Last week showed us that winter is here. The snow, bitter cold and wind reminded us what winter is all about. As the weather turns cold and snowy, we need to think about protecting our children and home from the cold and nasty weather. It’s time to gather the warm coats, boots, gloves or mittens, and hats with earflaps. Remember, most heat escapes the body through the head. To stay warm, layers of clothing are best. Remind children about not getting their gloves wet and watch for signs of frostbite in fingers and ears. An extra pair of non-skid socks or slippers will help keep your feet warm, along with warm sweaters or wraps for indoors.
Never use a space heater in your home or any other type of combustible heating device, especially if placed next to curtains, bed linens or clothes where they can catch on fire. Some heating devices can emit fumes. Be careful when using electrical cords. Never place them under rugs because they can become frayed and start a fire. Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords. Make sure your furnace is working effectively and the fuel is full. Community Action of Western Connecticut has funds to help with fuel bills. Contact them at http://caawc.org/programs.
Prepare for emergencies while at home and on the road. Have extra batteries, gallons of water, nonperishable food, canned food that doesn’t need warming, a non-electric can opener and a fully charged cell phone. If you are taking a road trip, let someone know your travel route. The Ridgefield VNA’s newsletter is full of ideas for preparing your home and family for the winter. The newsletter is available at http://ridgefieldvna.org/getting-ready-winter/.
Prepare your home by making sure that all the windows are draft free, doors close tightly, faucets don’t drip and large home appliances are working effectively. Energize CT can do an audit on your home to save money. Many families are income eligible for a free audit. For more information, contact http://www.energizect.com/your-home/solutions-list/save-energy-and-money-all-year-long or call 877-947-3873.
Outside play is helpful to keeping all children healthy and to help them run off extra energy. Use plastic containers to make blocks of snow to build a snow fort and drink hot chocolate to stay warm. When it is too cold for playing outside, try activities indoors, such as playing cards, board games and arts and crafts. Activities don’t have to be expensive. Fold paper and cut patterns to make snowflakes, make mini-books telling family stories or cuddle up and read together. Remember to wash hands well throughout the day and drink plenty of water, as it helps keep the body healthy. A humidifier or plants with saucers of water help keep the humidity levels adequate. Enjoy winter. Come play at the Play to Learn Playgroups at the Danbury Family Learning Center in the FACE Center at 49 Osborne Street in Danbury. Everyone at the FACE Center wishes you and your family a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
Anne E. Mead, M. Ed., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.