Winter Activities The Whole Family Can Enjoy

Slip and Fall Lawyer Newark, NJThere is nothing quite like being able to experience all four seasons throughout a year. Each season brings its own change in temperature, scenery, and weather. There are the fresh rain and new growth of spring, the warmth and sun of summer, the brisk air and colorful leaves of autumn and the chill of a fresh snowfall in the winter.

In accordance with the weather, the varying seasons throughout the year also come with many changes in dress and activities that can be done. For instance, spring and summer make it much easier to wear shorts and skirts and tank tops and t-shirts. Meanwhile, the cool air of autumn means long-sleeved shirts and pants and bringing out the jackets.

When winter finally approaches out comes the wool hats, gloves, winter jackets, and boots. As far as activities go, it is much easier to get up and go do something outside during the spring and summer. The warm weather means trips to the beach, playing sports outside or even leisure activities like a day out on the boat or a picnic in the park.

The cool weather of the fall is even a time when many people are outside enjoying the last of the nice weather. Football is in full swing and a walk around the block exploring the changing colors of the leaves on the trees is always a fun activity.

But then comes winter. Temperatures drop below 32 degrees and wind tends to pick up, making it quite cold outside. Add on the troubles of a heavy snowfall or wintry mix and venturing outside for fun is not something many think about doing.

But here’s the thing: just because winter is cold and windy does not mean there aren’t activities you and your family can do together. There are plenty of cold weather activities to do outside and a handful of great ones to do inside as well.

The National Debt Relief highlights a handful of great outdoor activities in an article online. Their top choice and one many choose to do when the first snowfall hits, is going snow tubing and/or sledding.

The great thing about tubing and sledding is that they are inexpensive activities that can be done wherever there is a hill. Snow tubes can be found online or in a store and sleds can be anything from what you buy in the store to a plastic bag. Make sure to dress warm and in layers and do not forget to invite your friends.

Even less expensive than sledding since it requires only snow is a snowball fight. A fun, playful snowball fight with the family is a great way to get in some exercise while enjoying the fresh snow. You can then take a break from the snowball fight and work on building a snowman or igloo. Top it off with some quality snow angels and you have a solid day of fun in the snow completed.

If your budget allows, taking a family trip to go skiing and/or snowboarding is another great winter activity to partake in. Many lodges offer accommodations and rentals in a package deal, making it easy to just wake up and hit the slopes.

Many ski and snow resorts even offer lessons for those with little to zero experience in the sports. And while some may be worried about injuries, there are always other activities to partake in like cross-country skiing or snow tubing. Snow tubing at a ski and snowboard resort is a bit more organized than in your backyard and usually involves pre-made tracks and hills to tube down.

Outside of the snow-related activities, there are plenty of outdoor activities to do in the winter. An extremely popular activity is ice skating. Outdoor ice rinks tend to pop up in the winter and if not outside, there are plenty of ice rinks around that offer indoor skating.

Ice skate rentals and admission onto a rink are relatively cheap, making it an affordable activity for a family. It is also always better to do your skating on a formalized rink as opposed to finding a frozen pond or body of water. You never know just when that ice may give out.

On an even more relaxed level, a great outdoor activity in the winter is taking a walk and viewing holiday lights. The winter brings many different holidays and with those holidays come many different decorations.

Some towns even hold storefront decoration contests, making it the perfect place to stroll through. After a fresh snowfall, lights tend to sparkle a bit brighter so that is the ideal time to take a walk and take in the sights. Keep in mind though, that sidewalks can be slippery or slick, so take care when walking with the family to avoid a slip and fall. Enjoy the evening and cap it off with some hot cocoa at a local cafe.

Sometimes the cold weather and inclement weather might mean outdoor activities are a no go, but that doesn’t mean the family fun has to stop. There are plenty of indoor activities worth doing as a family, especially beside a warm fire.

An article from VivaReston Magazine points out just how much fun board games can be on a snowy, cold night. The article says, “games are a fun way to test your trivia, acting, artistic and even strategic skills.” Games are a great way to involve everyone in the family and last long enough for some fun, quality time with each other.

Other indoor activities can include checking out a show at the local theater if travel is not too difficult due to weather. Taking in a movie at the movie theater is also another great activity to do as a family.

It is easy to get lost in the fact that winter is cold and windy but instead of laying in bed all day or just watching television, do your best to get outside. Include the family and enjoy what the season has to offer. And remember, the winter will not last all year. Soon enough, you will be wondering what spring activities are available to do.

