Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Guest Post: Fun in the Snow


When you’re a child snow is brilliant fun! Not so much when you’re an adult (travel delays, wet shoes, de-icing the car, kids pestering you to go out in the snow etc.) and if the last few years have shown us anything, it’s that we’ll be seeing plenty of it here in the UK over the coming months.

This means two things; firstly many children will have a fantastic time building snow men, sledging down hills and engaging in furious snow-ball fights. And secondly I shall enter my traditional “snow grouch” period, during which any and all semblance of goodwill shall flee my soul – only to return once the last snowman’s temporary existence has been snuffed out by rising temperatures… and maybe a sneaky kick while nobody is looking.

Before you accuse me of being a heartless beast who has lost touch with his inner-child, I should tell you the good reasons I have to hate the snow. Hopefully in the process you’ll pick up some hints and tips on how to avoid your own children becoming snow-hating monsters who take no joy from frosty winter mornings, and are deeply suspicious of carol singers…

Appropriate Clothes!

Running around in the garden or at the park, building igloos and making snow angels is excellent fun when you’re little… it’s so fun that kids often forget to pay attention to the little things, like being so cold that your extremities are turning blue.

At the tender age of 8 I had so much fun outside in the snow that I was willing to ignore the intense cold for so long that my hands ended up frost-bitten! The next couple of weeks passed in agony as I lost skin from my fingers.

The lesson here is two-fold; buy your child some warm and waterproof clothes (including gloves and boots) and make sure they wear them when they’re going out to play! And call them inside to warm-up every once in a while, no matter how much they tell you that they’re fine!

Supervision!

Sledging was one of my favourite activities as a child; I could quite happily pass hours running up snow covered slopes to slide down again on my trusty red sled. The only problem was the imaginatively named “Big Hill” in the local park that I wasn’t allowed to ride.

All the older children used this hill, streaking down the steep and bumpy slope at break-neck speeds, screaming in delight! How could my parents be so unjust as to deny me this obvious pleasure for no good reason?! So, when I got the chance I went straight up “Big Hill” and came straight back down again! Everything was going so well, I was having the time of my life before my foot hit a boulder that had been hidden under a snow drift.

The rest of that winter passed with my foot in a cast while the broken bones healed. The lesson here is obvious: keep an eye on your little ones, because you can guarantee they’ll do their best to get themselves into trouble! 

Snow-Proof Your Home!

The most traumatic snow-related experience during my formative years was “the avalanche”. I had been quietly playing on the patio outside the home of a family friend, building a particularly lopsided snow man (at the time I wasn’t tall enough to lift his head on top, so it was jammed messily into the upper left side of his torso and held in place by a stick), when something prompted me to look up… The next thing I knew I was buried completely in a deep snow bank.

The compacted snow on the roof had given way in dramatic fashion, all sliding off the tiles at once, knocking me down and leaving me entombed in a freezing cold snow cell where, thankfully, I could just about still breathe. It can only have been a few seconds before my panicked dad dug me out, but it felt like forever.

The advice here is very specific: if you have a roof where snow can build up, and it slants down towards a garden, or a patio, or anywhere where people might be spending time, make it safe! Build a canopy or a shelter or something! Falling snow is seriously dangerous! You need something to protect yourself and your guests from it.

Hopefully by keeping your wits about you this winter you can safeguard your child from any of the snow-based ills that turned me into the twisted cynical shell of a man that I am today!

Author Bio: James Armstrong is a prominent anti-snow activist, writing on behalf of Canopies UK - leading supplier of canopies and carports for winter or summer.

*Disclaimer: I received a payment for publishing this post.

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