Enjoying the outdoors in any weather
We spoke to the wonderful Nanny Louenna recently about the importance of Vitamin D and getting outside with children whatever the weather. Here's her advice:
Vitamin D is important for all of us, especially babies and children, which is why I give the children in my care a supplement every morning as part of their morning routine.
We all need a certain amount of Vitamin D everyday to maintain healthy bones and muscles, and to keep our immune systems up. The best source of Vitamin D is from sunlight, but because it isn’t safe to leave babies out in the sun, they need an added boost. Although we shouldn't let our babies and children spend time in strong, direct sunlight without suncream, they do need to be exposed to natural light all year round, whatever the weather!
It is advised that all breastfed babies take a Vitamin D supplement from birth, although babies who are having more than 500ml of formula a day shouldn’t be given vitamin supplements because formula is already made with added nutrients. If a breastfeeding mother is taking Vitamin D supplements herself, it is still advised for the baby to have additional drops. I give Vitamin D to babies every morning during their top and tailing routine, or use the spray for older children after brushing their teeth.
Tips for enjoying the outdoors regardless of weather
Research shows the majority of children in the UK spend less than an hour outside each day, and this is so sad as I truly believe that playing outside has huge benefits to children's mental and physical health.
Fresh air and the sense of freedom contributes to better behaviour, learning skills, and attention span. It also definitely helps children sleep better at night!
When I was studying at Norland College, we were always taught “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”! My essentials kit which I would LOVE every child to own is: an all in one waterproof suit, welly boots, a snood, hat, and gloves.
Rain or shine, I always take children outside at least once per day. There are lots of different ways you can make this enjoyable for them regardless of the the weather:
- In the summer your little ones can enjoy water play, picnics, garden hunts, drawing and painting outdoors and bubbles to name a few.
- In the colder weather I make sure we all wrap up warm and go for welly walks, hot chocolate picnics, make nature hats, mud pies and plenty of games.
- If children complain they are bored when going for a walk, I try to make it interesting for them. I ask them questions along the way, such as ‘who can collect 5 brown leaves’ or ‘can you find something orange.’ This gives them a purpose for walking and a sense of achievement at the end!
You can find all of my activity ideas and more on the Louenna App.