while for my family to get used to the different seasons in Canada, especially winter. However we have learned a few ways to embrace the cold. Here are some ideas to help your family stay active this winter:
- Bundle them up and head outdoors. Children tend to be more active when they are outside. Some good winter fun can include tobogganing, skating, skiing, hiking, building snow people and snow castles.
- Go on Family Excursions. Halton Region has many outdoor places to enjoy, including many Conservation Areas and hiking trails or check out your local arenas for family skate times
- Try new activities: This winter bucket list has great ideas on how to enjoy the season.
The most important thing I learned when I moved to Canada is to get outside and enjoy the winter. What are your favourite activities to do outdoors?
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this guest blogger:
Julliet Ologunagba: Julliet is a 4th year nursing student at McMaster University.