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#1 Keep them comfortable
The saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing is true but in this case the responsibility falls on the parent for ensuring their children are dressed properly. This especially goes for the little ones who don’t have the communication skills to let you know exactly what is happening. For instance, when our 3.5 year old wanted to go home after two ski runs she was being generally fussy but couldn’t say why she didn’t want to ski (as much as she usually wants to ski). Once home with her boots off she told me that the skin on her feet was “crinkled”. I took at closer look at how quickly her feet grown recently and we went right out to find bigger ski boots. Then to keep the momentum, we got back out on the mountain for two more runs before the lifts closed so we could test her new gear and make sure we had solved the problem.
#2 Take breaks: This is the time for hot cocoa!
Kids need a lot of snacks to keep their energy up when they are out there and while I believe that sweets should be used in absolute moderation, it’s not the end of the world to take breaks for things like hot chocolate because the child can get the quick rest and re-warm that they might need while boosting their blood sugar. Maybe pull that PB&J out of your pocket and insist the child eats it while they wait for their yummy drink to cool down.
#3 Stay creative
It’s amazing to give birth to our own best teachers and one of my favorite parts of being a parent is the way that our kids constantly fire up my own creativity. Does your girl want to wear a tutu over her one-piece ski suit? Why not? Ski fast away from a monster? Have a dinosaur hunt through the trees? For sure!
#4 Involve Community
Kids love to play with their friends so find ways to involve other young people in your snow sports and the fun factor will likely ramp way up. As adults we often find inspiration in ‘getting out there’ by making plans to meet up with our friends. It’s the same for kids. If you are going to a resort where your usual friends are not also visiting, you can look for local snow sculpture castles or other places in the community where children gather and can meet one another like the playgrounds we all frequent in the sunny summer months.
#5 Offer Options
We parents walk a fine line between doing things the way we want them done (i.e. “You are going to ski school today. Period.”) vs. allowing our children to decide what they want to do with their time. Of course we are talking about an ages old parenting style discussion yet if we remember what our goals are (which in this case are to foster a love for the outdoors in winter) then consider presenting some choices to reach your goal. If a child, for instance, doesn’t want to ski or snowboard that day they still may want to get outside by making a snowman, throwing snowballs at a safe target, making angels in the snow, playing a game of tracking animals in the snow or creating a delicious treat of clean snow and honey or maple