Getting Your Pets Used to a New Baby

Adjusting your pet to a babyWhen my wife and I brought home our new daughter, we were over the moon. Every opportunity we had to count her toes, and marvel at the tiny little life we created really cemented us as a family. It’s true what they say – having a baby will make you experience a love you never knew existed.

Even though we were over the moon with happiness and excitement to finally use the nursery and the countless outfits my wife bought from Babies R’ Us (my eight-month-old has a better wardrobe than me), our dog Bella realized what a major adjustment having her in the house was.

While dogs, cats, and other pets can learn to be gentle and even helpful with a new baby, like my favorite mutt, Bella, who watches over my daughter like she earns a paycheck (I really think she’d choose my daughter over me at every turn), it’s important to prepare them for the event of meeting their newest family member before the baby arrives. Even after the baby is home, however, pets can be taught how to treat their new family member, and adults in the household should continue to keep a close eye on both pets and children to help avoid risks like dog bites.

Here are several tips to consider when it’s time to help your pets adjust to a new baby in the family:

1. What is exciting for you may be confusing for your pet.

Consider the situation from a dog’s or cat’s point of view, recommends the American Kennel Club (AKC). You’ve been preparing for months for the arrival of a new baby. Your pet, however, probably hasn’t connected the influx of baby clothes (seriously, Molly!?) and toys and the refurbished nursery to the idea of a new small human in the house. The strange noises, smells, and movements the baby makes may be unlike anything your pet has ever seen before — and your pet may not understand why they are no longer the center of attention.

By starting from your pet’s point of view, you can more easily find ways to make the transition easier for your pet.

2. Start as soon as you can.

If you can start preparing your pet before the baby comes home, do so. The AKC recommends an extra obedience class for dogs to make sure they understand how to sit, stay, and avoid jumping, as well as how to come when you call so that you don’t have to chase your dog with your hands full of an infant. Teaching both cats and dogs to accept being touched in unusual places, like the inside of the ears or the toes, can also help them stay calmer when babies or toddlers begin to explore, says Nikole Gipps at BabyCenter. I can concur that my daughter is obsessed with Bella’s paws.

3. If you’ll need to change your pet’s routines, change them gradually before the baby comes home.

Making a change all at once when the baby arrives can cause a pet to associate the change with the baby, making it harder to make the change “stick” and to get your pet to act warmly toward your new infant. Instead, make changes gradually before the baby arrives, if possible. For instance, work on shifting where a pet sleeps or what time of day they are walked. If you plan to walk the dog and baby together, practice walking with an empty stroller so the dog becomes accustomed to the stroller’s presence and movement.

4. Use recordings and other items to familiarize your pet with baby’s sounds and smells.

Recordings of baby sounds, like cooing and crying, can help your pet get used to the noises of having a baby in the house. Similarly, using baby lotion on your own hands or opening a container of baby powder can help pets start to associate these new smells with their regular home and routine. When the baby is born, sending a blanket or outfit home before the baby comes home can help pets learn the baby’s smell before he or she arrives.

5. For the first few days, keep your pets out of the baby’s space.

Let pets adjust from a distance and gradually, by keeping them out of the baby’s room or other personal space, such as your bedroom if baby sleeps there in a bassinette. The sounds, smells, and sights of you carrying, feeding, or changing the baby will filter through to your pet and let them learn more about the new family member at a more relaxed pace.

A few days or a week after the baby comes home, allow pets to sniff the baby, but only if they show interest. Control them while they do so by holding them or placing them on a leash. At all times, keep the baby elevated and place an adult between the baby and the pet, recommends the AKC.

6. Even when the baby is around, give attention to pets.

Pets, especially dogs, who associate receiving attention with the baby’s absence are more likely to become jealous and to act out as a result, according to the AKC. Instead, pet, praise, and provide treats to your dog or cat when they are behaving well, even when you are also occupied with the baby.

7. Never leave a child alone with a pet.

As your child grows, you’ll need to supervise interactions between the child and the pet. Make sure crawling babies don’t grab or pull on a pet’s tail, ears, or coat. Create a private space for your pet that is off-limits to your child, like a crate, bed, or gated laundry room, so that your pet has a place to retreat if they start to feel overwhelmed by the exploring child.

Above all, patience and calm are important. As your baby grows, remember to teach him or her how to treat the family’s pets, as well. Children who learn proper pet care and manners as toddlers are far more likely to grow up knowing how to “read” animal body language and avoid serious injuries like scratches or bites in the future.