Winter is Coming - Preparing Your Car, Home and Children for WinterYes, the children are back in school and Winter is coming. Not in a Game of Thrones way but a real, frost on the ground, cold mornings and time to dig out the hats and scarves and woolly jumpers way. I know most people don't want to think about that in the September sunshine but it's never too early to be prepared so you're not caught unawares by a surprise cold snap.
1. The Car - Make sure your breakdown cover is fully up to date and your car has had it's most recent service. It's always a good idea to take your precious wheels to a recommended service provider - you don't want to leave your BMW in the wrong hands! Ensure your tyres are sound and check your tyre pressure regularly too. Stock up on anti-freeze and de-icer before it gets cold and stocks run low. Pop a snow shovel, blankets, rope and ice scraper into the boot, along with a few snacks and sealed drinks if you think you might have to travel in bad weather with little ones. It's very easy for cars to get stuck in traffic jams with sudden snowfall and you want to make sure you can keep everyone warm and as happy as you can. It goes without saying that you should avoid driving if the weather is really bad but, if it's unavoidable, a few simple preparations can really help.
2. The Home - Get your boiler serviced! There's nothing worse than the cold weather hitting, turning on your boiler and nothing happening. Ours failed in the depths of winter a couple of years ago and the temperatures dived quickly. It wasn't fun trying to maintain the heat in Bud's room enough for him to sleep in. It's a good idea to stock up on a few tinned items more than you would normally have in. Yes, a lot of people live in easy walking distance of the shops but it's no fun going out in the snow to run errands if you don't have to, especially with toddlers in tow. A loaf of bread in the freezer and some extra tins of soup and beans might make the difference between you staying warm and cozy indoors and dragging your children through the snow. Make sure torches have working batteries and that you have a supply of candles in case of power cuts.
It's always a good idea to try and prepare the garden too - bring in any pots, toys and garden furniture you can to avoid weather damage and consider make sure you have a good snow shovel for clearing paths. Remember to keep an eye on elderly neighbours, or those with young babies who might struggle to get out. During Bud's first Winter our lovely neighbour used to call regularly and see if I needed anything, it was very welcome.
3. The Children - Make sure you buy winter coats, hats and gloves as soon as you can, again these will start to sell out quite quickly if the weather gets cold fast. Layering is key, especially for children who are going to school, pop a vest and t-shirt under their school uniform for the walk to school, they can take their jumper off if school is warm. Wellies and boots are a must, they should be able to wear them to school then switch to school shoes when they arrive, and back again at home time. We've always had all in one snow suits for our toddlers, both Bud and Little Miss, and these keep the little ones very warm and look very cute.
Buy a sledge! When it snows the world and his wife will all want one. We broke ours the Winter before last and ordered a new on in preparation for last Winter but only got a sprinkling of snow! It can be easier to drag toddlers through snowy streets on a sledge than to try and get about with the pushchair and they will think it is super fun. Why not put together an emergency 'bad weather box' containing a DVD, hot chocolate, a couple of jigsaw puzzles and easy crafts stashed for if the weather gets really bad and they can't go out to play in the snow? No-one wants to be trapped in a house with bored, grumpy children!
Make sure the medicine cupboard is well stocked with Paracetamol syrup, plasters and bruise soothers ready for winter colds and falls on ice and snow. Above all, remember to get out in the snow with your children and enjoy it! Children from babies upwards can experience the snow safely if they are dressed appropriately and don't spend too much time out there and you can bring the snow indoors if it gets too cold outside!
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