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Dealing with Discomfort, Together

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

It’s said that there’s no such thing as “bad” weather. Especially for children: if they’re in a rich environment for play and dressed appropriately, children can stay outside for hours. Same goes for adults—it just takes some rewiring of our conditioning! Bringing children out to play in rain, snow, and cold not only keeps their natural wiring intact; it also helps children develop critical skills that will serve them in any setting.
Rain and snow are, of course, magical to a young child. Most children thrill at the sensory experience of precipitation—they stick out their tongues for rain, they hold out their hands for snowflakes, they watch with wide eyes as rain puddles deepen and snow builds up. There’s so much pleasure to be gained from getting drenched in a warm summer downpour, jumping in puddles, and playing in the snow to the limits of their infinite imaginings.
Being out in this kind of weather isn’t always joyful; it can be totally miserable! What if, despite your caregiver's best intentions, you don’t have your gloves when the temperature drops? What if you don’t have snow pants and the wet seeps through your pants? Often peers can create the distractions and provide the scaffolding that encourages “suffering” children to power through:

Pointing up to a tree canopy that catches some of the rain, a child calls out, “We’re under the magic umbrellas!” and brings the others into the useful pretend scenario.

A child with sensory sensitivity is led by another’s enthusiasm to try immersing their hands in the rainy wet mud. Another time, a child worried about a deep puddle bravely joins one who has stepped in.

The distractions of the perfect snow for snowballs helps a child forget that their legs are wet and cold.

When the rain gets to be too much, children problem solve together to create a makeshift shelter.

Children who go through trials and tribulations with their peers may grow more than when adults step in to help; for sure, these experiences provide for lasting shared memories of overcoming challenge. Dealing with physical discomfort together inspires imagination, ingenuity, and bravery that help build the critical skills of perseverance and resilience. Being out in “bad” weather is good for a lot of things!


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