As the cold season sweeps across Kenya and a possibly looming El Nino strikes, keeping your family warm and healthy becomes a top priority. From ensuring everyone stays warm to finding indoor activities that keep the kids engaged, it’s a period that requires some planning and creativity. This guide offers practical tips for your family to beat the cold, ensuring health, happiness, and togetherness during the cooler months.
Keeping Warm: Layering and Home Insulation
Layering is the key to staying warm. You’re already off to a good start if your family is wearing numerous layers of clothing, which traps body heat more effectively. Choose materials like wool and fleece that provide exceptional warmth without being uncomfortable or heavy. Have a fleece blanket in the van for stopovers and car naps. And don’t forget about accessories like gloves, hats, and scarves. Even when we are warm, contact areas make us susceptible to colds, so be cautious.
At home, prioritize insulation. Any drafts surrounding windows and doors should be sealed. In areas with cold tiles, such as bathrooms, use rugs on bare floors to increase insulation. These tiny improvements can make a big impact in keeping your house warm and lowering your heating bills.
Think of simmering pots of soups and stews, brimming with a variety of colourful vegetables like carrots, potatoes, spinach, and beans. These dishes are not just comforting during the cold weather but are also packed with vitamins and minerals, essential for bolstering the immune system against seasonal ailments.
By involving our children in the culinary process, we can turn dinner preparation into a fun and informative family activity. It’s a great method to teach children about nutrition and cooking. They can, for example, assist with washing and peeling vegetables, stirring the pot under supervision, or preparing the table. This involvement not only strengthens family bonds but also promotes healthy eating habits in children as they grow and move away from where we can observe them. Knowing they can take care of themselves nutritionally can give you peace of mind even when they are away.
Staying hydrated is equally important during this cold season. While cold water might not be appealing, warm beverages can be a delightful alternative. Herbal teas, with their myriad of flavours and health benefits, provide a soothing and aromatic way to stay hydrated. Options like chamomile can promote relaxation, while peppermint can invigorate the senses. For a sweeter treat, hot cocoa, preferably with a lower sugar content, can be a delightful and comforting drink, especially when enjoyed with a dash of cinnamon or a swirl of whipped cream.
Together, these nutritional strategies not only cater to the body’s needs during extreme cold but also bring warmth and joy to the family table, creating a sense of togetherness and well-being.
Indoor Activities for Kids
Prolonged rainy days and cold days can lead to cabin fever, especially for children who love to ride bikes and hang out with their friends now that school is closed. Keep them entertained with a range of indoor activities. Arts and crafts that, according to CBC, are fundamental to the growth of kids, from board games, which are both fun and brain empowering to baking, are great ways to spend time together. Reading and storytelling can also be cosy ways to enjoy the indoors or family movie nights.
Physical Activity Indoors
Staying active is crucial, especially in this weather. Ever notice how your cold gets worse if you stay slumped in bed? Indoor activities like yoga, dancing, or simple exercises can keep the family fit and healthy. For those with access, indoor swimming pools or sports facilities offer a great way to stay active while also keeping the whole family fit. Home trainers are the modern way to make sure you stay fit, active, and healthy while staying safe and warm.
Health and Wellness
The cold can take a toll on both the family’s physical and mental health. Ensure your family gets enough vitamin D, which can be achieved through a well-balanced diet rich in vitamin D sources or through supplements. This vitamin is vital for maintaining healthy bones and immune function, as well as practicing good hygiene to prevent colds and flu. Additionally, be mindful of mental health. The shorter days can affect mood, so try to maintain a routine that includes exposure to natural light. Helping children with their holiday homework, staying on top of work commitments, and taking leisurely walks around the neighborhood on clear days can greatly benefit mental health. These varied and engaging activities help to keep the mind active and healthy, warding off the cold blues. By embracing such diverse routines, you can maintain a sense of normalcy and mental clarity throughout the winter season.
The winter season is ideal for strengthening family ties. Participate in activities that foster closeness, such as movie nights, storytelling, or music making. It’s also a good opportunity to engage with others in the community, whether through virtual activities or physically separated meetups.
Beating the cold is about more than just staying warm; it’s about embracing the season and making the most of it as a family. With the right approach, this cold season can be a time of health, happiness, and memorable family moments. Remember to adapt these tips to your family’s unique needs and preferences, making this cold season a joyful and comfortable one for your entire household.
Remember to share with family and friends so they can stay warm and healthy too!