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How many times have you told your children it’s too cold to go outside, or too wet, or too hot? We have probably all said it once or twice. Or, “You’re going to catch a cold if you don’t put on your coat and hat.”
That’s why some parents have tucked away in a closet or drawer, a list of crafts and indoor games labeled “Rainy Day Fun.” Some education experts believe you should include playing outside on that list of activities. While we keep our children inside on days that we deem too cold or rainy to keep them from getting sick, it is actually less healthy for them to be cooped up inside all winter.
While it is true that cold and flu season occur during the winter months, medical professionals have found no causal connection between going outside in cold weather and catching a cold. The flu and common cold are caused by viruses. Children tend to get sick more often in the winter months because they generally stay inside and are more easily exposed to these viruses. There is also evidence that a virus circulates more easily in dry air. Inside air tends to be drier when it is cold outside, and people tend to “turn up the heat” or use space heaters which dry out the air even further. This makes it easier for germs to pass from one person to the next.
The most important thing to remember is to protect your child from viruses by encouraging them to wash their hands often and avoid people who are sick. If your child does become ill, remember how important it is to keep them home from school so that they have time to heal and do not spread their germs to others.
There are many real benefits to allowing your children to go outside whatever the weather.
For more information, check out the following article from the National Wildlife Federation.