We all know we need fresh air and physical activity to be healthy… but there’s another factor we sometimes forget: sunlight.

Winnipeg winters afford us precious little access to the sun if we’re indoors between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., which many working families are. At Brightling Childcare Academy, you can rest assured your littles get multiple-times-a-day outings in our sheltered yard (unless the temperature goes below -25 C), and plenty of sunshine.

But in the coming months, many families may be staying home for a week or two, or having shortened work weeks, and the kiddos may be home for longer stretches. Do your best to make getting outside during the day an important part of your family’s daily routine. Even better: consider joining the “1000 Hours Outside” challenge for 2021!

Sunlight promotes health

There are all kinds of scientific studies showing the benefits of sunlight on children’s mood, sleep patterns, and learning – and even suggestions it helps eyesight and can prevent certain diseases.

It doesn’t have to be a “sunny” day; cloudy-day sunlight is just as good for us (and can have lower UV values, too).

Think of letting your kids outside to explore or even just goof around in the snow during the day (and, some researchers say, especially in the morning) as an important element in your great parenting, right up there with good nutrition. And we won’t complain about the messes they won’t create in the house while they’re outside!

Open the blinds during the day

Given the temperatures and sometimes just the reality of parents having to get things done, we can’t always spend as much time as we’d like outdoors. But opening all the blinds and curtains can help, too! Set up your little ones to play in the bright sunshine by a big window, and they’ll get some of the same benefits. Every little bit helps.

Our big Manitoba sky is a blessing; not just for its beauty, but for the health effects of its sunshine. Make the most of it this winter!