Skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and sledges, if chosen as an activity from a young age, all contribute positively to children's development.
A new research comes to prove what is already common knowledge in Switzerland: that skiing is good for our mind and body! Researchers found that children attending sports classes like cross country-skiing have better motor abilities and acquire new motor skills faster than pupils in unsportsmanlike classes.
While it is known that sports at a young age can help in both movement and bone development, studies have also shown that children in cold parts of the world tend to not move as much during the winter months and prefer to stay inside where it's warm. For this reason, they prefer hobbies that are not sports related. In these cases, movement and activity is infrequent and does not facilitate muscle and bone development, as well as gross and fine motor skills. It is important to note, that doctors recommended to parents to spend time outdoors with their children throughout the year including the winter months in order not to become deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in the growth and strengthening of our bones, and lack of it may lead to frequent fractures, aches and delayed motor development.
It is no wonder that most parents are always searching for fun outdoor winter activities that will keep our young ones moving even during cold weather. Skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing or sledges are great fun for all ages but especially for children. The white snow makes our brain feel calm while the adrenalin from speed brings stimulates the feeling of joy. If you have spent a day in the snow as a child you will certainly remember how much fun it was.
Just make you sure are dressed appropriately for the weather. During winter months in Switzerland all activities in the mountains needs ski pants and ski jackets. They come in many colors and price ranges. One-piece suits are very accommodating for young children, especially for babies until the age of toddlers.
For all ages however, the clothes underneath the ski suit follow the same principle, dress-up in layers. Specially designed thermal underwear in the form leggings and long-sleeved blouses are available for girls and boys in all sport shops and department stores in various price-ranges. These will keep the little ones snug and comfortable while keeping their body temperature at a consistent temperature.
Between the thermal underwear and the outer shell, a fleece sweater or fleece long-sleeve with a zipper to close-up is highly recommended. This fleece layer in the upper body is very important because it will keep the body warm during moments of idleness like riding on a chairlift up the mountain, or during strong wind. The ski jackets which are the outer shell, act as enhanced windbreakers and a waterproof layers between the body and the snow.
Finally, don’t forget the gloves, socks and a helmet! Gloves are necessary for all activities in the snow. For young children, it is highly recommended to use a mitten-style snow-glove in order to save time putting it on. All they need to find is where the thumb must go, instead of all 5 fingers! Some have a zipper with a small pocket on the top side, where they can put a handwarmer when the weather gets very cold.
Appropriate ski socks will make sure that the feet stay warm and comfortable throughout the day inside snow shoes and ski/snowboard boots.
For all snow activities that pick-up a little speed, yes even sledging, children should wear a helmet. Helmets will minimize injury significantly in the case of collisions or minor accidents, while they also keep the head and ears warm!
For the ones who like to sledge or roll around in the snow, snow boots are a make or break, because if the feet get cold quickly, then the fun is over too. Booties for the snow have a thick rubbery sole, with an insulating material inside, such as lamb’s wool, and must certainty be waterproof, an example are the ones that describe their features as having Goretex.
Now you are set to step outside, all you need is to remember to visit the bathroom with your little one before he/she puts all of these things on!
By introducing your young children to sports you help them grow physically and emotionally, while having a nice time. Winter and snow related sports like skiing or snowboarding are a great choice of activity for the whole family. It is a win-win for children as they get to play in nature in white scenery, while they get their much-needed Vitamin D and exercise in order to grow.
Here is a list of three winter ski resorts that are about an hour drive from Zurich:
Hoch-Ybrig is a great winter sports resort with a ski cross park and activities with various degrees of difficulty. It is the perfect destination for the whole family as it offers group ski lessons for children and teenagers beginning with 4 years old. It has 3 to 5-day lesson packs and private lessons for beginners.
Flumserberg is an amazing family resort for all seasons and especially winter. It has great skiing and snowboarding slopes for both beginners and professional skiers. It also has a ski school and a lot of fun winter activities like sledding and snowboarding for the whole family!
Rigi resort, also known as the "Queen of the mountains", is a great resort for winter and summer activities. It is a great ski resort for skiers of all ages. It offers a vast variety of activities for the whole family like skiing, sledging, hiking, cross-country skiing, a toboggan run or a snowshoe tour.
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